How Cloud Is Shaping The Future Of Public Sector IT Security

By Anand Srinivasan posted 05-21-2014 02:39


A Vodafone UK survey conducted among the Information and Communication Technology teams at public sector organizations across the country threw some pretty interesting results. According to the report, 80% of the public sector officials were interested in implementing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practice for their employees. But 67% of the officials did not move ahead on the proposal due to one reason – security.


IT security is one of the growing concerns among public sector companies. With technology becoming extremely pervasive in government organizations across the developed world, there has also been a growing need to protect sensitive information from hackers and criminals. But this has not been easy. Better security mandates the need for larger servers and for government organizations that are cash-strapped, this is not an easy decision to make.


Take the example of Alcachua County, Florida. A few years back, the local council faced an extreme cash crunch which forced them to implement drastic budget cuts. Naturally, this also forced the Board of Commissioners to consider cutting the IT server costs. However, instead of settling for a half-baked security infrastructure, the board decided to migrate their system to a cloud-based security solution. This turned out to be an extremely smart move. Not only did the board now spend much less than what they used to do with their own servers, the optimized use of resources also ensured that the application had faster response times and generally more efficient. The County has not faced one IT attack in more than four years.


Alcachua County is not the only government organization to be deploying cloud services to enhance IT security of their institution. A 2013 study by IDC found that 58% of IT managers from public and private organizations revealed that cloud based systems offer better security than their in-house security teams. Given the cost benefit and enhanced security features available, it then comes as no surprise then that government institutions, like those in Canada have now migrated to the cloud for critical functions like DDoS protection and communication systems.


Unfortunately, third party attacks are just one part of the public sector IT security problem. A recent study by Verizon showed that more than 58% of the cyber security incidents in the public sector were caused by the government officials themselves. While most of the issues arose from unintended errors like sending emails to the wrong person, nearly 24% of these errors were caused by deliberate misuse of information by public sector officials. Thankfully, cloud technology provides cheap and effective remedies for these issues. While remote security solutions offer intrusion prevention and firewall services to organizations, data theft from local records may be prevented through cloud-based data encryption services that prevent public sector employees from creating illegal back-ups of public sector data.


Cloud technology has long been known as a cost-saver. For public sector organizations that typically run on low budgets, cloud offers effective solutions for critical security related services. This ensures that local councils can continue to run on shoestring budgets without having to compromise with IT security. 

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