William Eichler 26 October 2016

Councils vulnerable to cyber attacks due to low IT security spend, finds research

Councils vulnerable to cyber attacks due to low IT security spend, finds research image

Councils spend eight times more on health and safety training than on IT security and data protection courses combined, new research reveals.

Freedom of Information requests to 129 local authorities by the technology services company Citrix showed an average of £27,818 is now spent by many local authorities on health and safety training - nearly double the spend in 2015.

This is considerably more than the amount being committed to data protection and IT security training - £3,378 per local authority.

The research, which was based on the responses of 109 councils, also discovered over a third of council-issued devices could be vulnerable to cyber-attackers through low training spend and having no protective enterprise-grade software installed.

Overall, the findings reveal nearly £1.2m has been committed between the councils this fiscal year on health and safety, meditation, working at heights and managing difficult situations training, compared to £104,711 on IT security and data protection courses.

Citrix also discovered 86% of local authorities spent nothing at all on IT security training this year.

Over the past two fiscal years an average of 714 smart devices per local authority have been issued to staff, totaling more than 56,000 overall.

However, respondents indicated that 39.6% of these aren’t protected by enterprise mobility management software.

‘Cyber threats continue to be more prolific and advanced today than ever before,’ Jon Cook, Citrix director, sales, UK & Ireland.

‘And with the responsibility for managing citizen data, coupled with the risk of penalties of up to £500,000 for data-breaches, it is crucial that employees know how to keep information secure from external threats.

‘With the stakes so high, councils must ensure that staff understand the importance of data protection in the growing threat landscape.’

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