It looks like it’s getting through that IA needs to be taken seriously. In the last two days I’ve heard articles on Radio 4 about hacked wireless and GCHQ announcements on Cyber attacks. If John Humphreys is grumpily enquiring on a topic, that means we have properly arrived.
An article in The Guardian here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/13/strategic-defence-review-cyber-security is a signpost to where this is going. There are two streams to this to my mind.
Stream One is that in the post-CSR world, where it is a logical extrapolation of today’s world that Government services will be increasingly provided online to enable citizen self-service, the defence of UK Government systems have never been more critical. Your average home user is being encouraged to engage with Government online, and badly protected home computers offer a real and continued threat. I am a big advocate of clear and simple guidance being offered to home users, as well as to business and .gov.uk organisations, as to how their diligence can help combat the increasing cyber threat. Microsoft has just issued a report on the levels of infection worldwide http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11531657 and frankly, this has a direct effect on the execution of the e-Government agenda. Mirroring the increase in publicity around national security and threat levels in the physical world, UK Government should be offering better publicised advice to citizens about the cyber-threat levels, for the good of both communities.
Stream Two is that Government needs to not be shy about IA. Spending needs to be maintained, and IA professionals more prized within Government. Initiatives such as G-Gloud and PSN should have security as their number one consideration. Doing things as cheaply as possible disappeared from the lexicon of procurement a while ago, but I detected a hint of it returning recently. I genuinely thought the era of viruses as news had gone, but it just plain hasn’t. My advice? Slacken up on IA at your peril. Nobody is going to use e-Government services if the websites have been hacked or Local Authorities have been taken out for a few days by a virus. This means increased transaction costs, which reduces expenditure on frontline services.
This isn’t a tenuous link: security = confidence = reduced transaction cost = saving money
PS Happy Birthday to The Lady!