A connected and protected public sector: what to expect in 2016
The public sector, operating with increasingly tight purse strings, is going to change its approach to technology.
All too often for the public, the term "digital government" conjures images of expensive IT systems and missed opportunities. Nevertheless, the public sector is genuinely beginning to roll-out revolutionary services. As we recently heard from Minister Ed Vaizey, the government intends for Britain to continue to lead in the adoption of technology and will shortly set out a new digital strategy for the UK.
We are, however, still in an era of deficit reduction and are witnessing a sustained cyber threat in the UK. As such, the government's focus will remain on returning a surplus over the next four years. As Intel Security recently estimated, the cyber threat costs the world economy $400bn per year, which means any technology that the UK government deploys will need to deliver productivity and efficiency improvements whilst simultaneously supporting the fight against cybercrime.
Are we going to see large-scale deployment of the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles and robot bosses? Perhaps not as soon as this year, but it is coming. In the meantime the government will continue to focus on other, more sensible technology implementations.
Accelerated adoption of Cloud technologies
The Cloud will continue to offer public services the greater efficiency they seek from their IT systems. Although Whitehall has long professed the benefits of the Cloud, enthusiasm has not fully extended to the rest of the public sector. Recent research found that only a third of public sector staff are comfortable with Cloud IT.
Data security concerns were cited as a reason for many public sector workers’ low confidence in the technology. There is no question that cyber criminals are constantly seeking to exploit weak or ignored corporate security policies, but this should not lead to public sector workers shunning the Cloud. It does, after all, have the potential to resolve many departmental problems around balancing productivity and efficiency, as well as addressing a number of cyber security threats. Supported by the G-Cloud Frameworks, we will see departments of all sizes move more and more to the cloud.
Government - Platform as a Service (PaaS)
We will see the continued development of a government PaaS. In effect, this is a platform to allow customers (other departments) to develop, run, manage and potentially share web applications without having to build, deploy and maintain complex and costly infrastructure to support it.
This will reduce duplication and the historically siloed approach of government. It will also provide an opportunity for the government to increase efficiency and the quality of the service it provides to the citizen. It may also be an opportunity to take a more enterprising, resourceful and efficient approach to cyber security and for departments to be able to share more threat intelligence.
Threat intelligence sharing among enterprises and security vendors will grow rapidly and continue to mature. Improving the way we all share threat intelligence will be crucial in 2016. Across the world, intelligence will be gained from multitudes of network devices, security sensors and web events, which agencies will analyse and act upon in real time. We will see the government continuing to consider how its component parts can work better together and with a more efficient approach.
IoT and Robot Bosses
The Internet of Things is already here. In 2016 we will continue to see its adoption and utilisation in the UK as it transforms industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and transport. It will emerge in all areas of our life this year (the Internet of Beer “smart kegs” are already here) and it will be used to improve care systems for our elderly population this year.
So what about robot bosses? According to Gartner, by 2018, more than 3 million workers globally will be supervised by a "robo-boss." The analyst house believes that robo-bosses will make more and more decisions that previously only human managers could have. This highlights how we’re seeing a growing shift in supervisory duties such as monitoring worker accomplishment being based on measurements of performance that are directly linked to output and customer evaluation. Whether we will see this across government in 2016 remains to be seen, but it’s one example of how technology may affect all of our working lives.
In 2016 the UK will look to its new digital strategy to embrace the above predictions, using them to improve efficiency and productivity whilst continuing the fight against cybercrime. What is clear is that we are on the cusp of a technological transformation within public services and the challenge will be to ensure the we do all we can to embrace this whilst continuing to combat the developing cyber threat.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.
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