Municipality & Government Cyber Security

Defend the Infrastructure

government cyber security
i

Regulations

Government cyber security is governed by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and many state are passing similar laws to provide guidance for security controls and testing

Organization Sprawl

Government agencies spread out and are divided by function making it difficult to accomplish an overall security program, leaving weak points in the environment
+

Mobility

Many agencies are required to be highly mobile in daily operations and adding the focus of transparency, many gaps are left open for sophisticated hackers to penetrate the environment

s

Result

Security is non-existent or reactive with monitors being implemented without proper skillsets and guidance resulting in overwhelming data that gets overlooked, weak or no controls are in place to ensure security, and often times vulnerabilties sit in the network for years

Cyber Security is Critical for Municipalities

It’s Saturday morning, on call staff is limited and things are not working correctly. The police and fire department communications systems are down and they are relying solely on radio communication. Without access to the database, records cannot be pulled prior to going into a traffic stop or incident. They are going in blind. IT staff that have been reached to come in to address the issue are communicating with text messages and mobile phones because the phone and email systems are down. The weekend is a mess, traffic cameras aren’t working, 911 systems are down and one system after another is going offline.

Monday morning, the entire staff comes to work and finds a mess. Every department is suffering, no one can log in. They pick up the phone to call IT and there is no dial tone. Massive lines are forming in cashiering, court systems, booking and processing. Everything has to operate manually and no one really knows how to do it. Constituents, residents, and business owners are frustrated and complaining. Criminal activity is rising because of the lack of rapid responses.

After several days of down time, IT determines they are under attack from a sophisticated Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) but they don’t have the expertise to handle the situation. Not having a proper Business Continuity Plan, there is great confusion and contention as to which systems need to be addressed first. Every department is demanding their systems be addressed at once. Then it is discovered that payroll is down, direct deposits aren’t going through and payroll doesn’t know how to handle manual transactions. Vendors aren’t getting paid for their services and are knocking on the doors.

An emergency is declared and the government is having to shell out millions to a cyber security contracting firm to clean up the mess, angering tax payers who not only are footing the bill but have to worry about what personal private data of theirs has been exposed. It takes weeks to get some parts operational, months to be running at full capacity and months longer to create policies and procedures to ensure this type of disaster doesn’t happen again. During the investigation, the security contractors discover the source of the attack, a Trojan virus inserted into the network from a staffer’s USB drive.

government cyber security meltdown

Government Cyber Security Matters

The scenario above can easily happen and recent cyber security breaches in both the private and public sectors such as the federal government OPM breach have captured the attention of government agencies and citizens alike. Government officials are looking at underfunded government cyber security programs at the local, state and federal levels.

Shades of Gray Security Solutions

We offer a variety of packages and plans that can help in your government cyber security efforts. We can perform any functional requirement of regulations you may have from testing your current program, to conducting Risk Analysis, to a complete managed solution that covers everything. We go above and beyond for our clients to make sure they remain compliant and secure.

We use a risk-based approach, identifying what needs to be secured, why it needs to be secured, what threats can affect it, and how can it bet better defended. We ensure programs such as patch management, change management, disaster recovery, business continuity, and incident response are all capable of functioning in times of need. If these programs are missing, or if the entire security program is absent from your municipality, Shades of Gray Security can help build and manage the program for you.

government cyber security high level risk

Solutions That Work

We encourage a full security program assessment, testing and verifying all aspects of your security program are in place and operational. Some key features that must be implemented are defined below. If you have them in place, we offer third party validation and guidance in optimizing the programs, if they are lacking we offer managed solutions through our vCISO program to build those functions for you, keeping you and your citizens safe and secure.

vciso for government cyber security

vCISO

Shades of Gray Security offers our clients world-class managed security solutions with our virtual Chief Information Security Officer service, a perfect solution for a client that needs a complete solution to build and manage a government cyber security program ensuring regulatory compliance and adhering to best practices. If you’re municipality doesn’t have the size to require a full staff of information security professionals, we can help. We can build the program for your staff to manage with or without our ongoing oversight. We offer several plans that come with all the services you need to secure your environment.

