McAfee, part of Intel Security, has launched a new report which extrapolates digital trends to predict how the next generation of government might look and what the future security challenges might be.

This is the third paper released in the last month considering strategic issues that affect the public sector and the various stakeholders involved. It is hoped the paper will facilitate security planning for government, large and small IT businesses, and the channel.

The starts by examining current technological, economic, and social drivers affecting government. In particular it identifies:

–  A drive for increased efficiency and transparency in developed public sectors
–  A move towards the vast majority of populations going online
–  Private sector innovation, e.g. on-line banking, driving expectations about public sector interaction
–  The increasing connectivity between government and citizens
–  Additional sensors in mobile devices creating more data

The paper predicts these will lead to more personalised public services.

At an extreme end, this could mean automated services without human interaction. For example, a smart watch app that monitors its user’s health could order medication if the user seems to be under duress.

More everyday services will be tailored to devices and linked to personal profiles, as well. Advances in identity assurance and connected government will streamline interactions with government, reducing data input requirements.

A greater quantity of data will also allow governments to crowd-source solutions, helping it to reduce congestion and determine where to deploy public service resources, for example.

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The paper then looks at the security issues these changes would present.

The increasing amount of data would require an increasingly sophisticated back-end system. Vulnerabilities in networks across which data is transmitted can allow this information to be modified. As the quantity of data grows, so too does our need to maintain its integrity and provide adequate assurance methods.

The fundamental nature of the threat is unlikely to change, and human error will remain a major challenge.

Even if governments can ensure inbound data is validated, this does not preclude citizens’ devices themselves from being insecure. If a phone can access all of its owner’s records, it is vitally important these are not accessible if the phone is lost or stolen.

Current security approaches such as multi-factor authentication offer potential solutions, and public information campaigns will all be vital in helping users to stay secure. However, it is also important that security doesn’t become so arduous that users aren’t willing to engage in it on an ongoing basis.

The paper concludes by asking, “Why can’t I vote with my phone?,” an issue which epitomises the issues of next generation government.

Graeme Stewart, Director of Public Sector Strategy and Relations at McAfee, says: “Our conclusion is that the security issues relating to online voting mean we are some way off being able to do so. However, many other innovative government services present lower barriers to entry and could therefore be much nearer as our security capability advances.”

“As we move towards better digital government services, our security requirements change. In some cases we need to deploy existing technologies; in others we need new solutions. Many cases combine a mix of technological and public information approaches. The desirability of better online public services will drive this forward. Security – at a policy and technological level – must be an integral part of this if they are to succeed.”

Please find the full report at http://mcafee-active.corp.nai.org/uk/industry/public-sector/strategy-policy-and-analysis.aspx.

About McAfee

mcafee-labs-stinger-download-2McAfee, a division of Intel Security and a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com.

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