Securing New Technology in the Public Sector
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Emerging technologies are making their mark on public service, but secure management is vital to national security and to the delivery of citizen services.
Address the growing threat of data manipulation.
This threat has been largely overlooked, as security and defense activities have been very heavily focused on protecting the device and the network. There is increasing concern about the security of devices used to provide hard data for decision making, especially in the areas of health care, justice and revenue.
Not all cyber-attacks aim to steal or destroy data. Instead, many seek to manipulate data—often with equal, if not worse, consequences for individuals, businesses and governments. The need to protect data from both malicious and accidental manipulation must remain a prominent area of concern for government agencies.
Respect the individual’s right to privacy.
Government agencies can build digital trust with citizens by taking a balanced approach to the collection and analysis of citizen data, while still supporting wider public security and law enforcement goals. Collecting and analyzing large volumes of sensitive citizen data pose difficult trust, security and regulatory issues for agencies that deploy emerging technologies—with 54 percent of respondents citing security, privacy and digital trust concerns as obstacles to the wider deployment of new technologies.
Find the right talent—and develop and retain in-house skills.
By recruiting data security and other new-technology specialists, government agencies can greatly reduce risk. Hiring and developing people with the necessary skills are top challenges facing both the public and private sectors. About 70 percent of all respondents identified a lack of talent necessary to take advantage of intelligent technologies, and 51 percent said their agency seeks to hire talent from the private sector.
Collaborate with peers, as well as with the private and nonprofit sectors.
Sixty percent of survey respondents who are evaluating, piloting or implementing emerging technology projects said they would collaborate with peer or nongovernmental organizations. Government agencies should work to ensure that third parties have relevant security standards and processes in place. An enterprise is only as secure as its least secure partner, yet another recent study found that only 35 to 57 percent of the enterprise respondents said they assess ecosystem partners for cyber-integrity and preparedness.
To adopt emerging technologies successfully, government and public service leadership must drive digital transformation efforts with a security-first mindset. Developing a robust risk management effort while creating an environment of digital trust is vital.
Therefore, to manage the growing number of security challenges that come with the growth of next-generation technologies, governments will need to work in close cooperation with the private sector, the research community and the extended enterprise ecosystem—including business partners, nongovernmental organizations, service providers and citizens. If successful, the benefits to both their organization and the citizens it serves will be substantial.
Ger Daly is Accenture’s managing director for Defense & Public Safety. Kevin O’Brien is security & intelligence lead for Accenture Health & Public Service.