The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has claimed that implementing protective security monitoring has transformed the way its vast IT estate works.
Pankaj Mistry, head of IT security and IT security officer at the Department, explained to delegates at Whitehall Media’s GovSec event last week how the system was installed and the benefits it has had.
As DWP’s services begin to move online in line with the government’s digital by default agenda, it began to require monitoring that goes beyond traditional defences.
Monitoring is also one of the government’s 10 Steps to Cyber Security.
The Department has many employees, including home and mobile workers and an advanced monitoring solution allows these to be monitored.
“If you know what’s going on in your estate, you know what’s normal, you can then model what’s abnormal – monitoring can help you again,” claimed Mistry.
DWP implemented security firm Qinetiq’s protective monitoring service to try and gain and understanding of what was going on within its IT estate.
According to Mistry, one benefit of choosing an external supplier’s product is that it has helped to prevent “analysis paralysis” and therefore Department staff are not tied up trying to interpret data without the necessary skills.
Since deploying a protective monitoring service, DWP has been able to spend time taking action based on the information that the programme is providing.
“The key thing about this is putting a monitoring system in place is important,” claimed Mistry.
“But it’s what you do with the outputs that’s essential and that’s where you get the value,” he added.
Mistry also praised the role G-Cloud has played in upgrading DWP’s technology systems, claiming it offers transparent prices and service.
“The G-Cloud framework is a very good source for finding partners and suppliers,” he claimed, adding that is where the latest partner for protective monitoring was found.
The IT head said that because his Department did not want to purchase a bespoke solution and instead just wanted to see what was available and whether it works, G-cloud was a good route to go down to avoid a “massive” tendering exercise.
Earlier this year, the DWP revealed it was beginning to move forward in its digital transformation by adopting a “tower model” programme for its IT.
As part of its transformation programme, the Department revealed it would be focusing on the government’s commitment to doing more business with SMEs.