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Local Governments at Increased Risk of Cyber Attacks

The Government sector is a prime target for cyber attacks as pointed out in the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Inquiry Report. In 2018 there were 22,788 incidents globally and 304 of them reported violations of data. The research details analysis of the 304 data breach causes such as cyber espionage, privilege misuse, miscellaneous errors and insecure web application design. The report also shows the type of data being exposed, such as, personal information, medical records, credentials and classified information. To make matters worse, many incidents were not detected until months (or in some cases years) following the attack.

Every year local Governments increasingly add new technology to their daily operations. To protect the continuous flow of sensitive information between workers using modern devices it is logical that local government systems should be supported with a fit-for-purpose secure communications infrastructure. More and more governments understand the importance of a system where each user can be strongly authenticated and every message and interaction can be secured by end-to-end encryption. Messages sent by employees via smartphones over consumer applications, open telecoms networks or unprotected enterprise solutions are much more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Local Governments require a proven secure communication platform as the foundation for all important communications.

By investing in a secure infrastructure within local government, the ability to manage live situations in regard to public safety, its finances and general affairs is protected. There are long term benefits for government and tax payers if this is well implemented. Overall, it will extend the life of their systems and be highly cost effective. Conversely, the failure to build this strong core will likely result in major political fallouts, public safety scandals and economic incidents which can critically undermine the trust in elected offices.

The uniqueness of the public sector and secure communications

As far back as 2014 a McKinsey report described how local governments struggle to find the right resources in people, digital tools, management practises and systems to update their operations while maintaining security and keeping costs at bay. Local governments frequently find that bringing in new technologies or upgrading current systems can add complexity to existing processes and systems rather than leveraging the latest technologies to make life easier and more secure for workers.

Therefore, the challenge for local governments wanting to embrace new technologies along with cybersecurity is to build a strong pipeline of new tech talent within government to allow for better decision making and a clearer understanding of what new technologies will do to improve the status quo.

Start with the fundamentals of cybersecurity

With many governments, law enforcement units and politicians having their infrastructure and systems publicly hacked in recent years, organisations are starting to take information security seriously. Obviously, Government communications, given its sensitive nature, needs to be properly categorised (and appropriate policies set), centrally managed and encrypted to ensure the right level of privacy protection.

When searching for a secure communications solution, it is essential that the solution and its encryption delivers three main outcomes:

  • Integrity – making sure that messages, classified information and attachments have not be tampered with when in transit;
  • Authentication – ensuring that the data that is being shared between the parties (whether individuals or machines) are who they say they are;
  • Confidentiality – Ensuring that no unauthorised party accesses any of the contents of the exchanged data.

Salt Communications is the leading fit-for-purpose Local Government Secure Communications platform

Local governments are working in an evolving world where expectations are high and resources are limited. Where there is no secure infrastructure in place, many workers use what is familiar to them, namely free solutions which allow them to exchange information freely. Consumer messaging applications are a key example of this, with many workers assuming that because they offer “end-to-end encryption”, that what they are doing is safe and compliant.

However, consumer messaging apps lack the appropriate safeguards to ensure security, control and compliance. A proper Information Security Policy and Privacy Policy will lead local governments to use effective, highly secure communication technologies which can ensure the right levels of compliance and management as well as continuity of operation and recovery from disasters.

Salt Communications works with government clients across the globe who understand the importance of having full control over their sensitive communications. Public leaks damage the reputation of their organisation and in some cases may affect the safety of their staff and population.

With a secure communication platform such as Salt Communications in place, you will be able to control your communications and feel safe in any situation you may encounter during your daily operations.

For more information on this article, or to trail SaltGov, please contact us on

About Salt Communications

Salt Communications is a multi-award winning cyber security company providing a fully enterprise-managed software solution giving absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. Salt Communications offers ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect their trusted relationships and stay safe. Salt Communications is headquartered in Belfast, N. Ireland, for more information visit our website.

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