State and local governments have accelerated the pace of digital transformation in recent years as they required more cloud computing power to fulfill citizen services. During pandemic lockdowns, citizens could not enter many government facilities, and agencies still had a duty to facilitate everyday transactions with their constituents.
As such, governments and agencies deepened their relationship with their cloud service providers, a remarkable development for a sector that still lags nationally in cloud adoption. One cause of this lag has long been questions about cloud cybersecurity. Government agencies hold confidential data, and they could suffer a crisis of public trust if that data leaked. But agencies have gained more trust in cloud service providers in recent years.
Fairfax, Va., for example, has adopted a cloud-based civic engagement platform to enhance interaction with its citizens (See Easing Communications With Civic Engagement Solutions); Monroe, La., has outsourced its security operations center to a trusted cloud services provider (See Security Operations Centers and Related Services Augment Slim Government Staff); and other cities have turned to HR applications in the cloud to recruit and onboard new hires efficiently (See Agencies Simplify and Improve HR Services with Business Process Automation).
State and local government agencies can undertake an accounting of their data and make determinations about what data, if any, should go into the cloud. Major cloud service providers have taken tremendous steps to safeguard data, and often these steps exceed the capabilities of stand-alone government organizations.
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State and Local Governments Show Increased Confidence in Security
Sophos reports that 58 percent of state and local governments suffered ransomware attacks in 2021. But those who store data in the cloud can quickly recover their data because major cloud service providers have robust security controls and defenses.
A recent survey by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers found that 89 percent of state CIOs say hybrid cloud is ideal for their operations.
Google, for example, has detailed its commitment to go above and beyond to win the trust of the public sector in its cloud security measures. The cloud giant has adopted a zero-trust approach to cybersecurity, and it helps government agencies do the same. Google has shifted to proactively analyzing threats rather than reacting to them, and it protects data with automatic detection and management tools.
Google points to its work with New York City Cyber Command as evidence of its strong cybersecurity controls and how the company can help public sector agencies keep citizens secure.
As KPMG advises, state and local agencies also can ensure their cloud service providers activate specific security measures that protect cloud-based systems, particularly email, which often serves as a front door for attackers. With these measures, governments will continue to embrace the cloud.