‘Nearly Half’ Of Public Sectors Bodies Have Suffered A Data Breach


Staff often just too busy to cope with new government guidelines, Iron Mountain report claims

Overworked staff are putting valuable public sector data at risk every day due to complex and often unworkable guidelines surrounding information management, a study has found.

A survey by Iron Mountain discovered that 40 percent of public sector bodies have been hit by a data breach as staff are simply too busy to cope, partly due to the implementation of the government’s digital transformation strategy.

In addition, 61 percent of public sector organisations have lost important documents internally with one in four respondents admitting that they are putting potentially sensitive data at risk every day.

Oops computer error - Shutterstock: © alp33Risky

However, this is not to say that all organisations were suffering from storage shortcomings, as a reassuring 72 percent of the public sector information leaders surveyed in the study say their approach to information management is fit-for-purpose.

But the government’s reforms are causing a range of issues for many businesses, as the study also found that developments such as the merger and relocation of offices and job roles can result in over-burdened staff (81 percent), a disconnected approach to information across teams (71 percent), a lack of information management skills (60 percent), and a failure to stick to guidelines (57 percent).

“The UK’s public sector is going through a period of transformational change,” said Iron Mountain’s Phil Greenwood. “For the public sector to further its success in bringing services online, freeing up its estate and reducing cost, the transformation must be met with improvements in how records and information are managed.”

“With four in five public sector bodies identifying an opportunity to make additional cost savings by optimising their records and information management, this looks like an area that deserves consideration and review. It is important that the individuals, teams and departments responsible for the government’s vast estate of information have the support they need to proceed into a digital future with confidence.”

Iron Mountain’s survey chimes nicely with a report from encryption specialists Egress Software Technologies late last year, which found that human error was increasingly the cause behind major data breaches.

Overall, one quarter of all data breaches reported to the ICO between April and June 2014 involved the accidental loss or destruction of personal data, and around 43 percent of these were caused by sending data to the incorrect email fax or postal addresses.

Only seven percent of breaches were caused by technical failings, with the remainder caused by human error, poor processes and systems in place, or a lack of care when handling data.

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