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.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.