A Guide to Local Government Cybersecurity: How to Protect Your Sensitive Data

employee looking at plans for local government cybersecurity

If you work in local government, you know that you have a responsibility to protect the sensitive data that you work with. However, with rapid developments in the tech world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of all the latest cyber threats.

Fortunately, you have the power to fight back against cybercriminals. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of government cybersecurity and provide actionable steps for local governments to adopt to protect their data.

The Cybersecurity Threats Facing Local Governments

Local governments are a prime target for cyber attacks—they have vast amounts of data that can be used for identity theft and financial gain. They also struggle with a lack of resources to fully secure their systems. In 2022, the government/military was the second largest target in a year that saw record-breaking levels of cybercrime.

Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to attack local governments, including but not limited to:

  • Social engineering
  • Phishing attacks
  • Malware attacks
  • Ransomware
  • System vulnerabilities
  • Third-party risks

If you’re struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing cyber landscape, it’s time to start beefing up your government’s cybersecurity measures.

Best Practices For Government Cybersecurity

There are several strategies that local governments can implement to protect their data and systems. Here are some cybersecurity best practices for local governments:

1. Audit Your Data

Start by auditing your current data security systems. This will give you an overview of any areas that need to be improved or updated, allowing you to adjust your cybersecurity measures accordingly. Once you’ve identified any potential risks, you can start to take steps to mitigate them.

2. Find Vulnerabilities and Eliminate Them

Vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers to gain access to your systems. Make sure you’re regularly scanning for vulnerabilities and patching any software or hardware that could be vulnerable. If you fail to keep up with the latest threats, you’ll be at risk of attack.

3. Train Your Employees on Cybersecurity

Social engineering is one of the biggest threats to local governments, so your employees must understand the risks and how to these attempts. Provide regular training on cybersecurity best practices and make sure everyone in your organization understands their role in keeping data secure.

4. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an essential layer of security. It requires users to provide two or more pieces of identification to access systems, making it much harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access. Make sure you’re implementing MFA on all your systems, and consider using a secure password manager.

5. Take Measures to Prevent Vulnerabilities

Don’t just detect and monitor threats—take steps to prevent them in the first place. Make sure you’re using the latest cyber protection tools, such as antivirus and anti-malware software, web application firewalls, and intrusion detection systems. These tools can help protect your data from being compromised.

6. Hire a Managed Service Provider

Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the task of managing your government’s cybersecurity measures, consider hiring a managed service provider who has experience working with government cybersecurity. These experts can help you establish robust cybersecurity protocols while freeing up your time and resources.

Protect Your Data: Partner With Unity IT

At Unity IT, we specialize in government cybersecurity—we understand the unique challenges that local governments face and have the experience needed to help you create a secure cyber environment. We offer a range of services to help you protect your data, including managed security services, risk assessments, vulnerability scans, and more.

Contact Unity IT today to learn how we can help you improve your government’s cybersecurity measures. Together, we can keep your constituents’ sensitive data safe.