Accelerated Digital Transformation & COVID-19

Jamie Davies

Jamie Davies, Public Sector Sales Manager at Egress, reflects on the accelerated digital transformation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, and what it means for organisations looking to keep their sensitive data secure.

Myth: Digital transformation takes years to implement

In 2019 and early 2020, digital transformation was still a work in progress for many public sector organisations. It was seen by some as a big, complex project that required substantial investment and years to fully implement. However, when the way many of us work changed overnight in March 2020, digital transformation went from being a nice-to-have to a business-critical necessity. Luckily, there’s some incredible solutions available to the public sector, and many digital transformation projects were able to be fully rolled out within the days and weeks that followed the initial national lockdown.

As the world moved from face-to-face to digital, so did our public sector. Using cutting-edge technology, public sector IT teams transformed the way that employees were able to communicate and collaborate, enabling essential operations to continue. What were once face-to-face meetings became facilitated by video meeting tools, water-cooler chats moved to Teams, and paper-based file sharing moved to secure and collaborative tools such as Egress Secure Workspace.

Enabling Secure File Sharing with Devon & Cornwall Police

A prime example of this accelerated transformation is our customer, Devon & Cornwall police. During the pandemic, police forces across the country have to maintain a delicate balancing act between ensuring their staff are safe and their essential service are maintained. Pre-pandemic, many of Devon & Cornwall Police’s back-office processes were carried out using paper and physical storage solutions, such as burning CCTV evidence onto DVDs before sending it via post and courier to the Crown Prosecution Service. However, when their back office staff were required to work from home for their safety, these processes were no longer feasible – and Devon and Cornwall Police immediately needed a new solution that would enable them to transfer data safely.

Devon & Cornwall Police were existing Egress customers who used our Secure Web Form solution to securely obtain information and evidence from citizens, particularly dashcam footage to assist with road traffic incidents. When the pandemic meant that their postrooms had to close, Devon & Cornwall Police required a secure digital solution to enable them to share sensitive files, such as evidence, both internally and with third parties. Egress was able to roll out its Secure Workspace solution within 48 hours, ensuring that Devon & Cornwall Police could continue to operate remotely, enabling their staff to share and collaborate on files. Not only did this help to prevent a backlog of evidence and administrative documents, but the solution has delivered cost and time savings too – crucially, this means that charging decisions can be made more swiftly.

Protecting Sensitive Emails with A2Dominion

The pandemic meant that housing association A2Dominion also had to transition from physical communication to digital. However, they knew that by increasing their reliance on email for communication, they would be faced with an increased amount of risk when it came to the security of their data. In particular, this increased the risk of sending an email to the wrong recipient, which our Outbound Email Security Report found was the cause of 80% of email data breaches. A2Dominion chose to use Egress Prevent, a solution which utilises contextual machine learning to prevent incidents such as misdirected emails without getting in the way of productivity. In addition to this, they adopted Egress Protect to replace their legacy email encryption solution; a change that was well-received by end users and meant that emails can safely be used to share sensitive data. This combination of solutions enabled A2Dominion to smoothly transition from using physical processes, such as post, to digital communication, enabling them to continue to deliver essential services during the pandemic.

In a time when human-activated security risks are surging due to remote working, keeping data secure is of vital importance for the public sector – especially when many internal processes have had to rapidly adapt to this new way of working. With the right technology in place, public sector organisations can continue to evolve their processes in this new digital world, while ensuring that their data is kept secure.

You can watch Jamie’s presentation from the Government ICT Virtual Summit here.