Public Sector: The Front Line of Data Security

Very few organisations in the UK handle more sensitive data than those in the Public Sector. They are on the front line of the debate around data security, and as data collaboration increasingly becomes the norm between public bodies and Private Sector companies, there is an increasing need to ensure data is managed and handled correctly. A phrase that really captured my imagination was when Rt. Hon Francis Maude described data as ‘the 21st century’s new raw material’ with the ability to empower citizens. But for this to happen citizens need to trust how their data is being used.

From electronic police criminal reports to local council WiFi hotspots, the Public Sector is moving into the digital world. Initiatives such as ‘Digital by Default’ are acting as a catalyst for the digitisation of sensitive data. Coupled with this is an increasing awareness from these organisations that failure to manage security can result in serious damage: not only to reputation, but also financially. With increasing budget cuts, receiving a large fine could impact their ability to deliver services to their communities.

As a leading mobile phone operator, O2 is expected to provide ubiquitous mobile phone coverage and outstanding customer service without compromising the data of a single customer. We understand how important data security is and how valuable confidence in data security is to our customers.

That is why we were delighted recently when the Information Commissioner’s Office praised O2’s network on the steps we take to safeguard customer data. The awarding of the GREEN ‘high assurance’ rating means we are the first mobile operator in the UK to achieve such accreditation. Last year our CEO Ronan Dunne spoke at a debate on the EU’s progress towards agreeing new data protection rules, and he highlighted research O2 had conducted showing how people are scared of sharing data because of a lack of clarity from businesses and government over the uses and benefits of it. To me this new high assurance rating O2 has achieved is clear evidence that right from the top down, O2 is both regulatory and financially committed to protecting our customers’ data.

It follows on from O2 being confirmed as the first mobile operator in the UK to achieve CAS(T) certification for mobile voice and data services earlier this year. Both accolades show the strength of our network which we continue to invest £1.5 million in every single day. We have recognised the importance of data security and network resilience to our Public Sector customers, and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure we meet these needs.

The Public Sector is rapidly digitising, yet many organisations are seeing data security as the biggest barriers to mobility and citizen engagement. At O2 we have invested in our network to ensure Public Sector organisations can remain on the front line, empowering their employees and engaging with citizens.

Visit our website to find out more about how we’re empowering the Public Sector.