Latest Public Sector News

18.06.14

Employees biggest threat to public sector data breaches

The biggest threat to public sector data comes from its employees, a new survey has revealed.

The PHS Data Solutions survey, carried out by Ingenium, found that out of 141 senior public sector managers, 83% said they were most concerned about internal loss or misuse, with just 10% worried about the external threat posed by hackers.

Despite this, only 18% use a secure managed offsite records facility, with 41% storing data on-site and 21% relying on staff to dispose of documents using general waste, recycling bins and office-based shredding machines.

“Physical records stored within public sector buildings are extremely vulnerable to being lost or misplaced by employees,” said Anthony Pearlgood, managing director at PHS Data Solutions. “As well as the threat of fraudulent activity, internal shredding and storage can increase the risk of records being saved or destroyed incorrectly.”

In addition to these concerns, the threat posed by accidental loss or deliberate misuse of physical documents and IT equipment also remains. For instance, earlier this year, one council breached the Data Protection Act by losing sensitive social security records.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, common areas for improvement needed in the public sector involve asset management around printers, faxing, laptops and removable media devices, the movement of manual records and the transfer of electronic records along with the disposal of personal data held in manual and electronic form.

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