5 No Cost Cybersecurity Solutions for Civic IT

These cybersecurity solutions can help both small and large cities rethink cyber infrastructure protection at little-to-no cost.


Cybersecurity awareness is a national effort to ensure that federal, state, local and civilian networks stay secure by sharing cybersecurity solutions and best practices. Protecting cyber infrastructure is a necessity because citizens now depend on these systems for daily critical needs.

From digital governments and cloud services to Wi-Fi kiosks and smart lighting, cities large and small are considering various smart city technologies to improve the quality of public services. With technology, cities can improve traffic problems, reduce energy usage and costs and better manage the condition of infrastructure and utilities. They can also create departmental efficiencies and engage citizens with better processes and information.

However, many IT professionals believe with greater smart technology interconnections, cities are at greater risk for hackers.

The following five no-cost cybersecurity solutions can help city managers and civic technology leaders reduce cyber threats and risks.

#1 Follow Basic Cybersecurity Precautions

Ensure that all staff are following basic cybersecurity tips and performing regular computer security checks.

The Department of Homeland Security Stop.Think.Connect program has a Government toolkit with cybersecurity tips and information for desktop and mobile users. There are also toolkits for students, law enforcement departments, small business and industry that cities can use to engage their communities about cybersecurity.

StaySafeOnline.org has a list of free security check-ups and tools.

#2 Create a Cybersecurity Roadmap

A Cybersecurity Awareness Roadmap can help all city staff become more cyberaware.

By using the roadmap to chart a cybersecurity course, civic IT departments can go from no program through the beginning and long-term stages of an established cybersecurity program, all the way to tracking and reporting metrics.

#3 Learn the Cyber Threats

Recognize and combat cybercrime by learning the frequent cyber threats, like ransomware, summarized in this infographic:

Source: Department of Homeland Security

Source: Department of Homeland Security

#4 Connect with Other Cyber Aware Cities

Join the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center to receive advisories and alerts and to report incidents. The center can help city managers and civic IT leaders keep the pulse of cybersecurity risks and threats and makes it possible to leverage the cybersecurity experience of other cities.

#5 Bake Security into IT Projects

Make cybersecurity a top priority with best practices for detection, response, reconnaissance and recovery. The recent article Six Ways Cities Can Make Cybersecurity a Top Priority explores the practices of two top California cities, according to Akamai, which monitors global Internet conditions. There are several no-cost takeaways that can help shape any city’s approach to cybersecurity.

In addition, mobile projects require special cybsersecurity considerations.

Mobile devices can access enterprise applications and digital government collaboration tools. But agencies and cities should develop tools with cybersecurity best practices in mind, such as the seven enterprise mobile security best practices from CIO.com.

Learn what the top government mobile security professionals are working on with respect to virtual private network, credentials and 4G LTE wireless services security. Federal News Radio convened a panel of policy and security experts earlier this month to share a framework for mobile security in government and posted the panel discussion.

Andrea Fox is Editor of Gov1.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.