While many of the UK’s local authorities are adopting a wide range of new communications options from video calls to chat messenger systems, email is still among the most used applications.

From internal messaging within the council offices to external communication to other government bodies and members of the public living in the local area, email account systems used by local authorities must support secure methods in order for data to be transmitted safely and important information to be exchanged or relayed.

Due to its dedicated role in governance and interaction with members of the community, other government entities, third party agencies and external suppliers, the nature of the information included in council emails is often of a personal or private nature. The UK and European Union have set laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which demand that data handlers provide adequate security for information on data subjects whether it is being retained in cloud-based storage, shared with interdepartmental personnel or sent to people living with a local authority.

It is understood that as a result of local councils handling sensitive data, coupled with the fact that they provide vital services, they are attractive targets for cybercriminal organisations. Headlines here in the UK have reported repeated attacks on local authority email systems, with threat operators all too aware of the data-rich treasure troves these systems represent.

Read on to examine some powerful protective measures all local authorities should consider for their email systems.

Email control

For GDPR reasons, councils must be able to control how long their data is accessible for and reclaim it when it is sent in error to the wrong address. Local authorities must use an email system that allows them to set a time limit of availability for emails and recall emails when a mistake occurs.

Encryption software can ensure that whether an email is sent in error or a council account system suffers intrusion by cybercriminals, all data remains protected. Only those issued with a decryption key are able to access email body copy and attached documents, creating a premier level of defence against data breaches.

Email access

Councils must use powerful passwords for the email accounts they use. Passwords should be issued by IT admins as staff often favour easier-to-remember credentials over codes that are hard for hackers to crack. Additionally, two-factor authentication should also be activated, adding an additional layer of protection to accounts.

Complete email security with Galaxkey

Our secure email solution from Galaxkey promotes safe data handling via email-based communication. Our user-friendly encryption makes safeguarding emails safe, with this applying to not just the body copy of communications but their attachments as well. Powerful tools such as email recall and time-out are included, along with many other innovative options such as electronic signatures.

While it will be up to you to enforce two-factor authentication and strong passwords at your council offices, our system has been designed to never store any credentials for added security. For a discussion on cybersecurity and a free trial, contact our expert team today.