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Socitm urges local input into cyber strategy


Lincolnshire IT shutdown prompts association's call for local government to be active in the planned National Cyber Security Centre

Public sector IT association Socitm has called for local government to be more active in forming a national cyber security strategy.

It has highlighted how councils are at the sharp end of the relevant threats by pointing to the ransomware attack on Lincolnshire County Council, which led to a shutdown of its systems for several days last week.

“Lincolnshire’s experience is the exception rather than the norm,” Socitm said in a statement. “However, the ongoing threat from existing and new forms of malware and other forms of cyber attack means that addressing these threats needs sustained focus.”

It said it is already working with the Department for Communities and Local Government on sharing best practice in cyber security, and discussing the possibility of central funding for local government in the area. But it also laid out its view on the role that councils could play in implementing the UK Cyber Security Strategy.

Governance role

It includes the call for local government to play an active role in the planned National Cyber Security Centre, announced last November by Chancellor George Osborne. This should include the governance and co-design of solutions, advice and support, which would draw on the awareness of local community and business priorities.

It would also involve a “symbiotic relationship” between central and local government to find resources for and develop local capacity to ensure that joined up services, such as those between the Department of Work & Pensions and local authorities, are secure.

Socitm also placed itself forward as a significant contributor to the strategy, saying it is well placed to expand its information governance work and “mainstream” cyber security into local government service areas.

In addition, it claimed it is well placed to work with suppliers to ensure procurement channels include cyber security accreditation, and to help develop and distribute briefing materials.

Image: Electronic Frontier Foundation graphic, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 through Wikimedia.

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