Local Government and Data Breaches: a look at the issues and details of FREE webinar

News and information from the Advent IM team.

Local Government, as anyone who regularly reviews the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published stats on data breaches, is always in the top three for security incidents leading to a data breach. This must be frustrating for many people in public service, doing their best to provide the necessary services when budgets seem ever tighter and the threat landscape ever more complex and daunting. Of course, as with any serious problem, it has to be examined and understood before it can be rectified and the findings built into resilience.  There are a few reasons why UK local government has had a poor track record of actions from the ICO for data breaches:

  1. Lack of investment in cybersecurity: Many local authorities have limited budgets and resources, so they may be unable to invest as much in cybersecurity as they should. This can leave them vulnerable to data breaches and other security incidents.
  2. Poor data protection policies and procedures: Some local authorities may not have robust data protection policies and procedures in place, or they may not enforce them effectively. This can lead to data breaches and other security incidents.
  3. Lack of awareness and training: Employees at local authorities may not be adequately trained or aware of their responsibilities when it comes to data protection. This can lead to accidental data breaches or other security incidents.
  4. The complexity of local government structures: Local government in the UK is often structured in a complex way, with many different departments and agencies responsible for different aspects of data handling. This can make it difficult to implement consistent and effective data protection policies and procedures across the entire organization.
  5. Failure to take responsibility: In some cases, local authorities may not take responsibility for data breaches or other security incidents, or they may not take them seriously enough. This can lead to a lack of action or remediation, resulting in fines from the ICO.

UK local government can improve their security results and reduce fines with the right actions and investments.

There needs to be a culture of accountability and responsibility for data protection. Local authorities must take responsibility for data breaches and other security incidents and take swift and appropriate action to remediate the situation. There needs to be a greater awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and data protection, and a commitment from local authorities to invest in the necessary resources, training, and infrastructure to improve their security posture. This includes implementing robust policies and procedures, conducting regular risk assessments and security audits, and ensuring that employees are trained and aware of their responsibilities in protecting data. Local authorities need to ensure that they are complying with the relevant data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act. This means having a clear understanding of the requirements and ensuring that they are implemented effectively and consistently across the organisation.

By addressing these issues, UK local government can improve their security results and reduce fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office. However, it will require a concerted effort and ongoing commitment to cybersecurity and data protection from all levels of the organisation and very likely the support of experienced and capable external support to help guide local government bodies back to good quality information management and security.

Information Asset Owners (IAO)

The use of information asset owners can be a very effective way for UK local government organisations to prevent data breaches and ensure secure information sharing.

Information asset owners are responsible for managing and protecting specific types of information within an organisation. They are accountable for the security, integrity, and availability of the data under their responsibility, and they work to ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction of the information.

By assigning information asset owners within local government organisations, they can establish clear lines of responsibility for information management, helping to ensure that sensitive data is properly safeguarded. Information asset owners can work to identify and assess potential risks to the information they are responsible for and implement appropriate controls to mitigate those risks.

Furthermore, information asset owners can also ensure that all necessary safeguards are in place to protect data when it is shared between different departments or agencies. This can be particularly important for local government organisations, which often need to share sensitive information with other government agencies or external stakeholders, such as contractors or partners.

In conclusion, using information asset owners can be a valuable approach for UK local government organisations to prevent data breaches and ensure secure information sharing. By assigning clear responsibilities for information management and implementing appropriate safeguards, organisations can help to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the sensitive information they handle.

Visit our Information Asset Owner Education Journey for details on training or call us to see how we can help you improve the security and daprotection practices at your Local Authority.

Also,, if you are a Local Govermnet employee,  keep an eye on your inbox for a FREE webinar on Data Protection and Information Security for Local Government in May…. or email sarah.richardson@advent-im.co.uk  to register and get more details…

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