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Creating a Culture of Security

Dr. Eugene Slobodzian

Recently, I had the pleasure of the speaking at the 2016 Maine Municipal Conference at the Augusta Civic Center on the subject of ‘Building a Culture of Security.’ I focused my presentation on the real cyber security threats that municipal offices undoubtedly face and addressed the most useful controls to minimize risk.

A municipality often hosts a variety of sensitive information – contact information, social security number as well as other personal information on its citizens. It’s not always quite clear what is public or private and what should be considered sensitive information. Because of this, it’s important that municipalities protect their organization and stay secure.

During this presentation, I discussed the top threats to municipalities. Equipment failure is still a number one concern and a failed disk is more likely to cause havoc for an organization than any kind of malicious activity. Malware (software that is intended to compromise computer systems) is still the number one malicious threat. Insider threat is another form of attack that municipalities cannot ignore, as employees that may have access to large amounts of data could pose a significant risk.

How can municipalities’ best protect themselves from these types of attacks? Here are the top ways to remain secure:

  1. Backups -- Reliable backups are extremely important. Without a proven, tested backup, you can be in deep trouble. There are many options for backup solutions, and Winxnet has a very strong recommended solution.
  2. Security Training – It’s very important that your organization provide frequent training sessions for employees. This training will improve security culture and reduce the probability of successful attacks.
  3. Updates – Mobile devices, applications, MS Windows and network equipment. Where possible, make sure they are set for auto update so you don’t have to worry about manually updating.
  4. Antivirus – There is no excuse for not having antivirus. The Winxnet Managed Services team has recommended tools and various levels of management.
  5. Filtering – Filtering can be expensive or cheap depending on the level you choose. For a basic and inexpensive level, you can set web browser filters and will control what you can and cannot access. You can set company-wide filters so your employees aren’t able to access malicious sites.
  6. Passwords -- No excuse for having a weak password. Use reputable password management tools to help avoid password reuse.

These are just a few things your municipality can do to be more secure. If you feel as though your organization is not where you need to be from a security standpoint, it’s time for a conversation with our Managed Security Services team.

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