Cyberthreats to government agencies are increasing in volume and sophistication, making it very difficult to keep up with the ever-changing cybersecurity needs and strict compliance mandates required of government agencies. More than ever, our economic vitality, national security and even our daily lives depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace.
The best step you can take to make sure your office’s sensitive data is protected is to get ahold of CIT. We are a local IT company that serves a wide variety of city, county and state agencies like yours. That is why we’ve put together this quick checklist to help you get everyone in the office on the same page with IT security.
Handy Checklist for Government Agencies in need of Cybersecurity
While CIT can lock down your devices and IT systems, one of the most common methods hackers use to get into your system and steal your sensitive data is by phishing. Getting your employees working together to be aware of phishing is the next best thing to hiring CIT to secure your information and digital systems.
1. Use secure passwords and change them often!
Protecting your networks, customer information, online banking and social media. To have the best practice in secure passwords:
- Use strong passwords, like those created from any online password randomizer
- Consider using multi-factor authentication
- Change passwords every 60-90 days
- Consider using a password manager
- Never post your password in the view of other people.
2. Back up your data and prepare for disaster recovery
One thing linking fires, floods, explosions or natural disasters is their unpredictability. Another commonality to unforeseen disasters is, they have the capability to completely destroy systems that contain valuable information. Backing up your data is the best way to protect your agency from data loss due to damaged servers or malicious code such as ransomware.
The ability to restore or recover your data from frequent and current data backups and a disaster recovery plan will help save valuable information. We recommend you begin a process of automated backups to fully and securely copy your data, preferably on a server in an offsite location. The data you replicate and save in these backups should be easily accessed and up to date. Periodically check to make sure your backups are occurring as scheduled.
3. Encrypt Your Data
Many people don’t realize how much sensitive information is on our laptops, smartphones and USB drives. An even more surprising amount of confidential, sensitive information could be found in almost any of the documents commonly stored on these devices such as spreadsheets and PDF files, emails, documents, and scanned images. Encrypting your data is the best way to protect your sensitive information.
Encrypting your data is so useful that even many federal and state regulations consider data encryption as a “safe harbor.” This means if a mobile device is lost or stolen and the data on that device is properly encrypted, local laws would not require the incident to be reported.
4. Employee Security Training
Every agency’s security protocols are only as secure as its weakest link. Employees who understand the risks to sensitive information and the threat of data breaches are one of the best defenses to preventing phishing and ransomware from getting into your systems.
Proper security training involves more than just being on the lookout for phishy emails and attachments, and phishing websites. A savvy culture of IT security takes a bit of research to stay current to new scams and the creative attacks every day, and staff should be made aware of these scams.
5. Hire CIT to protect your state or federal agency’s sensitive data around the clock
CIT partners with AlienVault™ – an industry leading Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tool to help agencies like yours comply with cybersecurity guidelines and stop hackers before they hack. When it comes to cybersecurity, we have the solutions to protect your privates.
Hackers love going after government and public safety agencies because they are rich in valuable data and often do not have the budgets to protect themselves as vigilantly as businesses in the private sector. That’s why you need CIT, a local IT company that serves a wide variety of city, county and state agencies like yours.
With over three decades of experience and industry-leading partners like AlienVault™, we can help you stay safe and compliant. BCA or CJIS questions? SOC 2® audit? We have your back. CIT will help your data stay secure — so your agency can focus on serving your community.