Believe it or not, the federal government (as well as state and local government agencies) are regularly attacked by cybercriminals and thieves looking to steal personal, private, and payment data from anyone and everyone they can.
Sometimes organizations at all levels and industries are not at all quick enough to adapt new technologies, new tools, and new approaches to cybersecurity.
This can leave governmental organizations’ data exposed – though there are certain things government workers can do to improve their overall cybersecurity, especially police officers.
Below we dig a little bit deeper into seven cybersecurity tips for government workers that are well worth zeroing in on.
Credential Management is Key
One of the most important things that government workers can do is to make sure that every single individual (regular user, guest, etc.) has their own specific user name and credentials to use the network and the interfaces directly.
Account sharing is one of the biggest security flaws of any network but it’s a lot more prevalent than you’d think. This is especially true in a world where collaboration is such a big piece of the puzzle.
By all means share files and share resources (safely, course) but make sure that EVERYONE on the network has their own specific credentials for them alone.
Multi-step authentication (sometimes called two factor authentication or multi-factor authentication) can protect you and your government agency from all kinds of cyberattacks while remaining one of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself.
Single sign-on, zero trust, and a whole host of other multi-step authentication tools exist to implement this strategy ASAP.
Yes, it adds a bit of an extra step in any login workflow – but that extra step secures a system and a network so much more than single-factor authentication ever could.
There’s a reason why banks, financial institutions, and almost all of the technology giants have moved to two factor (or beyond) authentication for all of their logons. It helps to eliminate a lot of common cyber threats straightaway.
Smartly Implemented Anti-virus and Anti-Malware Programs
The odds are pretty good that the antivirus and anti-malware programs your governmental organization is using are a bit out of date just by the very nature of government organizational IT and the way they look at updates and upgrades.
Anytime you’re talking about governmental hardware and decisions you’re talking about multiple people that need to weigh in and a whole bunch of steps that need to be moved through. Sometimes upgrading antivirus and malware programs just sort of gets lost in the shuffle.
Thankfully though, upgrading is easier today than ever before and there are more high-quality options to leverage today than existed even just a handful of years ago. It’s easier to get set up with top-of-the-line antivirus and anti-malware solutions and to stay updated, that’s for sure.
Regular Cybersecurity Training
Of course, all of the best cybersecurity solutions, software, and services aren’t going to amount to much if everyone using the network hasn’t been trained to take advantage of those solutions – or trained in best use practices when it comes to leveraging a secured network.
You don’t necessarily have to give your entire department (or your entire agency) a deep dive into the world of cybersecurity, starting with its earliest history all the way up to today, to be effective.
But you do want to make sure that everyone knows a handful of standard operating procedures to follow when it comes to using cybersecurity tools and how they can secure their workstations, accounts, and more importantly their laptop and data as they go about their business.
Knowledge is power in the world of cybersecurity and workers should be aware of basic cybersecurity principles.
Bug Bounty Contests
You can also empower all of your employees to be on the hunt for “bugs”, little glitches in the system that could pose security risks if they are exploited by other individuals.
Because you as the employee are going to be using the network on a regular basis you can take advantage of all of their eyeballs to find the kinds of bugs that dedicated security teams may have missed – just because there aren’t enough eyeballs to scan everything all time.
Spotting the abilities can help you secure your network in a hurry as well as provide you with a constant layer of active monitoring that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Combine that with a bounty paid out to security flaws, bugs, and gaps in your cybersecurity that could be exploited – rewarding those that find these flaws for you – and you’ll have a motivated group helping you patch things up and lock your systems down.
Leverage Advanced Encryption Protocols
Commercially available encryption options are far more powerful today than ever before, powerful enough that the same kind of encryption technology used by governmental organizations to secure top-secret information is used throughout the private sector almost every single day of the year.
250 bit SSL security encryption used to be the gold standard (and is still used by a lot of e-commerce platforms today) but there are a whole host of new encryption protocols that can be used to lock down your system even more so.
How you implement security protocols through encryption is up to you and your governmental management team.
Regular Backups (And Backups of Backups)
Lastly, you’ll never be able to protect against every single cybersecurity threat there is. That’s just the nature of the beast.
By expecting and anticipating security breaches, though, you’re able to put yourself in a position to minimize the impact while protecting important data and information at the same time.
Having three copies of backups on two different types of storage media, one of them off-site or off-network, provide you with enough redundancy in enough protection to minimize almost all cybersecurity threats including ransomware (popular malware attack) that get past your security solutions.