Major IT risks abound in public sector bodies


17 Dec 2003

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Some 98pc of Irish public sector bodies have identified critical systems and major IT risks in their organisations and the ability to identify and monitor key performance indicators continues to be a major challenge, a survey by financial advisory firm Deloitte has discovered.

The survey by the Enterprise Risk Services group at Deloitte, conducted among public sector organisations on the level of implementation of IT governance, found that only 15pc of respondents have a representative at the most senior oversight level dealing with IT governance issues, with 95pc having some form of governance processes in place.

Although 98pc of respondents have identified critical systems and major IT risks in their organisations, the ability to identify and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) continues to be a major challenge for most organisations.

Some 78pc of respondents identified security breaches as a major risk, in common with the private business sector. However, only two thirds of public sector organisations have carried out an assessment of their exposure to hacking or other significant security weaknesses.

Gerry Fitzpatrick, enterprise risk services partner at Deloitte in Dublin commented: “Lack of ownership for IT governance at the highest levels leaves public sector organisations vulnerable to only focusing on cost containment rather than the achievement of an IT vision – one which would obtain the best benefit possible from information and communications technology (ICT).”

Fitzpatrick also indicated that major project failure and loss of key staff, whilst ranked as lower level risks by respondents, will become critical in the near future with the implementation of the Government’s decentralisation programme.

By John Kennedy