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How can the public sector build cyber security into their digital transformation? – TechNative

Public sector organisations are having to juggle multiple competing demands
In the race to utilise a seamless digital experience and ensure more efficient and engaging operational processes, cyber security is becoming an ever-increasing concern.
Legacy infrastructures and systems often were not developed with security front and centre. As such, updating older on-premise systems is a particular struggle as there are long-standing gaps that enable cyber criminals to get a foothold in networks and sensitive data. Furthermore, effective security depends on many variables. How often are updates applied? How secure are the networks these systems sit on? Importantly, how secure are the systems themselves?
For public sector organisations accelerating their digital transformation plans, the increasing volume and sophistication of cyber attacks is a mounting concern. The pressure is on to find a way to both transform and stay secure.
 Don’t fear the cloud
The term ‘cloud first’ is nothing new. Back in 2013, the UK government specified that all central government departments should adopt it on any new technology purchases – unless they could prove that a different approach was more advantageous.
The operational and business benefits of cloud are clear. From its always-on availability and enhanced operational management to flexible pricing and scalability, it gives users that all-important peace of mind.
So, why is cloud uptake still so slow in some areas of the public sector?  One of the main reasons is the lack of buy-in of senior leadership, who are often ambivalent about the benefits of digitalisation and cloud software in transforming outcomes and achieving savings. With the amount of data held exploding by the day, perceived security concerns continue to hold public sector organisations back from migrating to the cloud.
But the reality is, despite these misconceptions, adopting a cloud-first approach is a crucial step towards both digital transformation and the implementation of better cybersecurity practices.
Debunking the myths
It is vital that the barriers and myths about cloud are overcome.  the data saved with cloud service providers is highly likely to be safer than information stored in a computer’s hard drive. The security measures undertaken by large providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are demonstrably robust and powerful.
Unlike in-house IT teams who must grapple with a myriad of concerns and tasks, the sole role of cloud hosts is to carefully monitor security, making it a safer and more focused task. Furthermore, the servers are usually located in secure warehouses that most workers don’t have access to, with several layers of controls and encrypted files, so cyber criminals cannot easily gain access.
As cloud providers conduct regular and consistent security updates, public sector organisations and their security teams need not worry about forgetting to run an update or employing an IT expert to constantly maintain their servers.
Moreover, the growing usage of artificial intelligence (AI) tools by cloud service providers helps to better protect data. Today’s advanced AI capabilities can run the first level of security analysis, with reliable algorithms now able to identify possible system vulnerabilities and alert the team before nefarious actors cause any damage.
Unfortunately, power outages do occasionally happen, but the biggest cloud providers are prepared for these scenarios. If one of the servers goes down, the organisation can still access its files from a back-up, ensuring seamless business continuity.
Achieving cyber resilience
Any organisation that hosts itself holds any problems in its own hands. But working in partnership with a cloud solution provider ensures that the laborious task of keeping systems up and running is taken out of the organisation’s hands. Therefore, embracing cloud and adopting cloud-first strategies can help a business to gain greater resilience and operational efficiencies, ultimately improving the bottom line.
With vast security advancements made to cloud over the years, organisations can also be better protected against more sophisticated cyber threats whilst ensuring compliance with appropriate data regulations. Partnering with a trusted and reliable provider will enable IT professionals to confidently move forward with their digital transformation strategies, with cyber security as the backbone of success.
About the Author
Steve White is head of sales, local government at Yotta. Steve has been employed by Yotta for the past 6 years and is a business development specialist, with proven strategic and operational expertise in global, SME and start-up businesses. He has extensive experience of new business and account management to public and private sectors, and thrives on bringing innovative solutions to market that deliver value and improve services.
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