How Local Governments Can Better Combat Cyberattacks?
Attacks on individual, business and even government users are becoming more frequent and threatening as the Internet becomes more integral to economic and national life. With this, state and local governments must start taking significant action to protect themselves from ransomware attacks and other cyber threats. Otherwise, citizens and taxpayers will likely have to endure the costly hardships and denial of services. But, how local governments can protect themselves against cyberattacks?
Local governments oversee many crucial services including:
- water utilities
- public education
- 911 emergency services
- voter databases
- court administration
Many people tend to take these services for granted. but what if you lost access to one of these?
In other words, the effects of those attacks – even in rural areas – can result in significant problems.
Examples of such would include:
- disrupted medical treatment
- exposure of private data in tax databases
- interruption of public transportation
- potential voter fraud
- 911 calls that go unanswered
- water treatment facilities with capped flows
Increasingly Targeted, Continually Unprepared
We have seen a significant increase of cybercrimes in the past years as cybercriminals focused a lot of their attention on local, state and federal governments. For instance, in 2020 alone, 2,400 U.S.-based federal, state and local government entities, healthcare facilities, and schools were victims of ransomware attacks.
Municipal or local governments face an alarming predicament. They are one of the most increasingly targeted sectors yet they have the least capabilities and resources to guard against and respond to ransomware.
As the number of incidents grow, state lawmakers are being more emphatic in introducing legislation to dictate municipal government action in preparing for and dealing with several types of cyberattacks:
- awareness training
- policies & procedures
- forming preparedness task forces
States are progressively proposing new legislation to improve the cybersecurity infrastructure. Soon, new laws and regulations will come down the pipeline. The question is, will local entities take immediate action toward implementation especially if the new mandates are not accompanied by additional funding?
But for the local governments (which number just under 36,000 in the U.S.) that take preventative action, deskside is ready to serve as a trusted partner offering proven pathways for improving cybersecurity posture.
How deskside Can Help
Municipal governments can vary widely in numbers of staff. And even some of the most well-funded organizations might only have a single IT person. Hiring a trusted managed service provider like deskside can help you get the proper systems in place. In return, you will gain access to IT pros for ongoing oversight and training.
Municipal governments have been encountering significant major ransomware-related attacks nowadays. Therefore, It is imperative that they have proper defense in place, so that ransomware attacks can generally be fended off or, at least, limit the scope. We know that government entity can never completely eliminate the possibility of human error that could open a dangerous path. But, deskside can work to design its network so that it doesn’t collapse when those errors occur.
Finally, an increasing number of agencies and local governments are moving their data to the cloud. Although, many are hesitating due to frequent concerns over compliance with federal and state regulations. Thankfully, many cloud services actually do meet or exceed standards for data storage and government applications. deskside can help you establish the best-suited cloud service for your organization’s needs. As long as they are set up correctly and securely, cloud services are typically more reliable and secure than the traditional on-site servers on which many government entities still depend.
As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, the technology that state, county, and municipal governments use needs to be able to (at the very minimum) keep up. It is imperative, whether or not legislation is enacted, for governing authorities to be proactive and establish security protocols and improve their cybersecurity posture. Otherwise, government entities that continue as open targets face the potential of service interruptions, that could have huge impacts on the constituents they serve, as well as costly repairs.
Proper levels of investment in processes and IT would result in significantly fewer cybersecurity incidents, and those incidents which did occur would be less severe, less disruptive and less costly. Contact deskside for an introductory call to discuss what options are available to better protect your organization and your taxpayers.