Experts in the tech world are giving their input on what is planned by state and local Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in terms of security for all of today’s technology. For so long, technology has existed and yet the public has taken its security for granted. But, sometime last year, giants of industry like Cisco Systems, have revealed that plans are underway to bring new and better levels of security to the cyber world. According to Britt Norwood, the head of Cisco Systems’ state, local and education sales for the western U.S., it’s time that technology had some real-life applications.[1]

Internet Security

According to Mr. Norwood, the state and local government of the future will rely heavily on technology for its management. From Smart Cities to cloud computing, innovative breakthroughs will change life as we know it. Life will become easier while access to public services will become cheaper and more readily available.

A great example is the Internet of Things. All of our medical devices and appliances are now connected via the IoT. However, these devices are extremely easy to hack and that puts consumers at risk. This reveals our ongoing need to implement stronger cybersecurity measures to protect ourselves. The government, along with the private sector now understands the importance of keeping hackers out of our systems, networks, and databases.

To address these issues, a host of new and radical changes will take place over the next few years. These include four major areas as cited below.

Adoption of the Internet of Things at Community Level

There is no doubt that IoT has had the attention of the public sector for a few years now. Informal discussions on the implementation of IoT applications by the government in delivering services to citizens have been underway. Imagine a situation where parking meters are connected and pricing on parking are determined by the time of day. Or even an application that is able to track buses in real time to give accurate information on wait-times to patrons at bus stops. This would most definitely improve the quality of services delivered to the public.

Each town and city has its own set of unique problems with delivering affordable, reliable city services. Each jurisdiction may adopt its own unique applications according to what suits them best. These applications will definitely make a positive change in the way cities and states are run. But they must include the best security to protect consumers.

Cyber Security Still a Top Priority for Governments

With technological advancement comes increased risk and vulnerability in terms of security. It is very important that the government stays on top of it. It would be of no use to continue investing in digitalization and increasing connectivity without having in place measures to address the issue of data breaches.

That is why for the last four years the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) in their ‘State CIO Ten Priorities for 2017’ report, ranked security and risk concern as a top priority.

According to Yejin Cooke, who is the director of government affairs for NASCIO, security and risk management are not going to lose their importance any time soon. In fact, the public is only now becoming aware of all the threats across the globe that can endanger everything from air flights to ground transportation or satellites. A society cannot operate without knowing for sure that hackers will not have access to our most important sectors.

It is vital to have well-organized and comprehensive cybersecurity plans in order to counter major attacks. Some states like California and Michigan have made milestones in terms of well-laid security plans. They are setting the pace for other states.

Uploading data to Cloud Priority

According to Chip George, NetApp’s senior director of state and local government and education for the U.S. public sector, moving data to the cloud has proven to be a way in which governments are able to deal with financial constraints and legacy technologies. A recent survey by MeriTalk found that 76% of state and local agencies are planning to increase spending on Cloud computing.[2]

State and local governments must also consider their environment so as to adopt a model that best suits them. The Cloud has three models: public, private, and hybrid. Data management can complicate issues if governments resort to relying on multiple cloud management providers.

In addition, George pointed out that, “Agencies must adopt a data fabric, so that data across all cloud environments is seamlessly integrated and managed with the same set of tools, no matter the cloud provider.”

In the future, when governments are trying to evaluate which model suits their needs, they will have to consider these and many other factors dealing with the proper implementation.

Collaboration Tools

Another mechanism that has become highly prioritized across governments is collaboration tools where centralized resources are optimized. By optimizing and centralizing technology, costs are lowered and a more streamlined cyber security platform is installed. Good collaboration tools make sense. They reduce costs. They put everyone on the same page.

Conclusion

Technology is here to stay, but it evolves at a rapid rate. Though this is good on some levels, when it comes to cyber security, the experts have not been able to keep up with the hackers. Cyber thieves must be stopped in order for businesses and governments to improve efficiency in service delivery, cut their costs, and protect consumers from cyber criminals.

[1] https://statetechmagazine.com/article/2017/02/5-priorities-state-and-local-government-technology-year-ahead

[2] https://www.meritalk.com/study/destinationcloud/

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