Making Cyber Security a Priority

In the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has detected more UK government branded scams relating to COVID-19 than any other subject.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought huge changes to the way we work. Leaders across government have needed to take swift measures to equip their staff with IT infrastructure to enable them to work remotely. Staff have had to adapt to operating from different digital platforms to virtually collaborate with their teams. 

Although remote working has been instrumental in managing the spread of the virus, it has also resulted in a spread of cybercriminal activity, data loss, leaks and breaches.

Civil servants - and government data – are now all geographically dispersed, moving across a vulnerable digital landscape, creating a host of new risks and challenges.

An exponential increase of connected devices, cloud and online services has also amplified the volume of data moving across a complexity of networks. Government are being faced with a reduction in control over IT usage, opening floodgates of opportunity for malicious cyber actors to exploit the pandemic for their own gain.

It is not just cybercriminals that government leaders need to be aware of, but also updating IT protocols and procedures for remote staff. Ensuring business continuity whilst simultaneously protecting gaps in security must now be at the top of government’s agenda.

This paper will reflect on the issues, challenges and opportunities around making cyber security a priority in government. It will list a few of the threats and vulnerabilities currently being experienced and will also share best practice on how all levels of government can mitigate security risks and proactively protect their networks, within a complex threat landscape.