It's no secret that 2019 brought the most cybersecurity attacks targeted at local governmetns than we've seen in years. In the State of Florida alone we witnessed 7 municipalities fall victim to cyber attacks that combined, cost upwards of $2.4 million.
With the ever-changing IT landscape it's no wonder we are seeing deficiencies in government security plans, both known and unknown. So you may ask, what can be done? How can local governments address cybersecurity challenges including new online threats and everyday risks? Well, the answer may be simpler than you expect.
In an article written by Dr. Alan R. Shark, the executive director of the Public Technology Institute, the director provides insights on the 10 Reasons Why Local Governments Should Outsource Their IT Operations;
"Recent ransomware attacks have brought to light many deficiencies in digital hygiene that have exposed system deficiencies regarding system recovery let alone preventing the attack in the first place. Certainly there are cities and counties that are performing extremely well in meeting the growing challenges of security, modernization, innovations, and lending edge applications, however far too many are living with serious deficiencies.
Given the growing complexities of planning and maintaining technology as well as having the right staff, many local governments might be much better off outsourcing some or all of their IT operations.
Public managers can no longer accept the rationale from their direct reports that 'I am doing the best job I can..'"
Here are only a few of the reasons Dr. Shark notes as to why it would benefit local government to outsource their IT operations;
- Staff Turnover - By outsourcing your IT operations you no longer have to deal with the additional challenges of replacing staff members as well as the knowledge and experience that leaves with the staff member when they walk out the door.
- Inability To Pay Higher Salaries - Highly trained technology staff command much higher salaries in the private sector making it difficult to maintain and recruit stable technicians on a local governments given budget.
- Lack of Training & Resources - Training IT staff members can get very costly and absorb a great deal of time. By outsourcing IT operations, you get a staff of fully-trained, experienced and certified technicians who continue to grow their knowledge & certifications at no additional costs to you.
- Aging Infrastructure - "Too many local governments are beginning to realize that deferred equipment upgrades turn out to be costlier in the long run. The notion that 'if it isn't broke why fix it?' is no longer valid. Aging equipment has become a huge problem and it goes beyond the technology staff" Shark says.
- Cybersecurity Challenges - Compliance along cannot solve the ever-growing threats that governments are facing. Many agencies avoid appointing a senior staff member to cybersecurity due to the costs or because "we are too small", meanwhile new cyberthreats & every day risks continue to grow.
- Failures In Scope & Scale - Local Governments face an overriding issue when it comes to technology scope, scale and staff competencies. Technology is expensive to operate and maintain and many question if every government entity should own its own systems and equipment.
At the end of the day, outsourcing your IT operations seems like a win-win for local governments; predictable IT costs, highly-trained & experienced engineers, experts to ensure your security strategy is robust and up to date with the constantly-changing IT infrastructure and more! Seems like a no-brainer, right?