Why is the public sector struggling to prevent cyber-attacks?

The public sector is vulnerable to cyber-attacks and a crippling attack on a major public sector organisation is a real risk for 2021.

The integration of technology in the public sector is a huge step forward for an industry that can often be seen to drag its feet when it comes to digitising and technology. Despite the importance, and well, the vitality of collaborating with technology to future proof and secure data, there comes a risk with transitioning from paper to digital and maintaining its security.  

From ransomware attacks on the NHS to cyber-attacks on parliamentary email accounts, it’s safe to say it’s been a busy few years for the cybercriminals.

Every service stand across the public sector could lose valuable data that’s vulnerable to criminals. From patient records to high-value research from universities and even sensitive information shared by government officials. In this digital era, it’s critical every single organisation makes cyber-security a top priority.

So, why is the public sector struggling to prevent cyber-attacks?

  1. Budget constraints

Universal across all public sector services; IT managers are increasingly finding themselves tasked to do more with less. As a result of the budget cuts, basic data security measures are being missed. The most high-profile example of this is the WannaCry attack that crippled the NHS and was able to spread due to a failure to patch a known exploit.

Culture change is needed amongst employees at every level to ensure a stop to preventable cyber-attacks. This could mean a number of things including updating systems regularly and being aware of suspicious emails and links.

  1. Skills gap

The cybersecurity skills gap in the public sector is widening due to the rapid transition from paper to digital. 

A complete overhaul in how cybersecurity talent is developed should play a key part in defending the public sector from cyber-attacks. But we must also focus on skills building now to provide immediate prevention or at least decrease the risk of breaches in the meantime.

  1. The misconception

Many organisations see cybersecurity as an unnecessary cost, with minimal return on investment. This is an oversight, especially for public sector organisations looking to minimise costs. When you consider that a medical record is worth 10 times as much as a credit card number on the black market, it’s no surprise that the Identity Theft Resource Center's end-of-year data breach report shows that 34.4% of all breaches worldwide are hitting the healthcare industry.

The industries most vulnerable to cyber-attacks are:

  • Small businesses
  • Healthcare institutions
  • Government agencies
  • Energy companies
  • Higher education facilities

Not only is there is a cost associated with data breaches but they can bring about lawsuits and regulatory penalties as well as compromise not only patient data but patient care.

Research by Palo Alto Networks found that the NHS could save an estimated £14.8 million annually when investing in cybersecurity, enough money to employ an additional 150 doctors and 250 nurses. Cybersecurity should be viewed as an enabler to allow operations to not only become more agile but also save money.

The Resolution

What kind of training should you pursue and where can you find it?

Understanding ModernGov is pleased to launch a brand new training course taking place on Thursday 15 July; Cyber Resilience Training. View the full agenda here.

Learn about the current and most significant cybersecurity threats, define a secure IT environment, assess your current gaps, and determine an implementation framework.

Through practical exercises and a series of training workshops, apply the knowledge you will gain into a more effective strategy and understand how it applies to your organisation. Leave the day with a clear action plan to improve your organisation’s cyber-security framework. The emphasis throughout will be on an approach that is pragmatic and affordable.

Click here to register your place

Also, the 'How to Develop Cyber Skills and Training' 3 minutes read blog covers all you need to know about the need for cyber skills training, how to develop a cyber training strategy and where you can find the right training.

Read it here


Does this sound beneficial either for yourself or for a colleague? Get in touch to have a chat or make a booking. We would love to hear from you.

Contact us on 0800 542 9440 or email enquiries@moderngov.com. Tweet us @UModernGov

Do you have a team of staff at your organisation who would benefit from Cyber Resilience Training? We also offer this course as a highly flexible In-House training session, delivered directly to your organisation - face to face or online - on a date to suit you. Contact our In-House Training team on inhouse@moderngov.com to find out more.