Mind the Gap: Securely Embracing the Digital Explosion
State and local governments are weathering a digital explosion. The move to "virtual everything" means that greater amounts of information are being produced and transmitted electronically, but the digital infrastructure powering these operations is straining under the weight.
This shift is happening for a good reason. The benefits of moving online are endless; citizens can pay taxes and fees, use library services, and even register to vote online. Municipalities create levels of access, efficiency, cost savings, and transparency that are simply unavailable otherwise.
This represents a revolution in citizen services and access, but at the cost of secure infrastructure and strategic planning. And the pressure is building. It has exposed gaps in infrastructure, highlighting vulnerabilities that malicious actors are waiting to exploit. And exploit they will.
State and local governments are one of the most targeted industries for cyberattacks, and in some instances, they are soft targets. These attacks are not only rising in frequency (an increase of 50% since 2017) but also getting more expensive for attack victims. The demanded ransom for cyberattacks rose dramatically in the same period, from an average of $30,000 per attack in 2017 to an average of $380,000 from 2017 to 2019, with some reaching over $1,000,000 in 2019, according to a 2020 report by BlueVoyant.
The report continues, "this reflects a trend the cybersecurity research community terms 'big game hunting:' the shift in 2018 from opportunistic ransomware attacks to targeted ransomware intrusions focused on larger organizations, with critical digital services, that could be ransomed for high amounts." Ransomware is evolving. Instead of being a crime of opportunity, ransomware attacks are laser-focused on companies with the most valuable services and data.
This puts state and local governments between a rock and a hard place. With limited budgets, municipalities are forced to choose between equally critical priorities to protect their data, realize mission potential, and meet workforce and citizen needs. And while many local governments have recruited and built some of the most advanced and forward-thinking cybersecurity teams in the nation, there are still gaps.
Local governments face a troubling predicament; they are one of the most targeted sectors, yet have arguably the least resources and capabilities to prepare for and respond to ransomware.
Rock, meet hard place.
Not to worry. While ransomware poses a challenging threat to state and local governments, there are concrete steps to take to secure your municipality, and partners (like us) who want to help you get there.
Akamai Director of Security Technology and Strategy Tony Lauro will be discussing this topic at the upcoming state and local public sector summit on July 22. To give you a peek behind the curtain, Tony and some of the top state and local officials will discuss the threat of ransomware and how officials are protecting their data, citizens, and day-to-day operations.
They will cover:
How to manage employee access to ensure only the correct people have access to sensitive data
The movement from traditional network security (bye-bye, VPN) to embracing Zero Trust
A comprehensive guide to implementing secure access solutions
The rest of the summit will talk about topics like local and statewide cybersecurity, how to keep education data safe, and much more.
If any of these topics interest you, register now for "CyberThreats 2021: State & Local Agencies Build on an Era of Trust" on Thursday, July 22, 2021, at 2 PM ET.
We look forward to seeing you there!