While enterprises and world governments have long been targets of cybercriminals, local authorities are fast becoming a sought-after victim for attacks. Often lacking the same defensive capabilities, training for personnel and security budgets available to larger entities, they present a more vulnerable – and therefore more accessible – target.
In the next sections, we’ll discuss the core areas local councils must concern themselves with if they wish to stand strong in the face of cybercrime and provide adequate security to the people and data they protect within their community.
Understand the threats presented
Ignorance is no longer an acceptable excuse for the failure to take appropriate measures to secure systems and confidential information. Here in the UK, both the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have outlined the potential threats facing firms and local government offices required to safeguard data in great detail. From numerous pages explaining the different types of attacks on their dedicated websites to warnings urging operations of the latest threats on the cybersecurity landscape, local councillors and business leaders can keep themselves well informed.
Understanding potential risks is the first step to being able to counter them effectively.
Establish a security first approach
It is understood by cybersecurity professionals that users are often the weakest element in any protective measures. From a lack of training and understanding of security protocols to simple accidents and unsecure passwords, users have historically been responsible for numerous data breaches around the world.
To combat this, local authorities must present a united front against cybercrime. This means that, from the leading councillors making decisions regarding budgets and protocols to support staff dealing with members of the public and conducting admin, all personnel must be aware of the importance of cybersecurity and their role in defending data held on subjects.
Adopt appropriate measures
The local authorities of today are currently facing more cyber risks than ever before. Our reliance on digital solutions to store private data and provide personalised services to often vulnerable members of the community has made local governments an increasing target for ransomware operators, hackers and other malicious actors.
While 10 years ago, the subject of cybersecurity was considered a specialised and technical one, today, every member of local government must understand it, along with the part they must play. By defining cybersecurity as an essential workforce issue and taking it seriously, local governments can take steps to mitigate risks.
From employee awareness training and strong password protocols to penetration testing, there are many preventative measures councils can take. A wealth of technical solutions is also essential to support staff efforts, such as multi-factor authentication, data encryption software and electronic signatures.
Step up cybersecurity today
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