Citizens today are deeply concerned about the security of their data in the public sector – and rightly so. Whereas cyberattacks in commercial corporations tend to be anonymous and untargeted, in the public sector, the situation is different. Agencies are up against criminals and hacktivists who are trying to disrupt operations, snatch secrets, or send a political message, so their attacks are very targeted and diligent.
The Unisys Security Index™, the only recurring snapshot of security concerns conducted globally, reported the threat of Viruses/Hacking as the third greatest global security concern in 2018, with 62 percent of respondents affirming that they are seriously concerned. What is more, these concerns are rising: seven out of thirteen countries have increased levels of concern about Viruses/Hacking since the 2017 index.
Citizen security concerns have a direct impact on how well agencies can deliver on their responsibilities. For example, law enforcement agencies benefit from people’s willingness to contribute data (e.g., tips, leads, evidence) using smartphones or social media platforms. However, if people are not confident that the police can protect their confidentiality as a source, it creates a chilling effect on their willingness to step forward. In turn, this exacerbates the difficulties law enforcement has in preventing and solving crime.
Consequently, public sector agencies are scrambling to secure a vast perimeter – a task made all the more challenging because of a hybrid IT environment encompassing legacy systems, client servers, web-based systems, and connected devices. To learn more about where security concerns exist within state and local governments and what steps to take to mitigate risk, read 2018 Security Index™ Puts Government Agencies on High Alert to Protect Citizen Data.