Easy Security Wins for Government Employees

Every organization that transacts or stores any type of data has to build some type of security to protect that data. Governments are no exception. In fact, the types of data they use and harbor can significantly affect individuals’ lives or even change the course of their nation’s history if used inappropriately or leaked to the public.

Not all attacks look like this.

Fortunately, they, you, and we all have measures we can take to prevent malicious (or even just naively curious) actors from obtaining the private information our constituents or users entrust us to protect. In fact, many protective efforts to increase the security of private data can be performed even without a computer science degree or programming background.

This is common still in many countries.

Stop Using Yahoo Mail

There’s a whole Wikipedia article dedicated to this one. The best alternative is using an email address that uses a government domain (xxx@yourcity.gov).

There are lots of jokers out there who would love to collect taxes or information on the government’s behalf, and if sexydennis123@yahoo.com is a typical email address constituents expect from their government then the government opens itself to unnecessary liability.

Keep confidential data confidential.

Don’t Give Out Your Password or Confidential Data

On a similar note, those same jokers might reach out to you to try to extract information about businesses, taxpayer information, or other government data. Build controls around what information is available via email, phone, or in-person.

Do not give out your password or credentials to your teammates or anyone who might offer some friendly ‘help’ over the phone. You were given or created a unique password for a reason, and that wasn’t to share it with anyone, no matter how convenient it might be to your daily tasks.

An idea for another useful control would be to assign government officials different access scopes so that no one person can see (or edit) more than they absolutely need to. In case anyone’s data is compromised, it’s less likely they will loose all of their information this way.

They can make or break everything.

Take Care of Your IT Staff

As technology becomes more pervasive, we depend on these people more and more. Stay on their good side, and realize these people aren’t magicians.

Make their lives easier by making realistic requests, stay within the confines of your responsibilities, and keep liquids away from anything that uses electricity. This will make problems easier to solve, stress levels for everyone to a low simmer, and allow everyone to get on with their responsibilities to assist the public all the easier.

Automate the User Experience

Filling out forms to sign up for permits and licenses may be required by law but often constituents, businesses, and others don’t enjoy the process. It’s even less enjoyable for data encoders who have to repetitively, hand-type the same type of data over and over again throughout the day.

What someone doesn’t enjoy, they often avoid or don’t concentrate on. What is avoided or isn’t worthy of concentration can inevitably cause friction between private and public entities. This reduces compliance and taxes, creates incentive for illegal activities, and altogether makes life worse for government and private actors.

We work with government entities to develop systems to make processes easier and more efficient for everyone. Less wasted time, faster communication, auditing for accountability, and a user experience that makes constituents proud, not frustrated, of their public officials.

Go Build a More Secure Government

There are lots more a government can do to secure confidential data, but these are some easy wins. If you have any questions, thoughts on a future topic you’d like us to discuss, or work with us in the future, feel free to contact us at contact@amagi.io or at amagi.io.

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