The government’s “digital by default” agenda should be accompanied by one of “security by default” if public sector organisations are to truly protect themselves against cyber security threats and avoid a cyber security skills crisis.
That’s according to Graeme Stewart, director for UK public sector strategy at security software vendor McAfee.
“There is no bigger indicator of a cyber security skills crisis than the world’s most prestigious security agencies struggling to compete for staff,” he said.
“With the UK government driving its own digital transformation agenda, and cyber security being reclassified to a tier-one national security threat, never has there been more pressure for the public sector to rectify a very real cyber security skills gap.”
Stewart argued that the government needs to do more to ensure that service providers at every level of the “public sector supply chain” are educated about the need for proper cyber security.
“With the UK government opening doors for more and more small and medium-sized businesses to become suppliers to the G-Cloud, and an influx of international players, it is critical that every level of the supply chain, not just the top tier, must be approached with the utmost seriousness.
“Ultimately, governments must take responsibility for the security of the supply chain but, in part, this should be about educating and supporting the full ecosystem of businesses involved,” he said.
“Security by default should be embedded alongside ‘digital be default’ as a cornerstone of our public services, rather than the afterthought it has often been in the past,” Stewart added.
Last month, Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chi Onwurah MP told Computing that the government isn’t spending enough on raising cyber security awareness.
“There needs to be a greater profile of cyber security in a positive way and I don’t believe the balance of spend right now is right. In terms of priority, it is giving it to national cyber security over the awareness more generally among the UK population,” she said.