How can governments protect data?

Data may be one of the UK Government’s richest assets, but it also puts it between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, Governments have a responsibility to keep their data assets secure. On the other hand, they have to make them findable, accessible and reusable as per the FAIR principles.

Here at Astun, we’re working hard to help our local and central government clients achieve the seemingly impossible.

Reducing cyber security risks in supply chains

When it comes to cyber security, any organisation is only as strong as its weakest link. One key area of risk is the supply chain. A recent report by ENISA, the European Union Agency for Cyber Security, claims that “an organization could be vulnerable to a supply chain attack even when its own defences are quite good.”

Worryingly, the same report estimates that there will be four times more supply chain attacks in 2021 than in 2020. 

So, what can a government organisation do to reduce supply chain risks? The answer lies in the government-led scheme, Cyber Essentials.

The importance of Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials offers protection against over 80% of the most common cyber risks. Since 2014, it has been mandatory for central government contracts which involve handling personal information and providing certain ICT products or services. 

Nick Turner, our Head of Product and Cyber Essentials lead, explains why Cyber Essentials is a critical part of our cyber security strategy:

“We help government agencies to make their datasets accessible under the Q-FAIR principles, but data is often sensitive and needs careful handling. Managing and sharing data goes hand in hand with privacy concerns.

The Cyber Essentials scheme aims to reduce cyber security risks in government supply chains. Our Cyber Essentials Plus Accreditation reassures our clients that we take cyber security seriously. It also gives us peace of mind that we are following best practices in the management of our clients’ prized assets.”

The importance of data sharing 

Of course, whilst some datasets have to be protected carefully, others need to be shared with as wide an audience as possible.

Our new Data Discoverability tools will make it easier to both restrict and share data. With our help organisations will be able to :

  • Protect sensitive data with just a few clicks
  • Make shared data more findable through search engine optimisation
  • Bulk publish datasets to portals like
  • Quickly produce the metadata that users demand
  • Improve the quality and manageability of thousands of datasets

We launched our Data Discoverability tools at the GEO Business show in November, including our free Guide to Data Discoverability.

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