Endpoint Management | System Administration

Local government IT: balancing efficiency and security

14. March 2024, Avatar of Fabian ThomaFabian Thoma

Digital services for municipal and city governments are expanding in response to citizen demand for more convenient and efficient online access to common administrative tasks and information. However, the course through this digital sea of files comes with new risks of cyberattacks and data breaches. How can government IT teams respond to the challenge?

In short

  • Protection in uncertain times: Local government networks are increasingly targeted by criminal hackers.
  • Meeting compliance standards: Municipal digital services must meet stringent security standards and protect citizens' data.
  • Efficiency strengthens trust: UEM offers many advantages for optimizing and securing IT processes.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of providing convenient digital access to public services and accelerated the transition to online administrative processes. Citizens now expect their local governments to offer easy and reliable ways to interact with public agency services online. In this article, we explain five ways in which IT professionals in local and municipal governments can take advantage of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) to secure their systems with less effort:

  1. Reporting: detect security incidents at an early stage and react quickly
  2. Transparency: security compliance on all end devices
  3. Compliance: maintain adherence to required standards
  4. Data protection: thorough enforcement of data protection guidelines
  5. Automation: optimize endpoint security workloads

In the crosshairs of criminal hackers

Sensitive personal data of all kinds is processed by local governments, making public sector networks attractive targets for cyber criminals. The growth in online municipal services also has opened up numerous potential gateways for cyberattacks. Ransomware, phishing and advanced persistent threats (APTs) are the primary methods of stealing sensitive data, compromising systems or penetrating networks undetected. The rise in such threats highlights the need for comprehensive protection for sensitive data and IT infrastructures including preventive measures, rapid reaction to security incidents, and continuous adaptability to address new threats.

Can UEM make public administration more secure?

UEM has long proven itself in the private sector as an essential component of modern IT security strategies. UEM solutions are also increasingly used for managing public sector networks. UEM enables centralized management and control of all network endpoints as well as vulnerability monitoring to improve cybersecurity measures and meet compliance requirements. Another advantage of UEM is extensive automation of routine tasks to increase efficiency and lower IT workloads. UEM automation does not increase security risks, rather, it frees IT staff for devote more time to maintain and improve cyber defenses in 5 key areas:

1. Reporting

As frequent targets of cybercriminals, local governments must react quickly to security incidents to limit damage, protect citizens' data and ensure the availability of digital services. Modern reporting systems are essential for reliable detection of threats at an early stage and immediate notification of IT managers. They also collect security data that’s used to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. The central dashboards of UEM systems make important contributions to this process by showing the real-time status of all critical network endpoints.

2. Transparency

IT automation and other UEM tools are especially important for typically understaffed and underfunded municipal IT departments. By enabling efficient management and continuous updating hardware and software, UEM solutions ensure that IT staff always have a clear overview of network and endpoint status. Centralized inventory and control also lets IT managers determine exactly which devices and software are in use in different departments and whether they meet current security requirements.

3. Compliance

The public sector must meet a growing array of stringent compliance requirements – including IT-SiG 2.0 to BSI basic protection in Germany, NIS2 in the EU, and U.S federal guidelines and state-by-state laws. New regulations include systems for attack detection and declarations of trustworthiness from manufacturers. UEM makes it easier to comply with new regulations and security standards because end devices can be configured more quickly and reliably using UEM automation. Automated compliance checks and reports also help state and local governments monitor and document compliance status for required audits.

4. Data protection

The protection of sensitive data is particularly relevant for the public sector. Compliance with data protection regulations, such as the GDPR  and US state regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and secure management of personal data is essential to minimize risks and maintain public trust in digital government services. UEM platforms help ensure that data protection guidelines are applied uniformly throughout their IT infrastructure. This also includes functions such as encryption of data or protected access to government applications.

5. Automation

IT automation increases efficiency and reduces the costs of local government IT management. It can also help increase security. UEM reduces manual effort, relieves IT teams of routine tasks and reduces the risk of human error during tedious configuration work. Centralized and automated patch management and standardized software distribution processes ensure that all end devices are updated and meet current security needs.

More efficient government IT without compromising on cybersecurity

The integration of UEM significantly improves security and administrative processes in public sector networks and makes managing and maintaining them more efficient. It establishes a solid foundation for reliable and secure government network operations to strengthen citizens' trust in their digital government services. UEM also makes IT administration more cost-efficient by automating many repetitive routine tasks and freeing IT teams to focus on implementing comprehensive security measures and training employees in data protection and cybersecurity awareness.

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