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‘Reputational Damage’ the Biggest Secure Communications Concern for UK Public Sector

November 2020 by Zivver

Zivver announced the results of a new survey investigating the data security challenges and privacy risks UK healthcare and local government organisations face when communicating and sharing information via email and file transfer.

Independently conducted by Opinion Matters, the ‘Secure communications in healthcare and local government 2020’ survey interviewed over 250 public sector professionals in the UK. Respondents included CISOs, Information Security Managers, CIOs, Data Protection Officers, Chief Privacy Officers, IT Security Compliance Managers, Chief Risk Officers, Business Continuity Managers and IT Directors working in the healthcare and local government sectors, in organisations employing 500+ people.

Key survey findings included:

• When asked to name their biggest challenges in relation to outbound secure communications, 52% of all respondents cited ‘reputational damage’; 50% said ‘preventing data leaks’ and 49% identified ‘employee awareness on security’. ‘Fines’ were deemed a lesser concern at 19%.
• In terms of data leak frequency, 82% of respondents said their organisation had experienced at least one data leak in the past 12 months, while 73% stated three or more. Comparing the two sectors for larger numbers of leaks, 11% of local government respondents were aware of 11-15 data leaks taking place in the last year: significantly higher than healthcare at 3%.
• Regarding Covid-19’s impact on the security of outbound communications in public sector organisations, around one in three of all respondents said the pandemic brings additional vulnerabilities, requiring ongoing security changes. Further reflecting the high levels of uncertainty, especially by those at the top, 43% of IT leaders in local government said their organisation was ‘Less secure as a result of Covid-19’.

“The findings of this survey indicate an urgent need for public sector organisations to review and update current security practices, requiring technology that is simple to introduce and use, to avoid disruption to employees’ productivity,” said Rick Goud, CIO and co-founder at Zivver.

“The secure communications technology we have developed works with existing email systems - such as Outlook (Desktop and Microsoft 365) and Gmail – meaning that employees do not need to change their usual ways of working. It also provides non-intrusive alerts to support employees in making the right decisions when handling sensitive information, helping them to avoid making the most common types of data leaks such as emailing the wrong person or using ‘CC’ instead of ‘BCC’. This is critical as such leaks can be costly to public sector organisations - due to non-compliance with the GDPR and DPA, for example – and can also cause harmful reputational damage."

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