Data breaches still present a significant challenge to the public sector, with 40 per cent of organisations reporting to have suffered one, according to new research.
Information security firm Iron Mountain spoke to a number of senior executive responsible for managing public sector information and implementing digital strategies to compile a report on how the sector manages information to contribute to government cost savings and efficiency targets.
The Public Sector – managing information through the challenge of change claims that although 72 of respondents said their approach to information management is fit for purpose, 61 per cent admitted their organisation has lost or misplaced important documents.
According to Iron Mountain, its research suggests that the government’s drive to cut costs and implement digital alternatives had led to a skills gap, meaning public sector employees aren't equipped with the necessary skills to keep data safe.
“The UK’s public sector is going through a period of transformational change. Almost everyone we surveyed said that cost cutting has resulted in the loss of valuable skills in records and information management,” claimed the firm’s commercial director Phil Greenwood.
“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.
“It is important that the individuals, teams and departments responsible for the government’s vast estate of information have the support they need to proceed into a digital future with confidence,” he added.
Benefits marred by "disconnected" approach to information security
Iron Mountain’s whitepaper claims digital transformation has already delivered significant benefits – by allowing students to apply online for loans and selling government-owned land and buildings, £600 million in annual running costs has been saved.
However, it also claims that 81 per cent of public sector staff feel overburdened by the mergers and relocation of offices and jobs roles.
Furthermore, 71 per cent of participants feel such changes lead to a disconnected approach to information teams, 60 per cent said it leads of a lack of information management skills and 57 per cent said it led to failure to stick to guidelines.