June 8, 2020 — States that utilized cloud computing for cybersecurity initiatives were better positioned to handle the surge in cybersecurity attacks that resulted from network vulnerabilities being amplified by increased telework during COVID-19.
As cities prepare for up to 70 percent of IT workers to continue working remotely, a panel of cybersecurity experts and city leaders discussed the future of security analytics, as well as other cybersecurity initiatives taken in response to the pandemic, on a webinar Monday sponsored by Nextgov and Route Fifty.
“All the challenges municipality leaders faced before are going to be harder as we become more dependent than ever on the internet and have yet to address a lot of fundamental questions,” said David Forscey, managing director of the Aspen Cybersecurity Group, referencing the lack of cybersecurity advocacy and governance that exists in the country.
Forscey called for smaller counties to move some of their cybersecurity services to the cloud, as many counties with less resources are not capable of offering comparable services, especially when they lack a cybersecurity workforce.
Cloud computing utilizes artificial intelligence to pinpoint bad actors and help with the classification of data. To predict and defeat cyberattacks in real time, cybersecurity must move to the cloud, panelists said. The cloud can leverage big data and instant analytics over a large collection of end users to instantly address and predict threats.
Managing infrastructure for security threats can prove difficult, said Tye Hayes, Chief Technology Officer for the city of Atlanta. Hayes detailed the city’s current plans to close three of its five data centers as part of their strategy to adapt to the cloud.
Hayes also called for the need to diversify risk by utilizing both on-site and cloud data services. She highlighted the importance on relying on cloud computing partners, as cybersecurity is their core competency.
A further security challenge had to be remedied when the city prohibited the use of bring-your-own-device policies for cybersecurity reasons, meaning all workers suddenly had to have access to a county device at home. Hayes recollected handing out 1500 laptops in a weeks’ time.
The devices were scanned for vulnerabilities before they were centrally patched, to allow for city overseers to remotely update the devices against looming security threats.
The use of virtual private networks, which enable users to share data over public networks as if they were private, expanded to increase workers ability to safely convey sensitive information.
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