Municipal IT Needs a Balance Between Security and Transparency

 In Cloud, Cyber Security, Infrastructure Assessment, IT Planning, Mobile, Municipals, Outsourcing

Every municipal IT department has security high on its list of priorities. Breaches at the Internal Revenue Service, Office of Personnel Management, and even the National Security Agency are reminders that government offices hold a treasure trove of personal information about citizens that needs to be kept secure. At the same time, there’s a push for transparency in government. People want to see the inside the inner workings of government, know what data is being collected and how it’s being used. Balancing these conflicting needs is a tough challenge for municipal entities.

Incorporating New Technology While Preserving Security

Cloud

For many municipals, incorporating new technology and improving the level of IT services they provide to residents has been hampered by fears of the associated security risks. The cloud offered a way to make IT more affordable, but many thought the cloud reduced data security.

That’s no longer the case; in fact, many entities find they increase the level of security around their data by migrating to the cloud. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services both offer environments certified to meet the security requirements of the federal government. As municipals find their existing hardware investments reaching end of life, migration to cloud environments is a viable means of increasing IT resources, lowering costs, and improving data security.

Mobile

Municipalities have also been hampered by security concerns in providing the level of services their citizens and employees expect. Today, all data is expected to be accessible on the go. Municipalities need to provide mobile and web apps to provide necessary services to the public and town workers. Once again, there’s a need to balance openness and security. For publicly accessible services, it’s not appropriate to restrict the devices that can connect to the data. For employees using mobile devices as part of their work, municipalities need to define a “bring your own device” policy and implement mobile device management controls to ensure appropriate security.

Big Data and the Internet of Things

In many communities, visions for the future rely on the Internet of Things, smart cities built on the collection of massive amounts of data by small, smart connected devices. But making use of this data raises privacy concerns; not only does the collected data need to be protected, there need to be controls over the data sharing that adds value to the data. And the decisions made by algorithms need to be transparent to ensure that the data doesn’t accidentally recommend decisions based on unacceptable criteria.

Proven Support Achieving Municipal IT Goals

Prescient Solutions is helping municipalities throughout the Midwest and the United States meet their challenges. Our experience lets us draw on a proven playbook of municipal support strategies while still customizing our recommendations to each community’s specific needs. While we draw on remote connectivity to provide 24×7 support, most of our municipal IT services are offered on-site, with Prescient Solutions effectively becoming the municipality’s IT department. Our experienced engineers blend in and serve their assigned communities so well that we’re no longer surprised when they’re nominated as “Employee of the Year” in an organization where they’re not an employee! We also offer a shared services model, where multiple municipalities share the benefits and costs of on-site resources dedicated to their communities.

Helping municipalities solve their IT problems begins with an assessment to identify your systems and infrastructure’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Contact Prescient Solutions for details and start building a technology base that offers your residents both security and transparency.

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