It’s been a really great few days at the Local Government Information Technology conference in Coffs Harbour as we came together to network, catch up, share insights, learn from each other and exchange ideas. We also spent time with some of our clients to share ideas on how to understand and mitigate risk and maintain community trust in the future.
As a Local Government team, we have built cost effective and efficient strategies for Councils facing a range of different issues while understanding the big picture around scaling and consolidating resources and structures to future proof services that add value to communities and residents.
This week, I’ve heard a set of common themes from Local Government stakeholders, which we can help to address:
Issue 1: Building resident trust through data protection and compliance
Local governments are custodians of significant personal data assets. Communities and their residents are increasingly aware of the risks associated with data breaches and are more circumspect about who has access to and how their private information is being managed and stored.
ACTION: Audit data assets, evaluate hosting arrangements and engage local service providers
Importantly, re-assurance can be found in Australian operated service providers, storing resident data in on-shore facilities with stringent assurance and governance protocols. The first step is to undertake an audit of your data assets, understand where they’re stored and then devise a strategy, plan and budget – and implement. Ultimately, sharing plans, outcomes and measurable impact with the community increases trust and provides compliance peace of mind.
Issue 2: Improving cybersecurity and mitigating risk without impacting service availability
Councils and their residents are becoming increasingly reliant on online services to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided. This increase in digital connectivity is providing new opportunities for cyber criminals to disrupt infrastructure and service delivery.
Action: Design and deliver a scalable, flexible and cost-effective modern security architecture
Adopting a modern security architecture which is scalable, flexible and cost effective is the best way to balance the risk of attack or breach from cybercriminals. Engaging a team of experts in network and security design to co-design a solution to achieve objectives and maintain service availability, will add value from the outset. Couple this with an Australian hosted and serviced 24/7 Security Operations Centre (SOC), Councils will be able to identify, detect, manage and remediate vulnerabilities before they impact and provide service continuity and assurance.
Issue 3: Building a resilient infrastructure to adapt and evolve with changing environments.
Balancing the trio of performance, security and agility demands careful consideration of value versus expenditure to ensure accountability and transparency for residents, communities and stakeholders.
Action: Evaluate existing technologies and consider OPEX support agreements with embedded performance measures and metrics
Unlocking value from existing investments. This could be licences you’ve paid for and aren’t leveraging, upgrades that haven’t been actioned or software which is underutilised . The impact can be far reaching, from struggling to meet benefits measures and justify ROI, to putting citizens and communities at unnecessary risk through a data breach or cyber attack. A secure, stable and easy to configure and fast to mobilise security architecture will provide the backbone and resilience Council entities need to quickly adapt and evolve.
Managing costs in a sustainable way will also ensure performance, productivity and protection across entities. Working with a technology partner offering a variety of flexible engagement models can help fund infrastructure and security initiatives through operational expenditure instead of building onerous business cases for CAPEX approval. This can save time and money, increase efficiency and keep stakeholders reassured.
Issue 4: Increased pressure to accommodate remote and hybrid working communities and teams.
In recent times, the definition of a contemporary workplace and connected community has evolved, and Local Governments are struggling to adapt.
ACTION: Modernise legacy platforms to securely connect residents and staff while retaining efficiency and productivity across all entities.
More than ever before, what matters to staff and residents, is having a choice about how, when and where they connect. Future proofing is everything – and that takes a great vision, a good plan, engagement from stakeholders and communities, and a great partner with experience in Local Government IT implementations to ensure trusted delivery. Building a modern network infrastructure which is secure, agile and scalable without the cost and complexity of multi-vendor arrangements will take community and staff connectivity securely to the next level.