As new technology becomes more widely used across organisations of all types, ensuring these new tools and ways of working are secure is more important than ever for IT managers.
In the public sector, this could be especially critical, as a recent study by Accenture has highlighted that emerging technologies are already playing a pivotal role in helping improve their operations.
Some 92 per cent of respondents said improving citizen experience is the main goal of adopting new technology, while 73 per cent stated these solutions would reduce risk and enhance security.
However, in an article for CIO Insight, Accenture's Ger Daly and Kevin O'Brien warned that new approaches to security are essential if public sector organisations are to make the most of their data and avoid costly breaches.
They noted that as government agencies increase the amount of citizen data they collect and analyse, this will present "difficult trust, security and regulatory issues for agencies that deploy emerging technologies".
Indeed, the study found that 54 per cent of respondents cited security, privacy and digital trust concerns as obstacles to the wider deployment of new technologies. Separate research also suggests that 48 per cent of C-level security executives are very concerned about issues such as malware and insider data theft.
"While new technologies can potentially play a transformative role in enabling public service organisations to meet their objectives, the security challenges that come with deployment must be understood," they wrote.
This means making security and data protection a top priority across the organisation, including when details are shared with partners and suppliers. As part of this, every device on which data will be viewed must be protected. Steps should also be taken to prevent 'visual hacking', when sensitive details are being displayed on publicly-viewable screens.
Improving skills in-house will play a major role in this, both in terms of educating end-users and having the right specialist tech talent to tackle security issues. Accenture's research found about 70 per cent of all respondents said their organisation lacks the talent necessary to take advantage of emerging technologies, with 51 per cent seeking to bring in talent from the private sector to close this gap.
In addition, one in 20 revealed they use cloud services even though their employer has explicitly restricted their use. Mr Welfare has therefore urged organisations to take steps to get to grips with this problem, such as ensure that all company data is encrypted before employees are able to upload it to the cloud.
He added that stringent security policies and employee education programmes need to be put in place, so the potential dangers of cloud-based services are adequately conveyed to members of staff. “Businesses must catch up with the employee cloud revolution or risk potentially catastrophic data loss,” he stated.