As technology and hackers become more and more sophisticated, IT security teams have to keep a closer eye on their networks, making sure an electronic attack does not destroy their sites or important data. For state and local government agencies, it is critical that CIOs and other team members understand the security threats, and most importantly, how to keep the IT environments safe.
The question is, are you up to speed on your cyber-security essentials? I recently read an AT&T white paper, titled “Cyber-Security Essentials for State and Local Government” and was able to take away several key points about cyber-security on the state and government level:
· Network and IT Infrastructure Security. A successful attack can cripple a network, compromise sensitive data, attract negative publicity and be costly to remediate. It could lead to fines and civil lawsuits. Guarding your network and IT infrastructure requires vigilance. How can you stay prepared?
o Assess Your Needs
o Assess Your Current Infrastructure
o Classify and Evaluate Data
o Evaluate Security Infrastructure for a Move to the Cloud
· Vulnerability and Threat Management. Vulnerability and threat management requires continuous monitoring, collecting and analysis of security event data. It’s about knowing your infrastructure well, and knowing what attacks could do it harm. It’s looking at trends and identifying new types of attacks.
How can you keep your network safe?
o Proper employee training
o Careful authentication and authorization of those using your network and resources, intrusion detection and prevention
o Proper defense against DDoS attacks
These are just a few pointers. For a more detailed list, be sure to read the complete AT&T white paper here.
There’s been a lot of rumbling about the cloud lately. In a June blog, I pointed out some stats on cloud usage and security issues in the cloud. And in August, TechAmerica Foundation formed a commission of industry experts on cloud adoption.
The Foundation’s commission, or CLOUD2/SLG (for short), was established as a resource for state and local government looking for recommendations on a variety of cloud issues, including procurement practices, delivery of services and deployment. Recommendations provided by CLOUD2/SLG will help municipalities rapidly access and deploy cloud solutions as a way to streamline their IT costs.
An important component missing from CLOUD2/SLG is SLG representation itself. When asked why SLGs weren’t included, TechAmerica officials didn’t have an answer. However, they did create an advisory board of government officials to work with the commission. The list of advisors was announced October 6.
Although the lack of SLG presence might not make sense, it’s good to see a commission that understands the value of cloud computing on the state and local level.
Will your IT costs remain within budget this year? Did they last year? What about the year before?
If your IT spending has not been within budget, you have a problem.
Predictable annual IT spending is possible. Our customers realize it year after year…
I read articles like this that have good recommendations, but I am of the opinion that there is more to it than just the need for policy. Especially when you consider that it is sadly too common for IT to be addressed reactively. Reactive implies neglect.
Neglect in an organization is allowed, or even driven top-down, by the decision makers (the leadership). If the leadership doesn’t feel it is important then it doesn’t get done. It gets neglected. But, when something breaks or is compromised, a rush is made to put out the fires. Therefore, neglect is an intentional decision to put our fires, potentially very costly fires... Following even the most basic of IT best practices will contribute toward a stable IT environment for municipalities and businesses to operate in order to provide their services reliably to customers.
What do you plan to do when your unsupported dated server crashes, no backups work, a virus outbreak is identified (after months), accounting data has been compromised, customer data has been compromised, and yes even an earthquake or devastating storm hits like what has been seen recently up the east coast. Who will your citizens turn to? Who will your customers turn to?
Be intentional, but not negligent…
Anyone would be foolish to say my IT environment is completely safe. But many IT security compromises are the result of not following simple best practices. If you are not giving basic ongoing attention to maintenance, patching, antivirus, antispam, strong passwords, expiring passwords, and the like, then it is just a matter of time before you will be compromised.
Even if you have vendor hosting your websites or a vendor managing your IT systems, ask them the same questions above. Ignore IT best practices and you will be compromised. Ignore IT best practices and who will the citizens be asking “How did my data get stolen and what are you going to do?”
Sophicity today announced its acquisition of Think IT Solutions, Inc., a Microsoft-based network infrastructure consulting firm located in Atlanta, GA. For over 7 years, ThinkIT has provided managed network services and IT support to its clients.
In acquiring ThinkIT, Sophicity will leverage the firm’s experience to bolster its growing Network Infrastructure team. Nathan Eisner, Principal of ThinkIT, will join Sophicity as a Network Manager. Nathan brings with him over 10 years of experience in delivering technology consulting to metro Atlanta businesses in the local government, telecommunications, healthcare, not-for-profit, manufacturing, property management and services industries.
"Acquiring ThinkIT is a great opportunity” said Dave Mims, President of Sophicity. “Sophicity offers an umbrella of technology services to cities, municipal leagues, and businesses. Growing our Network Infrastructure Practice with additional staff and client base is the right move. Nathan brings much to the plate with his technical ability, management experience, and customer relationship skills that will strengthen our team here at Sophicity. "
Established in 2004, Think IT Solutions is the premier provider of information technology services in the Atlanta area. Our staff brings years of experience and a skill set that few IT service providers can match. Above all, we emphasize customer service first and foremost. Visit www.think-itsolutions.com.
Sophicity’s deep expertise provides cities and municipal leagues with the IT consulting services they need to unleash the potential of government IT. Sophicity puts the IT in city. Visit sophicity.com.
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