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Technology / Cloud

Nearly Half of English Councils Running Insecure Old Software

Nearly half of England’s local authorities are using unsupported software and systems, with 46 percent utilising Microsoft systems that are outside of their extended support period and thus no longer have the newest security patches.

The statistics were revealed by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request carried out by COMPAREX UK, which sent FOI’s into all of London’s Boroughs, Metropolitan and all of the County Councils in England.

They found that 24 percent of those that responded are running outdated system such Windows Server 2000, 2003 or Microsoft SQL server 2005. Only 13 percent meanwhile are paying for the extended support on Windows Server 2008.

Chris Bartlett, Business Unit Director – Public Sector at COMPAREX UK said: “By continuing to run out-of-date server software, many councils are exposing themselves to a host of security and compliance risks. The FOI data suggests that matters are slowly improving, as separate FOI requests to London Borough Councils back in 2016 showed that 70 per cent were running unsupported server software.”

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“However, with GDPR now in effect, councils need to be even more cognisant of vulnerabilities – especially considering the volume of citizen data they hold. With that in mind, it is important that risks are managed, and councils establish an upgrade strategy.”

Worrying Picture

Out of 32 borough councils in London ten admitted that they are running on unsupported systems. Every council that reported they were running on outdated systems told the company that they were planning to upgrade over the next few years.

Mr Bartlett stated that: “The FOI data presents a worrying picture. Only a handful of councils are currently paying for extended support, but it appears most are either unaware or are simply ignoring the risks of using unsupported software.”

“Councils need more detailed insight and greater visibility into their software estates, so they can make better informed upgrade decisions.”

“Many councils may also be delaying upgrades for fear of the potential cost and disruption they might incur.  However, councils can no longer afford to stick their heads in the sand – they should be looking to upgrade as soon as possible.”
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CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.