Zero Trust and Shared Services for Local Government

The headlines around security breaches and public-sector organisations often make alarming reading. But behind the scenes, the problem is even bigger than it might seem: cybercriminals are more sophisticated and better-resourced than ever. Furthermore, the consequences of a data breach are enormous for the organisation involved – and for the public whose private information often ends up falling into malicious hands.

The risk has been exacerbated by the changes in working patterns brought in during and after the pandemic. More people are working remotely and in the cloud, using local security measures that don’t meet the standard required. Similarly, existing security infrastructure like firewalls and authentication tools can’t have an effect if data and applications are being accessed from outside the traditional network. So it’s clear that something needs to change.

Key challenges to local government security

Local authorities are being hit by thousands of breaches every year: for example, Suffolk County Council recorded more than 650 incidents in the 12 months to September 2022. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the National Cyber Security Centre has warned that more needs to be done to uprate cyber resilience in sectors such as local government. As part of that, it’s vital that local authorities build stronger security cultures, along with better-defined policies, and security tools fit for changing patterns of usage.

Of course, achieving that in practice is easier said than done for local authorities, for a number of different reasons, such as:

Why Zero Trust and shared services are the answer

Many of the security and financial concerns around new ways of working are being resolved by the implementation of a shared services model. This is where processes, people and technologies come together in a centralised system to enable cost, scale and standardisation efficiencies, as well as enabling more secure remote working.

Shared service arrangements and partnerships have already generated more than £1.3 billion in efficiency savings for local government organisations. However, it must come hand-in-hand with a security approach that protects data, systems and applications, anywhere and at any time.

That security approach is Zero Trust, where all activity and access is considered unauthorised unless authentication and verification can prove otherwise. It’s already being widely pursued across the business world: as of 2022, 80% of organisations had at least some form of Zero Trust strategy in place. And for local government, it can be instrumental in enabling smooth and secure access to data and systems for employees, and allow them to be productive remotely without compromising security of sensitive information.

How SCC can help

As an experienced cross-sector leader in business IT and cybersecurity, SCC is your perfect partner for implementing Zero Trust security into your shared services. Our suite of technologies are ideal for handling the complex and distributed nature of modern local government:

A changing digital landscape in all walks of life means new approaches to security are a must. For local government authorities, which are particularly vulnerable to highly damaging cyber-attacks, philosophies like Zero Trust are vital to proactively uprate security and stay one step ahead of the threat of cybercrime.

Shared services models, combined with Zero Trust, can allow multiple local authorities to pool their resources and gain robust protection for a smaller outlay than investing in a solution entirely of their own. SCC already works with several local government organisations to bolster their security, and can do exactly the same for yours.

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