Fostering Public Sector Communication, Collaboration on Cyber

The Symantec Government Symposium, to be held December 5 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C.

by SYMANTEC / November 25, 2017

It was once easy to spot a phishing email because, after all, why would an exotic prince need your help to recover millions of dollars?

Nowadays, though, things look a lot different. Many phishing emails are works of art, carefully crafted to trick all but the most careful recipients.  Fraudsters create sophisticated and professional looking email copy, complete with graphics, logos and the names of company officials, that make them harder than ever to deceive.

It is no wonder that in a new survey from the Center for Digital Government, state and local technology leaders named phishing as their top cybersecurity concern. And it wasn’t even close – 76 percent of respondents named phishing as a cybersecurity concern, followed by 58 percent who named malware and 43 percent that named hacking attempts.

Bringing Cyber Leaders Together

These cybersecurity challenges affect almost every state and local government, no matter the size. One of the benefits of working in government is the community of collaboration. Without needing to worry about profits or shareholders, government leaders are free to work with one another and share best practices.

The Symantec Government Symposium, to be held December 5 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C., provides leaders – from federal, state and local government – an opportunity to discuss their biggest security challenges and find common solutions.

This year’s event features a number of state and local technology leaders who will share best practices to address their most pressing cyber challenges. Special presentations of note include:

  • Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, long recognized as a political leader who understands the value of technology, will address national cybersecurity challenges. Gov. McAuliffe understands the challenges associated with state technology, including how to best fund projects, the importance of protecting citizen information and how states can work together. Gov. McAuliffe, the former chairman of the National Governors Association, will also discuss how governments across all levels are coordinating their cyber strategies to bolster the national security posture and protect against the growing implications of cyber sabotage. He has been instrumental in growing Virginia’s economy by stressing how important the cyber field is and how impactful this industry is to help create economic resiliency.
  • Roisin Suver, the Center for Internet Security’s Multi‐State Information Sharing and
    Analysis Center (MS‐ISAC) Senior Liaison to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), will broadcast a live webcast from the event. The webcast will focus on smart cities, cybersecurity and the intersection of the Internet of Things. Suver will host her webcast alongside an all-star panel. Maricopa County CISO Robert O’Conner and Symantec Director of Policy and Government Affairs Thomas MacLellan are confirmed and additional speakers will be announced soon. The panel will discuss the growth of the Internet of Things and how state and local cyber professionals are coordinating efforts to bolster data security in an age of connectivity. This will serve as an opportunity for those who cannot make the event in-person to still gain valuable insights.

Along with these presentations, state and local technology leaders will discuss topics such as insider threats, smart cities and how to make smart cybersecurity investments. There will also be speakers from the federal government, industry and academia who will provide a different perspective on the issue of cybersecurity.

The Fight for Funding

The Center for Digital Government survey also illuminated another long-standing issue within the state and local technology community: a lack of funding. State and local governments largely struggle to adequately fund comprehensive cybersecurity programs. In the survey 60 percent said they face budget constraints, making it their top pain point.

Budget constraints have become all too common for state and local technology leaders. State and local governments were hit the hardest during the 2008 recession and in just the last few years have seen funding levels begin to return to those levels. During that gap, though, many state and local governments fell behind in terms of modernizing their cybersecurity technology, making them a higher risk for a breach.

State and local agencies do receive funding from the federal government and benefit from growing information sharing platforms, but finding creative ways to provide proper cybersecurity on a tight budget remains a constant challenge.

As the Center for Digital Government survey shows, state and local governments continue to face difficult challenges when it comes to cybersecurity and budget constraints. The best way to overcome these challenges is to share information and best practices and come together as a community. The Symantec Government Symposium aims to help foster communication and collaboration between these stakeholders to help solve complex challenges with bold solutions.

If you are a state and local technology leader interested in attending, please register here. To follow along during the event or to see updates to the program prior to the event, please follow @SymantecGov and #SymGovSym.