cloudPWR Confidence: Winning Budget for Cybersecurity
The pace of change in the world is only accelerating as software upgrades and updates crowd our inboxes. But keeping up with the pace of change is hampered by dwindling state, county and local resources. Remote work exposes security vulnerabilities, as ever more sophisticated cyber attackers seek to exploit aging security defenses. I want to offer some foundational tips to ensure that we not only access our inboxes, but that our .gov sites and the sensitive information collected is secure, even on a reduced budget.
Our team at cloudPWR has ensured we meet and exceed security standards throughout our decade of serving government agencies. We’re not bashful about applying innovative solutions which offer additional layers of security to avoid anything approaching the catastrophic cybersecurity failures like the Solarwinds hack first reported late last year. We also know what government agency decision-makers will face when attempting to meet the expanding cybersecurity threat.
Two opposing factors will meet head-on in the year ahead. They often do in state and county government. According to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) the top strategy and management process priority for state CIOs in 2021 is cybersecurity. That’s one factor. The next factor is reduced budgets, exacerbated by COVID-19.
THE BUDGET BATTLE
The year ahead presents states with two likely paths: debt financing or deep cuts. According to The Olympian, State of Washington Governor Jay Inslee is proposing borrowing to infuse the state with an ‘extra-large’ budget to fund nearly $6.2 billion in new projects. As Jed Pressgrove writes in GovTech, Texas CIOs are asking for a Texas-sized budget for cybersecurity of nearly $1 billion dollars. Not all states are so inclined to induce borrowed money into the budget.
The State of Hawaii is cutting more than $200 million in funding from its education budget alone. What is true in both scenarios is that precious resource allocation in the budget cycle ahead will receive exceptional scrutiny.
Still, we know this is no time to let our guard down and allow malicious actors to disrupt the business of the government. We were encouraged to see The State of Washington Auditors Office release a request for proposals seeking pre-qualified vendors to provide security assessment services to state and local government agencies.
BUILD YOUR CASE
The trending term in government budgets this year, I believe, should be value. As a cloud-based case management software partner for government agencies working with public records requests and Freedom of Information Act compliance, we’re advocates for the strongest cybersecurity without the sticker shock.
Here’s your checklist as you search for an appropriate cybersecurity partner that helps you win the budget battle:
- Highly experienced security and compliance team
o TIP: Ensure experience of your team is measured in decades not just years.
- Ensure the platform and all processes exceed the strictest cybersecurity requirements of government in the cloud.
o TIP: Avoid hardware solutions which become outdated rapidly, and make sure solutions are cloud-based, which offers instant updates and redundant layers of security.
- Check to make sure cybersecurity defenses exist for mobile devices as well as servers and for all services
o TIP: Make sure SSL encryption is used at rest as well as during the transmittal of data.
- Fair practices on budget
o TIP: See if, like cloudPWR, your vendor candidate accommodates price shifts to help those in government meet their budgets. Be sure to understand if there will be further or hidden costs down the road.
At cloudPWR we have the confidence to advocate for the value we offer, and believe strict and industry-leading cybersecurity protection should not come at a price that exceeds most local, county and state budgets. We want to ensure our government agency partners have the blueprints through the tips above to advocate for the digital transformation agencies need in order to have the peace of mind they can serve the community well, securely and efficiently.