Keeping Government Offices Safe from Online Threats

man holding out a web browser

The proper management of government offices is crucial to maintaining the smooth delivery of state and federal functions. One mistake can lead to circumstances that easily spiral out of control. Think of data protection, for instance. Government institutions hold critical information whose leakage could compromise the integrity of the said offices.

With our increasing reliance on technology, chances are this critical data are in the cloud, susceptible to the nefarious intentions of cybercriminals. This is where cybersecurity comes in. This is one aspect of government office management where you cannot cut corners. The consequences of doing so are dire. If you are in charge of a government office, here is how you can avoid the risk of falling prey to hackers.

Have relevant policies in place

It all begins with policy. You cannot expect people to follow protocols or procedures if they are not clearly written on paper and actively disseminated throughout the organization. Start with a simple policy about employees’ online activities.

Here you could be shooting two birds with one stone. You enforce prohibitions on the websites employees can visit during work hours and while using official computers, thus preventing the risk of them inadvertently allowing viruses and malware into the office’s computer system. You also curb the problem of employees slacking off during work hours. Supplement this strategy with password, email, and data encryption policies.

Employee training

So you have successfully come up with relevant policies. And you’ve communicated them to your entire team too. The next order of business is helping your employees better understand and apply those policies on the ground.

This is where training comes in. Keep in mind that not all of your employees are tech wizards. You probably have boomers in your organization who might be less techy compared to their younger colleagues. Be proactive and address that knowledge gap by conducting cybersecurity sessions. You can devote a few hours for a couple of days in a workweek to achieve this goal.

people working at the office

Reliable archiving process

You want to be able to retrace what happened in case of a data breach. You want to pinpoint how the incident might have started. This is why an archiving system is of the essence. For instance, if your office employs a collaboration tool such as Yammer, you need a Microsoft archiving system that allows you to look back into the online activities of your employees. That way, you can conduct a fair and thorough investigation in case of a data breach or any system compliance issues, for that matter.

Enhanced cybersecurity system

Do not settle with your old school cybersecurity system. Request for sufficient budget to buff up or overhaul your existing infrastructure. This is an investment worth every penny. Remember that a data breach can be worth large sums of money. You do not want to risk it.

Also, there are many possible entry points for cyberattacks, including apps, cloud, and networks, among others. These risks call for an aggressive system that leaves no stone unturned. Start with data encryption, for example. If you can, employ the latest technology in cybersecurity.

Follow a strict digital maintenance schedule

You have a regular maintenance schedule for your HVAC system. Your custodian cleans your physical office every day. Your digital office should be regarded with the same level of attention and scrutiny. Do not wait for a problem to happen before you check the integrity of your cybersecurity infrastructure.

Ideally, you have IT people on the team who oversees your infrastructure daily. If not, at least outsource to a reliable IT services provider. Whichever route you choose, your goal is never to be complacent. At the back of your mind, you should always think that your office could be the next victim of a cyberattack. And you do not want that to happen.

Digital security is a team effort. It is not solely the responsibility of management. Nor is a data breach the sole accountability of an office’s digital security team. You should have everyone on board when it comes to your goal of intensified data protection.

The practices enumerated in the list above cover all the bases, from the management’s responsibility of putting clear policies to the cooperation of all organization members down to rank and file employees. Following these practices will ensure that your defenses extend throughout all possible entry points, making it hard for cybercriminals to penetrate the cybersecurity fortress you’ve built. Remember that a huge data mistake can start from a seemingly innocuous spam email clicked by one unsuspecting employee.

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