UK forum urges deeper focus on public sector security

The non-for-profit Information Security Awareness Forum (ISAF) has endorsed recent efforts by the government to increase public sector IT awareness but said that much work was still needed.

The voluntary organisation, which has members including ISSA, BCS, IISP, EURIM and Get Safe Online, said it welcomed recent moves by the government and associated agencies in improving IT security for the public sector.

This included recent House of Lords cyber crime report as well as moves by the ICO, which was making high profile efforts in changing general attitudes and policy towards data theft.

Dr David King, ISAF chairman, said that due to the new security ethos by the UK government, public sector managers needed to show responsibility for computer data, which also included education and guidance on IT for new and existing employees.

He also said that the need is about to become pressing as the government and its agencies had to take on thousands of new graduates entering the public sector. Although they were of the generation who knew computers from home and school, this didn't mean that they would have any great understanding of data security.

King said: "It's down to their new public sector employers to educate them on this front and they can only do this if the relevant managers get behind the security policies that already exist in many governmental departments and agencies, and pro-actively apply them."

ISAF was formed back in February with the basic aim of promoting security awareness after the plethora of high profile data losses during the tail-end of 2007.