Government Cyber Security Audits

A government cyber security program needs several components to run effectively. Attention should be placed on security audits and penetration testing. During a penetration test, we try to breach your system, then report back any findings so you can take preemptive action to prevent an actual breach. Upper management and city officials need to understand the long-term costs associated with a data breach. This starts with the financial hit to recover and restore, but it extends to the cost in losing the trust of the citizens.

Shades of Gray Security can perform an in depth audit of your security controls to determine whether they adhere to your risk assessment, your policies, regulatory requirements, and industry best practices guidelines. We perform a gap analysis to find where things don’t line up and provide recommendations on how to improve your security posture and ensure you are on the correct path to maintaining a sufficient cyber security program. We provide a clear audit trail for reporting and compliance requirements.

government cyber security business continuity plan

Business Continuity Plan

In the event of a major breach or a natural disaster, systems should be prioritized in advance through a Business Continuity Plan. The plan, developed by a seasoned security expert, must be vetted by department heads. In these meetings we will ask what would happen if you lose the ability to access various computer systems for hours to days, weeks and even months. Most people are so used to their daily routine and convenience of the computer systems they often report to us that they didn’t think that would be possible, but without a proper plan in place it is. If we take the time to plan for such events we can prepare you for the possibility and thereby minimize the downtime and restore as quickly as possible. Once the plan is defined, testing needs to be conducted to ensure everyone involved knows what needs to be done and is ready to execute as soon as possible. Some systems, such as payroll may roll back to handing out checks and those need to be in place ready to go. Phone systems should be IP based and easily moved to a new location in the event of a building failure. Obviously the critical services such as Police and Fire Departments need to be brought up as soon as possible to keep the officers, fire personnel, and the citizens safe.

This is the opportunity to take an introspective look at your operations and determine what is most important in order to maintain the critical functions of the government. Going through the exercise of imagining impact of loss of critical infrastructure and actually engaging in testing and training exercises help you differentiate between the things that are most important and those that are just conveniences. During planning and testing we revisit and adjust prioritization of system recovery based on the critical nature of the system and the potential impact of threats and disasters to those systems.

Government Cyber Security Monitoring

Government cyber security audits are a great start. Building a non-existent security program including proper continuity planning is even better. However, occasional testing of security is not enough. Part of an effective security program should include active monitoring. We offer our clients professional security monitoring services that fit your budget. We use Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools to provide a dashboard view into the security tools in place. Those tools include Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS), antivirus systems, and server logs. The SIEM combines all those into a logical flow to correlate events and help quickly identify any potential issues before they become catastrophes. Your staff may view these logs and reports from tools after an event takes place, but usually they simply don’t have the manpower to actively evaluate them ahead of the incident.

Government Cyber Security Monitoring
government cyber security awareness training

Cyber Security Awareness Training

Why would a hacker bother trying to break into a sophisticated secured system when a $5 USB drive, or an innocuous email is all it takes to trick someone into opening the doors for them? The weakest link in any security program is the people. Security risks can be mitigated in many ways, but the simplest way is a good security awareness training program. Our security awareness program seeks to educate users to be more secure in their daily lives with their personal information on up through awareness of risks in the work environment. Educating them on a personal level and teaching them how one insecure individual can have a ripple effect that reaches them really helps drive the point home. When we perform security audits and testing, we incorporate any issues we discover along the way in the awareness training program to help shore up gaps where your technology might be exposed and awareness of the end users can help reduce the risk to those systems while you implement better security measures. Relying solely on antivirus and firewall protection is a big mistake. Users not only need to know what to look for when dealing with suspicious activity, they also need to know how to properly report and act to prevent it from reaching further into the organization.

This is the opportunity to take an introspective look at your operations and determine what is most important in order to maintain the critical functions of the government. Going through the exercise of imagining impact of loss of critical infrastructure and actually engaging in testing and training exercises help you differentiate between the things that are most important and those that are just conveniences. During planning and testing we revisit and adjust prioritization of system recovery based on the critical nature of the system and the potential impact of threats and disasters to those systems.

Contact Us Today

Contact us today to get started protecting your municipality and the citizens you serve. You hold a lot of data, and more importantly a lot of lives depend on the stability or your technology and data infrastructure. Contact us today and use our experience dealing with security and data breach and prevention to ensure you remain secure and able to serve the community and keep the trust of the people.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, updates, and tips on how to be secure in today's digital world.

You have Successfully Subscribed!