October 3, 2012 By Wayne Hanson
Mary Ann Borgeson, chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Cyber security Task Force, hosted the first of four cybersecurity webinars to kick off National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Presenting were Erin Meehan, a deputy director in the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division; Kristin Judge, executive director of the Trusted Purchasing Alliance at the Center for Internet Security; and Chris Boyer of AT&T, who is National Cyber Security Alliance board president.
The focus of the initial webinar was something called the "Stop, Think, Connect" campaign, a sort of "Smokey the Bear" unifying message for cybersecurity, according to Boyer. The idea is to avoid clicking on everything that comes your way, to stop and think about it, and thus help prevent the spread of viruses, phishing scams, malware and other security troubles.
The webinar was short on specific tools and long on how to raise awareness, but that seemed to be the right approach to start. Attendees heard a lot about various campaigns, proclamations, posters, and other helpful materials to inform consumers. Presenters emphasized that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, that every computer user has a part to play in guarding against threats. Presenters also talked about basic precautions such as keeping anti-virus software up to date and using strong passwords.
Attendees asked several questions about templates, guides and safeguarding wireless connectivity. Judge recommended the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center's resources. In addition, there is a new White House guide for "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) that helps to safely integrate personal mobile devices into IT systems.
Government Technology's December issue will contain a "Cybersecurity Guide for Cities and Counties." The next NACo webinar in the series is Oct. 10, and will focus on cyber crime, policy and law enforcement.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.