For Small County Governments, Tackling Cybersecurity Basics Can Go a Long Way

To a small county with limited resources, it may sound intimidating to overhaul and adopt new cybersecurity standards. But if officials begin by taking small steps to improve their government’s overall cyberhygiene – such as using secure passwords and training employees on cyber threats – they may be surprised how quickly they fall in line with industry best practices.

Cybersecurity experts have suggested how local governments could apply the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) cybersecurity framework to their networks.

The NIST framework was designed as a voluntary guide for businesses, organizations and governments to help promote the protection of critical infrastructure and manage cybersecurity-related risks.

Ensuring that government information technology officials have a working relationship with those overseeing the budget can be critical to ensuring cybersecurity efforts receive sufficient funding.

When stakeholders met at a recent NIST legislative conference to discuss potential development of minimum security standards about one-third of the governments represented didn’t have a person on staff who was responsible for information technology security. Concern was also expressed about the time and resources that would be needed to develop and meet the new requirements.

It is recommended that any efforts to implement new security standards be closely tied to budget discussions so that there is money to pay for initiatives.


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