By Billy Darcy Managing Director for Public Sector at Telefónica UK

Big data continues to be one of the major buzz words at the moment. The media is awash with ways businesses can harness its power. Supermarkets are using big data to target individuals with personalised offers, scientists are predicting disease patterns and police forces are even predicting criminal activity.

But more noticeable are stories of hacking, identity theft and fraud. It was recently announced eBay suffered the world’s biggest online security breach with more than 15 million British users affected. Coupled with this, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills recently commissioned a survey which showed 81% of large organisations had a security breach in the last year. These are clear indications that with big data, comes big responsibility.

Personally, I feel large data and network organisations bear the brunt of the responsibility to ensure data is stored and managed securely. This is particularly important in the Public Sector, where sensitive and classified data is handled daily. That is why I was delighted when it was announced last month that O2 has become the first mobile operator in the UK to achieve CAS(T) Certification for mobile voice and data services. A fantastic achievement which demonstrates the commitment we have to our customers to protect their data.

But what does this really mean? The awarding of CAS(T) Certification is evidence of the strength and resilience of our network. It shows we have put the provision of network security at the top of our priorities, and combined with the significant investment of over £1 billion in the last few years, we are in a fantastic position to work closely with a Public Sector that’s currently undergoing a digital transformation.

CAS(T) Certification is not only an assurance to Public Sector organisations, but is just as applicable to our customers in the Private Sector. As demand for mobile and digital services increases, the status of mobile networks as the backbone of the UK economy becomes more prevalent. Finance and professional service organisations are under more scrutiny than ever before to ensure their data is handled securely. For many of the CIO’s I talk to, this is becoming a real headache. Our CAS(T) Certification is evidence we understand these concerns and have invested to ensure IT decision makers, in both the Public and Private Sectors can sleep easily at night.

Although CAS(T)  Certification is a huge landmark, it is also a stepping stone towards reaching full PSN Compliance. There is no doubt that the Public Services Network (PSN) is the future of government procurement, and I want to make sure O2 is right at the heart of it. We will continue to invest £1.5 million in our network every day, and work with many of the UK’s Public and Private Sector organisations to ensure our secure network is at the centre of the digital economy.

Big data has become a term banded about rather liberally, but its importance from a business perspective cannot be underestimated. It is vital that organisations dealing with the flow and management of sensitive data recognise the need for security and robustness when it comes to managing customer information. In the process of achieving CAS(T) Certification, O2 opened its doors to intense network scrutiny as we believe protecting the security of our customer’s data is of the utmost importance.

To find out more about how we’re enabling an increasingly digital public sector view our website here.

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