Cities and towns handle sensitive information that needs protecting. Cities and towns also have very tight budgets. This combination makes finding adequate cybersecurity safeguards, tools, and training difficult. Cybersecurity is an area that can’t afford to be done halfway, especially for municipalities. However, many feel that the cost of obtaining adequate cybersecurity is just too high on a municipalities shoestring budget. Fortunately, cybersecurity is becoming increasingly more affordable. Executech is an IT outsourcing company who works with over 80 municipalities of every size to provide cutting-edge cybersecurity customized to meet the unique needs of cities and towns. Here are some of the basic cyber threats facing municipalities and how you can better protect your city or town.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is constantly in the news. New tools and protections are constantly developed to protect against cyber threats, but hackers are also constantly finding new ways to access information.
In general, cybersecurity is defined as the technology, practices, and techniques that keep online data secure. Today we see more threats than ever against our digital identities. New kinds of viruses, malware, and ransomware are spread across the internet. And more than ever we see cities and towns of every size becoming victims to hackers and criminals.
What is Malware?
Malware is a type of software that can infect your computer. It’s a little different from viruses because it typically doesn’t spread like viruses do. When your computer gets infected with malware, you’ll often see unfamiliar pop-ups on your desktop or browser. Your browser will go to pages that you didn’t want. You may end up with extra plugins in your browser or desktop. All of these things are considered malware, they’re not necessarily destructive but they are invasive and annoying.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a newer kind of cybersecurity threat. It’s a hybrid between a virus and malware. Ransomware can be extremely destructive. Ransomware encrypts all of your files upon infection. No file is safe and files such as Word documents, pictures, QuickBooks files and more can all fall victim. The software will then encrypt the data with a very long passkey and that information will be locked away. There will usually be a popup or notice that demands payment for the data to be released. Cities and towns are usually left with few options when they get hit with ransomware. Municipalities often end up paying large fees to the criminals to have their data released.
Steps to Protect You From Cyber Threats
The number one solution for preventing loss or corruption of business data is backups. A lot of municipalities still don’t have thorough backups in place. At Executech, we make sure every client has complete and robust backups. We see it as so important that we call backups the “holy grail” of computing. You are best protected against cyber attacks by creating constant backups. If criminals lock your data, you can simply revert back to the previous day’s backup.
The second best way to protect your city or town is through software. Programs like Sophos, Sonicwall, Symantec, and Microsoft Azure all have great features that help to keep you safe. Each program listed above has different options and features that can be customized to your needs. Executech technicians are experts in cybersecurity and working with municipalities to find a solution that works for their individual needs and budgets.
The final key to protecting your municipality is educating your staff. Most cyber breaches occur due to employee error. All employees need to be trained on cybersecurity in order to protect your organization. Executech technicians are able to train your staff in safe cyber practices, and we also have online courses that can assist in teaching and training.
Your Local Cybersecurity and IT experts
At Executech, we constantly work to protect cities and towns against these kinds of threats. We’ve seen first hand what can happen if they are caught unprepared. Organizations big and small have lost years of data, thousands of dollars of revenue, and some have had to shut down completely after a cyber attack. It’s critical that cities and towns take cyber threats seriously and take the appropriate precautions to protect against them.
At Exectuech, we work with over 80 cities and towns throughout the western United States. We are experts at working with municipalities and their unique needs and tight budgets. We know the threats that face municipalities and we know how to protect against them. Also, we can help your city or town comply with legal cyber requirements that apply to municipalities and much more.
During the assessment, the technician will evaluate your current strengths and vulnerabilities and provide suggestions of how you can tighten your security.