Protecting your data and the data of your constituents should be an issue of the highest priority for state and local agencies alike. Your agency has access to highly personal and sensitive information like phone numbers, payment information, and even social security numbers, and you are legally required to impose strict security standards across the board to protect this information. That said, ensuring compliance is only the first step to true security in the digital age, where new threats evolve every day.
If you’re ready to go the extra mile, here are some additional steps your agency can take to ensure data security:
Identify Your Most Valuable Data
Do you know what the most valuable data in your organization is? Could you quickly isolate that data and protect it in the event of a data breach? Knowing what your most important data is and taking essential steps to protect it are fundamental elements of ensuring the security of your agency. All data should be protected, of course, but knowing what’s most important ensures that should a breach occur, you will be able to quickly take steps to protect what matters most—as well as securing it behind additional layers of security.
Plan Ahead with Security In Mind
You know the basics of cybersecurity, but it’s time to take things a step further. Every decision you make should be analyzed through the lens of data security. Who really needs access to that sensitive new data? For those who do need to access it, will it be protected during transmission? And do you really know who has access to your network? If you employ remote workers, how are they accessing the tools and data they need to do their jobs—and how do you know their devices and networks are secure?
These are the sorts of questions it is essential for CIOs and IT leaders of any agency to ask themselves every step of the way. The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and so are the threats concealed within. It’s essential to think two or three steps ahead to prevent security breaches before they occur.
Create A Plan—And Enforce the Policies
So, you’ve developed a data security plan that takes into consideration all the potential threats you can imagine—now, the next step is to enforce the policies you’ve created. Passwords should be kept up to the highest standards, networks carefully protected, and no devices left unlocked. Additionally, no employee should have access to anything they don’t need to access in order to do their job. By controlling access to data, you lessen the possibility of an internal breach. Create your own internal policies and plans for data security—and then check in regularly to make sure they’re being enforced across the board.
As a government agency, protecting your data from cybercriminals is of utmost importance. Take steps to protect your agency and your constituents by ensuring that your agency is prepared to fight off potential threats and protect sensitive data. If you’re a state or local agency and you need someone to help you through this process to ensure security on all fronts, don’t hesitate to contact us today.