Feeds

Plans to move gov online 'lack cyber-security', say MPs

Cabinet Office warned not to deliver half-baked effort

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

MPs have expressed serious concern about a lack of cyber-security plans detailed in the government's IT and communications strategy.

A Public Accounts Committee report warned that the "ambitious" plans laid out by the Cabinet Office in March this year needed further clarity.

"The strategy only makes one reference to cyber-security. This is particularly concerning given the move to more government services online," the report concludes.

"The government has committed to increase the use of new technologies and sharing of information, which rely on the internet. ERG [the Cabinet Office's Efficiency and Reform Group] should clarify in its implementation plan how cyber-security will be integrated into its strategy for ICT."

The parliamentary committee added that the Cabinet Office needed to be clear about how many cyber-security professionals there were working within government.

It pointed out that the US government had recently admitted it needs to "double its capability to meet a shortfall in skills" in that area of IT.

An implementation plan is expected to be published by the Cabinet Office next month, but the committee warned that Francis Maude's department would not be able to deliver the strategy without backing from ministers across government.

It also needs to convince tech suppliers to respond positively to the changes, which could yet meet opposition.

On a related note, the report called on the Cabinet Office to explain in more detail how it plans to encourage small UK businesses to get involved in government IT procurements.

It also stressed concerns about British citizens being left behind because of the Cabinet Office's bold "digital-by-default" plans.

"The government plans to move more public services online and, rightly, to stress the importance of designing services around the needs of the user. However, approximately nine million people have never used the internet, and they must not be excluded," it said.

"ERG and other relevant departments should withhold sign-off of additional online services until they are satisfied that the service is designed for users."

It said the efficiency reform group should continue to make online services accessible via libraries, which have recently faced closures and cuts, as well as through post offices and other public spaces.

Part of the strategy involves the creation of a single domain for taxpayers to access public services online.

A prototype is currently being developed by a small team of coders based in Lambeth in South London. The project is yet to secure any further funding for future development, however.

Similarly, the Cabinet Office's plans to introduce a new "ID assurance" scheme – which may hook into a post-Directgov website as early as summer 2012 – could require a new Act to be passed in Parliament.

All of which underlines the committee's warning that Maude's department cannot go it alone with its tech strategy. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.