The threat of cyber attacks, security breaches, and other cyber incidents can keep managers and IT directors awake at night. And the threat is so real that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
The purpose is not only to encourage awareness and engagement but to call attention to the tools and resources DHS offers for the public and private sectors to promote online safety and increase national resiliency in the event of a cyber incident.
ICMA is promoting awareness, too. This year, in partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, ICMA surveyed local governments about their cybersecurity experiences and practices. Among the topics covered:
- Cybersecurity staffing
- Types of cyberattacks reported
- Policies, practices, and tools local governments employ to improve cybersecurity
- Barriers to improvement.
Watch for a report of survey findings. Meanwhile, ICMA is collecting cybersecurity resources and will use the survey results to help expand our offerings. Check these out:
- Cybersecurity: What’s Your Risk? Six questions managers should ask.
- Cybercrime @ City Hall. A PM magazine article discussing steps a local government can take to prevent data breaches and protect the community.
- Technology at the Administrator's Side: Empowerment or Security Risk? This article by Dr. Costis Toregas for the National Association of County Administrators (NACA) discusses the technology tools that make the public administrator's job easier--and provides cautions about the security risks each one presents.
- Cyber Security: Developing Threats. Another article from NACA highlights several ransomware attacks on government websites.
- Cybersecurity for Local Governments. This webinar, presented May 30, 2013, is available on CD-ROM.
- Local Government Guide to Cyber Security. Guidance for local appointed and elected officials.
- New Resource: Cyber Disruption Response Planning Guide. Resources provided by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), equally useful at the local level.
- How You Can Protect Your Community from Getting Cyber Hacked. See the quick reference checklist for cybersecurity tasks.
- Cyber Disruption Response Planning Checklist. An expanded checklist is drawn from the NASCIO guide.
Cybersecurity is an important, continually evolving challenge for local governments. Protect your organization and your residents by staying aware and staying informed.