Local Government Cyber Security Part II: Developing a Cyber Security Response for Local and Regional Governments

In last week’s blog “Cyber Security Risk: a Growing Concern for Local and Regional Government,” we discussed the challenges local and regional governments are facing when it comes to cyber security. It’s a challenge that public sector organizations are facing on a daily if not hourly basis.

But what can small cities and counties do to mitigate their risk? At Tolar Systems, we’ve developed a three-pronged approach that can help. Learn more on today’s blog.

Why is Cyber Security Challenging for Local Government?

A recent survey of local government officials by the University of Maryland found that while top managers in local government are aware that cyber security is a major challenge for their organizations, other groups and stakeholders are considerably less aware and supportive of cyber security initiatives.

Survey respondents cited a number of reasons that make cyber security challenging for local governments. Among those reasons:

  • Insufficient staff: 20 percent
  • Lack of funding: 16 percent
  • Lack of end user accountability: 35 percent
  • Lack of end user training: 51 percent
  • Too many IT networks and systems to adequately protect: 66 percent

Each of these issues can be addressed cost effectively through a managed approach to IT and cyber security.

A Three-Pronged Approach to Cyber Security

Effective cyber security for local and regional governments and municipalities must focus on three key areas: prevention, protection and response.

Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

At Tolar, we strongly believe in the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And never was that more true than when it comes to cybersecurity.

Prevention is truly the key to cyber security for local and regional governments because cyber attacks can often be prevented through a combination of effective user training, identity and password management, and infrastructure management that are intended to eliminate the most common “attack vectors” or methods criminals use to gain access to your organization’s network.

Detection and Protection

The second, equally important area of focus is protection, via monitoring for threats and locking cyber criminals out of your organization’s systems. However, this is sometimes easier said than done. Cyber criminals are always seeking to stay one step ahead of these protective efforts by developing new infiltration methods and attack vectors.

That’s why effective cyber security efforts include technology components such as domain name system filtering, to prevent access by known criminal entities; firewall management to ensure your technology and infrastructure is able to withstand attack; intrusion detection to speed up response times and prevent unauthorized access to systems and data; vulnerability scanning to determine in advance what weaknesses exist in your systems, plus making sure that antivirus and malware protection are always up-to-date.

Response Should Be Planned in Advance

The third prong of effective cyber security efforts for local and regional governments and municipalities centers around having an effective response plan. As last year’s ransomware attack on the City of Baltimore highlighted, a knee jerk response (i.e., “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”) may not be the best approach if your organization has not weighed the value of your data within the organization, or adequately considered the potential costs associated with recovering any lost data. Furthermore, many cyber attacks move very quickly, with little time for effective decision making in the moment.

That’s why, especially for local public sector organizations – who owe a duty to effectively manage taxpayer dollars while dealing with more limited resources as compared to Fortune 500 corporations, or even Federal and State entities – a managed, best-practices based approach and pre-planned response strategy may be the best way to ensure that your organization has the tools it needs to respond in the increasingly likely event that you’re faced with a potentially damaging cyber attack.

Tolar Systems Complete Security: Effective Cyber Security for Local Governments

As one of Central and West Texas’ most trusted MSP’s serving local governments, Tolar Systems delivers proactive cybersecurity prevention, protection and response services.

Through our Complete Security and Complete Care managed security and managed IT solutions, we help make your business a “hard target” by monitoring and managing your security at the network, user and device level. Our goal? To prevent, mitigate and respond to security events that could affect your organization.

Our approach includes device management, user education, dark web monitoring and more – all with the goal of preventing, detecting and responding effectively to cyber threats, so that your organization can continue serving constituents with little or no downtime, and reducing the risk of a costly data breach or loss.

Tolar Systems’ Complete Security for Public Sector includes:

  • User training
  • Identity/password management
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Domain name system filtering
  • Managing firewalls
  • Intrusion detection
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Anti-virus and anti-malware services
  • And much more

If your organization is ready to step up your approach to cyber security, contact Tolar Systems today for a complete solution for your IT support and cybersecurity needs.