The Need for Cybersecurity in Municipal Governments Continues to Increase
This past April was a bad month for cybersecurity in local governments. There were multiple reported attacks that led to shutdowns of services, including critical public safety functions. Although municipalities have been targets of cyberattacks previously, both the frequency of the attacks and their consequences have increased. Municipalities increasingly rely on their computer networks to deliver services to their residents, and as they build out “smart city” infrastructure, the impacts of outages are truly felt in the real world.
Municipal Response to Cyberattacks
It’s important to implement good information security practices, and we’ll get to those in a minute, but it’s also important to recognize that you can’t achieve 100 percent security. There will always be a new vulnerability or a gap that you hadn’t yet closed that a bad actor was able to exploit.
Therefore, it’s critical for municipalities to develop an incident response plan to guide their actions if a malware attack causes an outage. This is an extension of your disaster recovery plan; in addition to a strategy for bringing systems back on line, you’ll need a process to identify data that’s been exposed or tampered with, plus a way to minimize the impact on the public.
Defending Against Cyberattacks
Now to those information security practices. The first step is to prevent malware. There are technical steps you should take, such as deploying firewalls and antivirus software, as well as training municipal employees in safe computing practices.
Reduce the impact of attacks by building in redundancy. Standby routers and servers can help prevent an outage. Using cloud also provides redundancy and high availability, either as your primary site or as standby systems.
Achieve Cybersecurity with Help from Prescient Solutions
Prescient Solutions offers cybersecurity solutions to help local governments protect their important data. We implement, monitor, and manage security software including firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and data loss prevention tools. Our layered security services focus on the human element, with features such as DNS services that protect users from dangerous websites, security training, compliance testing and reporting, and recovery services.
Prescient Solutions understands that tight budgets can make it hard for government offices to access technical expertise. Our shared services model allows you to share fixed IT costs with other municipalities, allowing you to obtain the high level of support needed to protect your critical services. Contact us to learn more about how Prescient Solutions can help you implement effective cybersecurity while delivering top-level IT services to your community.