Photos: Staff of the IRD recently completed the Cyber Safe Training Programme.
Government invests heavily in cyber safety training
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Now that 105 staff members from the St. Kitts end of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) have completed a week-long workshop on cybersecurity, they are now better equipped to deal with the threat of hacking.
The Oct. 19-26 workshop was facilitated by Pierre Bowrin, information and communications technology (ICT) policy adviser of the Department of Technology and the instructor for the Civil Servants Cyber Safe Programme. He focused on a number of topics, including identifying the need for security, securing devices and using the internet securely.
“It’s a Cyber Safe Programme that seeks to empower them to prepare them if there are any challenges that they may come across in regards to strange-looking emails or strange data request that try to get information from them,” said Bowrin. “They were given tips and tools… knowing that the tax information that they have is very important, and also knowing that certain unauthorized [people] may be very well wanting to get access to this data.”
The course instructor said that other ministries and departments in government are being considered to receive the same training.
“[During] the past few months, we have realized that it is also important to empower civil servants so that they be a part of the total apparatus that is needed to protect the government’s data,” he said. “What we have found is that those areas in the public service where critical data are being captured and stored often times are the ones that are being targeted. And I should say [that] the goal is not just to stop at the Inland Revenue Department, the goal is to expose every civil servant to this training.”
He explained that a training of this nature is extremely important to the government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis, and noted that a number of measures are being put in place to safeguard against hacking.
“Every day, we try to ensure that the technology is upgraded and if there is additional equipment that is needed, that it is employed at the various places where critical data are stored,” said Bowrin, adding that the government has invested heavily in the equipment stored and running at the IRD, Her Majesty’s Excise and Customs Department, the Treasury and the hospital.
“In all of these areas where there are critical data, we are constantly employing as much top-of- the-line equipment and software as possible,” he said. “In addition, we are also training employees to make sure that we have competent, credentialed [people] on staff who can deal with that. So, that combination of investment constantly goes on to ensure that we have competent [people] and we have the most up-to-date equipment that is necessary.”
Bowrin said that, hopefully, more people will be trained in November 2017.