This blog post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s industry perspective, “How State and Local Government Can Navigate the Cloud Generation.“
Technology has transformed the way state and local governments serve constituents, enabling access to key services such as healthcare, public safety and transportation. Government has entered the cloud generation, a time when an array of connected devices power government/constituent interactions and data is readily accessible through cloud platforms.
Although the proliferation of apps and devices has enabled state and local governments to better meet constituent demands, security remains a challenge. Determined hackers, coupled with the expanding adoption of cloud applications and mobile workforce devices, are forcing state and local governments to find new ways to protect their systems and information from increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats.
In the cloud generation, state and local agencies need holistic cloud security strategies to protect data and respond quickly to breaches. With the right plan, state and local governments can not only defend themselves against evolving cyberthreats, they can also thrive in the cloud generation.
A comprehensive strategy can deliver an integrated set of compliance and security services to unify access governance while also protecting an agency’s enterprise. That way, state and local agencies can ensure that they are not only protecting vital information, but also enabling their employees to keep up with citizen demands while delivering efficient and better services.
A holistic cloud security plan comprises three critical components: threat intelligence, a well-rounded portfolio of services and managed security services.
First, to address and understand the cyberthreats in the landscape, cyber professionals need context for where and how those threats evolve. In other words, they need threat intelligence – organized, analyzed and refined information about potential or even current attacks that can threaten an organization.
The primary purpose of threat intelligence is to help organizations understand the most common and severe cyberrisks while identifying internal threats and external threats, such as malware or phishing attacks. Such information gives cyber and IT teams the understanding and context they need to identify cyberattackers and cyberthreats that can harm state and local agencies.
But threat intelligence alone does not address the challenge of disparate cloud solutions. In addition to securing networks, agencies have to worry about unifying access policies and cloud standards, making sure cloud solutions comply with strict government regulations. That’s why a comprehensive solutions portfolio is an essential part of a holistic cloud security plan. Rather than purchasing different cloud solutions for each security need, agencies can create a single solutions portfolio that meets all their cloud needs.
Finally, agencies may need extra guidance on using threat intelligence and cloud portfolios. Instead of leaving agency personnel to figure out their new cloud products and services on their own, managed security services from third parties can provide real-time guidance from subject-matter experts. This makes agency cyberteams better equipped and prepared to identify cyberthreats and counter any potential cyberattacks through their cloud solutions.
By integrating threat intelligence, a holistic portfolio of services and managed security services, state and local agencies stand a better chance of keeping information secure while reaping the benefits of the cloud generation.