Civil servants cast doubt on Digital by Default agenda security

News 2 Sep, 2013

New McAfee poll sheds light on public sector security fears.

Public sector workers are concerned the Government’s Digital by Default strategy is insecure, despite high awareness of cyber security risks.

These are the findings of new research carried out by Dods on behalf of security software vendor McAfee, which included responses from 815 civil servants.

Digital by Default is the Government's commitment to providing easy to use online services to all members of society, to encourage them to use the internet to pay bills and find out local government information, for example, rather than use phone or paper-based services.

Over 80 per cent of those surveyed work in Central Government and 60 per cent of overall respondents said cyber security is a top or high-level priority for the department they work in.

Despite this, 47 per cent believe little or no knowledge of cyber security is needed for their position.

McAfee suggests this “lack of ownership and accountability could have serious ramifications” – particularly as cyber security is considered a tier one threat to national security, the same level as terrorism.

There is also an overall lack of confidence in current security provisions.

Under 30 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed adequate consideration is given to cyber security within the Government reform agenda.

A further 28 per cent of Central Government employees surveyed believe SMBs are vulnerable to cyber attack due to their involvement in the supply chain for the delivery of Government projects.

Furthermore, only 14 per cent said they feel G-Cloud gives adequate consideration to cyber security.

Graeme Stewart, director, UK public sector strategy at McAfee, said: “The results from this study are further proof that initiatives such as the Digital Government Security Forum (DGSF), designed to help counter specific cyber threats posed by digital service transformation by sharing best practice use cases across industry and wider public services, are needed.

“It’s only with a coordinated and concerted set of efforts that UK Plc can remain safe and a place for digital business to flourish,” Stewart added.