Local government organizations are responsible for providing essential services to their communities, and must ensure that their IT infrastructure is secure so they can protect citizens’ data responsibly. Here are seven key steps local government officials should take to secure their IT infrastructure:

1. Implement Comprehensive Strategy

A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy should include robust security awareness training, effective policies and procedures for managing data and systems, risk management programs, and monitoring tools to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats.

2. Ensure Proper Authentication

Authentication techniques such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and two-factor authentication (2FA) are critical for all accounts, particularly those with administrative access. Implementing strong authentication systems can help ensure only authorized users gain access to sensitive areas of the IT infrastructure.

3. Protect Network Perimeters

Network perimeters should be defended through firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and other security tools. These should be constantly monitored and updated to prevent attacks from malicious actors.

4. Limit Attack Vectors

Ensuring that IT systems are not exposed to the internet reduces attack surface areas, limiting the potential attack vectors available to criminals. Implementing virtual private networks (VPNs) can also help reduce risk by allowing employees to securely connect remotely.

5. Monitor & Respond Quickly

It’s important that IT teams have tools in place to monitor the security of their infrastructure and quickly respond to any threats or vulnerabilities. Systems should be regularly scanned for weaknesses and monitored for suspicious activity, so that any malicious actors can be identified and addressed quickly.

6. Use Secure Software Development Practices

Critical IT infrastructure should be built using secure development practices, such as following the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) guidelines and ensuring that all code is tested thoroughly before deployment. This will reduce the risk of vulnerabilities being exploited by malicious actors.

7. Review & Update Regularly

It’s important to review and update IT security practices on a regular basis. Systems should be monitored for changes, and new threats or weaknesses should be addressed promptly. Regular audits of the IT infrastructure can help identify any areas of concern and ensure that the environment remains secure.

By staying aware of cybersecurity best practices, local governments can ensure their IT infrastructure is properly protected and secure. In the event of a breach, taking steps to improve security can help to limit the damage caused and prevent future incidents from occurring. With the right strategies in place, local governments can protect their critical IT infrastructure.