Public sector hit by alarming amount of data breaches

While the public sector may be doing well in its quest to pull its weight in terms of saving costs and meeting government budget (and efficiency) targets, the swift changes happening across systems are presenting worrying security issues.

In fact, according to fresh research from Iron Mountain, 61 per cent of public sector information leaders said their organisation has lost important documents, and 40 per cent have suffered a data breach – a worryingly high figure.

Iron Mountain observes that some of the savings that have been made are big ones – such as allowing 1.3 million students to apply for loans and making £1.4 billion from the sale of government owned land and buildings, with £600 million having been saved in yearly running costs.

But some of the reorganisation, such as merging offices, has resulted in over-burdened staff (which 81 per cent of respondents cited), and a lack of information management skills (60 per cent), along with a failure to stick to guidelines (57 per cent).

On a more positive note, 72 per cent of those surveyed did say their approach to information management is “fit-for-purpose”.

Phil Greenwood, who is responsible for Iron Mountain’s services aimed at the public sector, commented: “The UK's public sector is going through a period of transformational change. Almost everyone we surveyed said that cost cutting had resulted in the loss of valuable skills in records and information management. More than half reported reduced operational efficiency and many had experienced a data breach or loss.

“For the public sector to further its success in bringing services online, freeing up its estate and reducing cost, the transformation must be met with improvements in how records and information are managed. With four in five public sector bodies identifying an opportunity to make additional cost savings by optimising their records and information management, this looks like an area that deserves consideration and review.”