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September 25, 2015

EMC public sector CIO blasts UK government security strategy

News: After releasing a report with Policy Exchange earlier this week, the security expert had some strong words for the government.

By Charlotte Henry

EMC public sector CIO James Norman has poured cold water over the government’s claims to be improving digital public services. He urged government to do more so that citizens feel that they can use public digital services securely.

Norman told CBR: "Part of the problem we’ve had is all the mistrust that citizens have in terms of government holding their data. We’ve seen too many scandals with data being released."

His comments came after his firm had released a report on the future of government digital services this week, and feel particularly prescient in light of the current OPM breach.

He said: "We know from recent publications that cyber security is the biggest threat to the UK government, and UK industry as a whole, and yet we are not investing significantly in cyber security across the public sector."

Norman identified local government and health as particular areas of concern. "I know from bitter experience the lack of investment in health, in security officers, and in security software," he said.

"The norm in health is very few can actually afford to invest in these areas," said Norman.

He also derided the government’s recent announcements on cyber security investments. "It’s all very well that we’re getting £500,000, it’s not actually going to make that much difference, to be perfectly honest," he said, highlighting the time it will take to actually train people.

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Norman’s criticisms chime with the views of the public. The report found the while the public believe government’s tech offerings are improving, 65% still believe that they lag behind the private sector.

The government was approached, but declined to respond.

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