What the UK public sector learned about cybersecurity in 2021

Cybersecurity was now on the board agenda amid Uk community sector organisations just before Covid-19.

Chris Naylor, outgoing chief executive at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, assesses hazards on two dimensions: their probability and their likely impact in the course of a panel on cybersecurity at New Statesman and Tech Watch‘s new Public Sector Engineering Symposium. In the previous 5 a long time, cybersecurity possibility has climbed both of those rankings, Naylor spelled out. “It’s obtained a large amount far more of my notice as a final result.”

But the pandemic and the accompanying bout of ransomware put the Uk community sector’s readiness to the check. That readiness has proved to be a “mixed bag,” explained Jonathan Lee, Uk director of community sector relations at panel sponsor Sophos. Collaboration amongst government and the cybersecurity field assisted community sector organisations strengthen their preventative stance in opposition to threats, Lee explained, but “I believe we can do better”.

Cybersecurity in the community sector: information overload

Adrian Boylan, head of IT, Moorfields Eye Healthcare facility NHS Basis Believe in shared that, even though awareness of cybersecurity challenges has enhanced significantly in new a long time in the community sector, several lesser organisations do not have the resources to tackle all the threats they facial area. And even though there is a wealth of advice and information available from government bodies and suppliers, it can be mind-boggling, he extra.


Similarly, Boylan explained, compliance with cybersecurity guidelines and frameworks can be mind-boggling for lesser organisations, primarily when extra to the sensible perform of securing and monitoring IT devices. “Perhaps we must go absent from the far more source-intense, yearly workout of asserting that we satisfy theoretical guidelines or factors of principle back toward a sensible assessment [of cybersecurity],” he explained.

Responding to cybersecurity threats

If it wasn’t now apparent, the ongoing ransomware outbreak has designed it inescapably crystal clear that cybersecurity threats have improved significantly in the previous decade. Defences have to have to evolve as effectively, explained Lee.


The human dimensions of cybersecurity are important, not just in stopping breaches but also in detecting and responding to them much too, spelled out Shelton Newsham, divisional information safety officer at Uk Overall health Safety Company and a previous law enforcement officer specialising in cybercrime. When it comes to the technical teams dealing with IT safety, a vary of perspectives and expertise is important. “Having a person who is technically knowledgeable but not technical is really, really critical,” he spelled out. “They will place items that the individuals with the true technical potential who are immersed in seeking to comprise an incident [could not].” These ‘technically aware’ team can usually aid law enforcement attribute attacks and, in some conditions, identity the attackers.

Non-IT team, meanwhile, also engage in an similarly important job in incident reaction, Newsham spelled out.

Terrible information to share? Develop up your belief bank

How must community sector IT leaders communicate safety hazards to senior management? Naylor shared his approach to preserving awareness of ongoing hazards: a regular assurance board assembly, in which the heads of strategic departments, such as cybersecurity, increase hazards that have to have to be resolved. “In essence, I’m leaving the stress of judgment with them to explain to me what they believe I have to have to know,” he explained. Crucially, however, he asks that departmental heads really don’t just explain the possibility but establish a get in touch with to action. “I have to have to know the consequence of what I’m listening to,” he claims. “It’s not fantastic plenty of for individuals to go, ‘Well, this factor happened’. What I really want to want to know is, what do you want me to do about it?”

This assembly can provoke some tough discussions. Through a secondment to Birmingham City Council, Naylor was asked for £20m to deal with cybersecurity challenges. “Sometimes I really don’t want to listen to it,” he explained. But “we have to listen to it and we have to produce areas in which to listen to it.”

And when an IT leader has to increase a cybersecurity concern that involves an instant and substantial reaction, it aids to have crafted up belief within just the organisation. “Get belief in your belief bank so that when you have to have to pull the lever, they are ready to listen to you,” Naylor advises. “If you’re operating a restricted ship inside of your IT department, [it] builds the assurance of individuals like me so that when you appear to us with a request for more funding or resources or action, we are in the headspace to react to that.”

Homepage graphic by tzahiV / iStock

Pete Swabey is editor-in-chief of Tech Watch.