State and local governments need funding and resources. For which thing are we talking about here? Respirators? Masks? No, but we are talking about another type of protection, for another unseen threat – cybercrime. With malicious activity already on a steady rise, the current crisis has brought some government offices to an even more heightened state of risk, with hackers poised and ready to attack their over-stressed offices.
COVID-19 has given criminals another door and entry point to the offices, the employees, and the residents of each municipality. No one is exempt from risk. Working from home has increased so many facets of this as well. Uncertainty on how to proceed with new and unfamiliar working circumstances may put employees in a position to forget about cybersecurity as they navigate their new environments.
Not New, Just Worse
Targeting state and local governments was already an issue prior to COVID-19, so the threat isn’t new, but the risk has increased. Ransomware attacks are something that large cities like New Orleans and Baltimore have already experienced and are possibly not even fully recovered from. The experience that the city of Atlanta had with an attack cost the government and its residents time and monies that had an impact on them for months after the breach. While two Iranian nationals were charged with the attack, it is unlikely that recovery of data and money will ever happen.
In April, a group that represents the National Governors Association and the National Association of Chief Information Officers sent a letter to government officials urging them to consider a fully funded “dedicated cybersecurity program to help states, territories, and localities to develop and implement innovative and effective cybersecurity practices to include for remote work; help to build resources and human capital; better detect, analyze and protect against cyber threats; and help to enhance partnerships among different levels of government.” This shows us that if cybersecurity hadn’t been at the forefront of their planning, it was now. This is a double-edged sword because while there is finally acknowledgment of the urgency of a strong cybersecurity program, creating the opportunity for you as an MSP, it also means that you need to be prepared to act – fast.
An Opportunity for MSPs
Awareness is helping to generate the need for cybersecurity within your existing government clients, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet with them to discuss their current setup and develop a reaction plan with them. Additionally, you can approach new and potential clients and emphasize that your solutions do include end-to-end cybersecurity protection and resolution components – including a work from home strategy.