Today, Citrix announced new research which revealed that an average of £27,818 is now spent by many local authorities on health and safety training, nearly double the spend in 2015 (£14,061 per local authority). This is considerably more than the amount being committed to data protection and IT security training – just £3,378 per local authority.
This new data was obtained by a Freedom of Information (FoI) request issued to 129 local authorities, with 109 organisations responding. The findings compare the amount of revenue committed to training courses such as health and safety, meditation, working at heights and managing difficult situations, with that spent on protecting data from cyber-attackers like IT security and data protection training.
The findings reveal that nearly £1.2m has been committed between the councils this fiscal year on health and safety, meditation, working at heights and managing difficult situations training, compared to £104,711 on IT security and data protection courses.
A majority (86 per cent) of local authorities spent nothing at all on IT security training this year. However, several (24) have stated they provide free ‘e-learning’ or ‘on the job’ data protection and IT security training.
Interestingly, over the past two fiscal years an average of 714 smart devices per local authority – such as smartphones and tablets – have been issued to staff, totaling more than 56,000 overall. However, respondents indicated that 39.6 per cent of these aren’t protected by enterprise mobility management software.
Jon Cook, Director, Sales, UK & Ireland, Citrix, said: “A broad scope of training is vital in today’s work environment. We commend local authorities for arming their employees with these additional skills, as well as seeking to improve their work / life balance through issuing smart devices and committing to a well-rounded programme of training courses.
“However, cyber threats continue to be more prolific and advanced today than ever before. And with the responsibility for managing citizen data, coupled with the risk of penalties of up-to £500,000 for data-breaches, it is crucial that employees know how to keep information secure from external threats.
“With the stakes so high, councils must ensure that staff understand the importance of data protection in the growing threat landscape.”