Security experts speaking at the inaugural V3.co.uk summit this week have raised concerns about Conservative Party proposals to decentralise the government's electronic data storage.
Back in August, the Tories put forward proposals to scrap the government’s centralised Integrated Care Record Service (ICRS), also known as the NHS Spine. The plans involve replacing the controversial technology - which is estimated to have cost the public between £12bn and £20bn - with a system that allows citizens to store their own medical records using online services such as Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health.
However, experts were quick to point out that both centralised and decentralised approaches to data storage had security pros and cons.
Mike Maddison, head of security, privacy and resilience services at consultancy Deloitte, argued that "there are likely to be problems with information quality in this scenario".
"The problem in an info-centric society is that quality is as much of an issue as confidentiality," he added. "When you start putting stuff in the cloud it has huge implications for security.
"Whatever happens in future though, security will be intrinsically part of the way things are managed."
Howard Schmidt, president of the Information Security Forum and a former White House cyber security adviser, said that aggregated data stores have the benefits of being easier to apply policies and controls to as the information is all in one place, but added that this also means you have "a single point of failure and a single target for people to go after".
Schmidt added that a decentralised system such as that proposed by the Tories would avoid these problems but its success would "depend on how well individuals follow the rules".
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