Improving cloud security for government groups

In just the past couple of years alone, hundreds of thousands of private records have been stolen by malicious data mining software and computer hackers. From the infamous hack of Sony Pictures emails to the 2012 breach of government Medicaid files in Utah, organizations and citizens alike have become well aware of the risks to their data and personal information.

The technology that allows for this digital storage is essential, however. Having cloud storage that allows government employees to access important files from anywhere at any time greatly improves the flow of information and allows work to be done in seconds, away from the desk when necessary.

To make the most out of these important features, government groups need to keep their security programs in check so that cloud storage remains safe and reliable. 

"The first step in better securing a cloud is locating its weaknesses."

Cybersecurity for government clouds
While all American citizens are concerned about protecting their own clouds, government groups have an extra responsibility to ensure the safety and security of their communities or the country at large. According to Fed Tech Magazine, there are specific data management precautions that agencies need to be aware of. Maria Horton, former CIO of the National Naval Medial Center, offered tips based on her experience working for the government.

One of her suggestions is to use a trusted outside party, such as a professional IT group with government cybersecurity experience, to help with cloud-based risk assessments. Because government agencies already know so much about their clouds and their protection plans, a third-party assessment may be able to better identify where breaches are more likely to occur from an outside threat. 

The first step in better securing a cloud is locating its weaknesses. Proven IT professionals can offer critical recommendations for building the cybersecurity of government clouds, as well as assisting in the implementation of new cloud integration programs that can keep agency files on the latest and most secure storage setups.

Keeping cloud security updated
Along with finding vulnerable areas of the cloud, agencies must be willing to stay updated on the latest programs. Info Security Magazine stated that adapting to newer cloud technology is safer than using antiquated systems. 

The source recognizes that one of the biggest challenges government groups face when trying to improve security measures is a lack of funding for new programs in their budgets. Security should be a top priority for all organizations, so cutting corners in this area can't be an option. Group advocates will need to work hard to ensure that the necessary safety upgrades are planned into budgets.

Some of the additions that government agencies can incorporate into their cloud systems to make them safer are data loss prevention software and encryption programs. These platforms work to secure clouds by making information harder to steal or leak accidentally. Agencies that don't have comprehensive IT departments that can handle these kinds of program installations and operations will need to reach out to third-party vendors that can get the office set up with new technology and teach all necessary employees how to use it.

"Security should be a top priority for all organizations."

Upgraded cloud security is good for everyone
When it comes to wide- scale disasters that could result from a security breach, many people automatically think of large national defense systems or White House secrets. While these areas are also a concern, it's important for agencies of all sizes to recognize their vulnerability and the potential impact of a breach to their systems. Small, local governments are at as much risk from a potential security threat and must take such threats seriously.

Identity theft is a serious concern across the country, and most American citizens have some form of vital personal information on file with a government group. To keep these people safe and to support their trust in all levels of government, they must know that their information is secure and their privacy is being taken seriously. Keeping systems upgraded increases public perception and protects the people.