Governments and public sector organizations face mounting pressure. From public scrutiny to regulatory requirements, from restricted budgets to large workloads, it’s unsurprising that cybersecurity is left at the bottom of the agenda. The launch of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in 2016 suggests that the government is becoming more committed to making the UK a safe place live and work online. However, the complex and wide-reaching nature of public sector organizations can make coordinating the array of essential services, stakeholders and functions a near impossible task. So how can the public sector prioritize data protection?

Fast paced digital change

Public sector networks are expected to grow at 15-25% each year, so it is crucial that organizations keep up with this pace of digital change. Networks are becoming more complex and outgrowing traditional methods of security and additional capacity means upgrades to networks to reflect growth. However, current and conventional approaches to data protection create numerous challenges particularly around scalability, performance, complexity, key management and key rotation.

Adopt new technology

The public sector has been hesitant to adopt new technology and this will continue to hold it back. It needs to recognize that a digital network with a mix of connected users, devices and applications, does not need to make an organization vulnerable; no matter how complex it may be. Flexibility and digital agility are undoubtedly at the top of every government’s agenda, making it essential for organizations to embrace the technology available. By focussing on Information Assurance (IA), public sector organizations can adopt new technology and ensure they are really secure. Rather than securing the network, the focus needs to be on protecting the data.

Data first

The public sector will continue to be a prime target for hackers. It is a rich source of data, from social security numbers to names, addresses and driving licenses. Data is arguably an organization’s biggest asset; it is the crown jewels that must be protected and the ultimate prize for a hacker. In reality, a fine won’t be enforced under regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for a breach to an organization’s network; the fine comes into play when a breach results in data being lost or stolen. That is the difference in value between an organization’s network and its data.

So what can public sector organizations deploy to ensure protection? They need a data-centric security model underpinned by a robust and strategic security overlay, on top of the existing network and independent of the underlying transport infrastructure, making the network itself irrelevant. A software-defined security overlay enables a centralized orchestration of Information Assurance policy and by centrally enforcing capabilities such as software-defined application segmentation using cryptography, key management and rotation, data is protected in its entirety on its journey across whatever network it moves across.

Quite simply, cybersecurity must be at the forefront of business strategy. Public sector organizations need to embrace technology, coupled with the right security architecture, or risk being left behind.  

Get in touch with Certes Networks to find out how we can help you secure your public sector network.