More than hackers threaten government data

Cyberattacks have been a big topic in the news the last few years. Malicious data hacks have resulted in the theft of millions of Americans' private data records. Whether you shopped at your favorite store, filed your taxes with the IRS or had your background checked by the Office of Personnel Management, your identity was most likely at risk.  

Because of the consequences of cyber data hacking, government agencies have been making better efforts to step up their cybersecurity plans. It's important, however, that government officials don't get so caught up on staying one step ahead of hackers that they overlook the myriad of ways that networks can be put at risk by other means.

"Natural disasters pose a clear threat to physical records."

How natural disasters can destroy data
Natural disasters from floods to hurricanes to tornadoes pose obvious threats to the nation's infrastructure. A less-obvious threat is the risk these events pose to cybersecurity measures. 

According to The Business Journals, natural disasters pose a clear threat to physical records kept at an office or agency. If critical hard copies of files aren't kept in a secure waterproof and fireproof safe, then a number of natural disasters could wipe them away.

There's a threat to digital records as well if they aren't properly backed up. If one computer alone holds a vital saved file and that computer is destroyed, the information could be lost forever. One of the great things about cloud technology is that files can be saved and accessed from any machine. Using cloud integration to secure data will ensure that it can be accessed even if the office computers are destroyed by bad weather.

Power Magazine reported an emphasis on backup generators as well. If a significant storm causes a power surge, it's important to have a backup to make sure that all operations stay up and running and that data can be properly saved. Make sure that programs that open and run files have an auto-save function turned on so that important data is constantly being backed up. This will help prevent losses in case of a sudden power disruption. 

"As technology ages, it often becomes less reliable."

Equipment failures
As technology ages, it often becomes less reliable and more prone to system failures. It's important for government agencies to Government agencies must take stock of their equipment regularly to make sure it's operating the way that it needs to.

One of the simplest ways to alleviate this problem is to keep equipment and software updated. Many programs will notify users when a new version of the software is available for an easy download. This helps to strengthen existing security measures and can also include updates that will protect against new, evolving threats. 

Another problem that can affect the reliability of an agency's technical equipment is user errors. Any staff who has contact with the equipment in an office needs to be properly trained on how to use it. Otherwise, programs could be damaged, files misplaced or computers themselves could break. 

The best way to keep confidential information safe is to limit the number of eyes on it. Staff who don't have a direct hand in the data they are viewing may not know how delicate that information is, leading to accidental leaks. It's also important for agencies not to rule out the possibility of an internal, malicious breach. Limited access to data and equipment can help lessen those risks.