Public sector employees ‘overwhelmed’ by IT complexity

New research has revealed that UK government and public sector workers struggle when working on multi-agency initiatives, finding themselves overwhelmed by the complexity of apps available and confused by IT security policies.

The study, commissioned by Huddle, interviewed more than 600 public sector employees, finding 19 per cent said their IT security policy makes it too difficult to share and collaborate on files with people outside of their organisation.

Just over a third (34 per cent) were not at all or not very familiar with Government Security Classifications for documents, while 28 per cent of public sector employees did not know how their IT security policies apply to their job roles.

A further nine per cent admitted to using personal file sharing apps to share and collaborate on files. And despite security concerns, email is still the principal mechanism for sharing files externally, with 57 per cent of respondents having received a phishing attempt to their work email address.

The need to work across multiple organisations has grown rapidly in recent years, with 20 per cent of workers now regularly sharing files and collaborating on work with stakeholders outside of their own organisation. However, respondents revealed that a lack of training, incompatible IT systems, and unclear security policies, were making it difficult to collaborate and work safely across multiple agencies and stakeholders.

Huddle’s chief marketing officer Tim Deluca-Smith said that while there has been positive progress with regards to digital transformation across public sector organisations, "workers need clear guidance on security policies, better training and an understanding of how to use technology to work beyond the organisation’s firewall".

Only 17 per cent of respondents felt that they had received adequate training. "This can lead to confusion and can potentially put sensitive project data at risk," he added.

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