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IT and data security specialist Becrypt commissioned research into
attitudes and trends within the public sector, conducted using
qualitative interview techniques with a range of public sector
organizations shows that data security is now far higher on the agenda
than in either of Becrypt’s previous two surveys. The survey also
confirms that mobile working has increased virtually across the board.
Employees are now asking for more flexible working arrangements, for a
variety of different reasons, including reduced commuting to save time
and costs and to meet environmental commitments.

The research showed that there has been a significant change in
attitudes to data security in the public sector, with 92 percent of
those questioned now having specific policies for dealing with
sensitive data. In 2009, Becrypt revealed that only 50 percent of
public sector organizations had policies for dealing with sensitive
information and in 2007 it was only 10 percent. In 2011 data security
is seen as of equal importance with finding ways to save money for the
IT department.

The survey also found that remote and home working has increased almost
across the board, with 85 percent of organizations saying it had
increased and 15 percent saying it had stayed the same. Ninety-two
percent of those questioned stated that if affordable, and data security
was assured, they would extend mobile working to more employees.
Slightly less than half of the councils questioned said that all
employees were able to work remotely (46 percent). Just over a third of
organizations (38 percent) allow people to work from home using their
own equipment via a secure connection, and 85 percent provide a council-issued laptop for accessing the network.

The “Insider Threat” was by far the biggest concern for security
officers with 54 percent of those questioned expressing concerns about
controlling how people accessed and used data, and enforcing security
policies, and 15 percent worried about maintaining security while costs
were being cut. Just under a third of organizations expect to reduce
spending on security, with just under half expecting it to stay the
same. Seventy percent of those interviewed expect the overall IT budget
to be reduced in the next year with only 15 percent saying it will stay

“As the government continues to drive cost cutting measures in the
coming years, Becrypt believes that we will see more and more public
sector staff working from home and hot desking. The technology to
provide secure remote access at an increasingly low cost price that is
CESG-approved for handling sensitive data is now available,” said Marc
Hocking, CTO at Becrypt. “As local authorities
look at all options to save money while maintaining front line
services, secure remote working ticks a lot of boxes. Staff prefer it
because it enables them to manage a better work/life balance, time and
resources are saved, and services are maintained.”