Security concerns driving IT transformation in UK public sector

New report from IBM also shows public sector IT pros view regulation and compliance as their biggest barrier to digital transformation, followed by data security concerns

Posted 31 January 2022 by Christine Horton

Cybersecurity is helping to drive modernisation of technology within the public sector.

A new report by conducted by Censuswide on behalf of IBM UK & Ireland, surveyed over 600 UK IT decision-makers and professionals working across financial services, telecoms and the public sector. It indicates that Increased risk from security threats is a big factor in modernisation strategies.

A third (33 percent) of public sector respondents say security one of the top drivers of IT transformation. Eighty-seven percent say they’ve invested, or plan to invest, in the latest enterprise grade cloud security and encryption technology, such as Confidential Computing.

Following large-scale cyberattacks like SolarWinds, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of public sector respondents say their department or agency has increased its security strategy.  

Meanwhile, 45 percent view regulation and compliance as their biggest barrier to digital transformation, followed closely by data security concerns (43 percent). Compliance challenges can also stifle innovation, with nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of respondents saying compliance concerns hold their organisations back from working with third-party vendors.

But at the same time, 40 percent agree that new regulations or policies are also a catalyst for innovation, creating opportunities to offer differentiated products or services.  

Just over half (53 percent) of IT professionals within the public sector believe their organisation is either a digital-first organisation or around half-way through the transformation.

As they pursue the next half of their transformation journeys, 85 percent of respondents have adopted or plan to adopt hybrid cloud architectures to allow them to capitalize on the speed and agility of cloud, while working with multiple cloud seamlessly and allowing certain workloads to remain on-premise.  

Open hybrid cloud

“Government organisations are having to move quickly to cloud-based IT systems under the government’s Cloud First policy, while avoiding vendor lock-in and safeguarding data,” said Janine Cook, VP, public sector, IBM UK & Ireland.  

“As they pursue the next half of their transformation journeys, adopting an open hybrid cloud platform can allow the public sector to capitalise on the speed and agility of the public cloud, while balancing the need for security, compliance and working with multiple cloud providers seamlessly.   

“Interestingly, when it comes to regulatory or policy requirements, nearly two thirds of respondents (63 percent) across sectors agreed that accelerating digital projects has gone on to benefit the wider organisation. This demonstrates that getting over the initial pain of change and seeing it through to completion can pay long-lasting dividends for the future success of any organisation.”