Two-thirds of public sector officials feel that security should play a bigger role in the government’s Digital by Default reform agenda, according to research by McAfee.
The research, conducted in association with specialist political publishing house Dods, suggests that despite the known threat cyber crime poses to national security, government employees feel more should be done to boost cyber security.
McAfee’s study found that two-thirds of those working in government feel the Cabinet Office hasn’t given cyber security the consideration it requires as part of its digital reforms, while just 14 per cent of those surveyed believe that the G-Cloud has adequate cyber security features in place.
Meanwhile, 28 per cent of central government respondents believe that SMEs are vulnerable to cyber attacks due to being involved with the supply chain delivering government projects.
This figure rose to 35 per cent among those in roles that have more to do with cyber security.
While 60 per cent of those in the Civil Service confirmed that cyber security is a top priority within their government department, a worryingly high figure of 47 per cent believe that little or no cyber security knowledge is required in their positions. With 80 per cent of those surveyed dealing with sensitive information, this lack of knowledge could potentially cause huge issues.
“Civil servants are our nation’s first line of defence, yet current government policy does not appear to be providing them with the incentives nor the training required to fully address the challenge,” said Graeme Stewart, director, UK public sector strategy at McAfee.
“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,” he continued.
“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.
McAfee’s survey gauged the opinions of 815 staff working across the Civil Service and local government.
Recently, Labour MP and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Chi Owurah told Computing that the government isn’t spending enough on 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.