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15 Jun 2011

Contracts not headcount key to government savings – according to sophos research

UK civil servants indicate that headcount reduction is not the answer as they look to shared services and contract renegotiations to reduce IT overheads

Over half (56%) of UK civil servants believe that the renegotiation of existing IT contracts is crucial to Government IT savings, according to a recent Dods survey conducted for global IT security and data protection firm Sophos. In addition, 58% of respondents also recognised that sharing services, for example by merging IT departments across different divisions, should be a top priority cost saving measure.

In association with Sophos, Dods surveyed 858 senior civil servants from across the UK Government about information security and IT spending. Respondents indicated that reducing the number of personnel was not the way forward in order to obtain the biggest IT savings, with almost half of those surveyed (46%) saying that it was the lowest priority.

Only 15% of civil servants thought that embracing new technologies, such as cloud computing, was the most important priority and only 5% thought that the Government should focus on making cuts to existing IT programmes.

“These responses, for the most part, reflect the focus of the Central Government’s cost-cutting strategy that was announced earlier this year – especially when it comes to sharing and reusing solutions, ” said Ollie Hart, Sophos’s head of public sector business. “The key to success for Government departments will be realising efficiency gains through careful streamlining and consolidation of suppliers, and not by simply replacing existing suppliers with a cheaper and potentially less effective solution.”

“However, while there are clear messages being sent out about how to save on IT expenditure, there is still uncertainty across the respondents about the £650m budget for cyber security - 54% of those surveyed stated that it’s unclear what this money is to be spent on, ” continued Hart. “Although the recent speech by Francis Maude does shed slightly more light on this, it’s essential that if other areas across the Government are facing cost-cutting measures, the newly appointed head of the Government's Defence Cyber Operations Group is clear with his intentions for this budget, and ensures that it is distributed across the entire Government network, to ensure a maximum positive impact across the Government.”

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.