Why the Government Must Improve Its Cybersecurity Measures
The government has a lot to deal with on a daily basis — but the threats are no longer just found on the streets and on international waters. In today’s world, the next disaster can be digital in form. And if the government doesn’t do anything about cybersecurity threats, the public will be put in harm’s way.
Even if there are no threats, the government should invest more in cybersecurity measures. A workforce that doesn’t have to worry about any hacking attempts can focus on their tasks and remain efficient. It’s going to cost a bit at the start, but this will help the government save a lot of money in the long run.
A well-managed IT department ensures that employees know all about the software they use. Likewise, sufficient funds should help government offices get the best IT equipment. They do not have to stick to outdated operating systems and power-hungry hardware components.
Better cybersecurity means that the IT equipment is acquired with security in mind. The software should have reliable security features built within them. The fewer the programs, the easier it is for employees to understand how to operate them and not create vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.
A Ton of Personal Information
It’s a known fact that government agencies collect the data of each and every person in the country. Thus, hackers have a lot to gain from targetting the big organizations. They get access to everything from names to addresses and the social security numbers of tens of millions of people.
A successful hacking attempt alone is a bad thing — but what if recipients were high-profile terrorist groups or other national governments? The consequences could get more catastrophic depending on who gets hold of all the information. Simply put, cybersecurity is a matter of national security.
People can argue whether WikiLeaks is a criminal or heroic organization, but the fact is that it shows just how unprepared the government is for data leaks. And when there is uncertainty, there is political turmoil; everyone knows about the email scandal that haunted the last U.S. presidential election.
An Increasing Number of Devices
There are millions of civil servants working for the U.S. government. There are already cybersecurity threats looming even if they use government computers. But the problem now is that more and more devices are used to access government software and manage public records.
What are the implications? The more devices an employee uses, the more opportunities there are for hackers to steal data. It’s convenient for employees to use their own laptops and smartphones, but this means more cybersecurity troubles. Worse, what if they do their work using public wifi networks?
One way the government can allow employees to work outside the office is if they are required to use a VPN. This creates an encrypted tunnel — enabling the secure exchange of data even if one connects to a public network. Plus, it’s not difficult to teach them how to speed up VPN without seeking IT assistance.
If the government hopes to keep its citizens safe at all times, it must not take cybersecurity lightly. Thus, it should invest not only on better IT equipment but also on educating the workforce about practical yet crucial cybersecurity measures.