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4 Ways Modernization Can Build Constituent Trust

Modernization can empower government agencies to meet their constituents’ expectations while securely expanding their digital footprint.

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Governments now deal with increasing data complexity at the same time they must contend with a relentless threat landscape, legacy systems that reduce IT visibility and increase their security exposure, and heightened constituent demand for digital services.

All this amounts to a perfect storm that further highlights the need for modernization. Modernization will require not just technology transformation, but also cultural transformation in government. The public sector can harness modernization to build constituent trust in four main ways:
  • Improving their data center operations
  • Enabling a development security operations (DevSecOps) approach
  • Bringing IT and the business closer together
  • Facilitating vendor management to reduce third-party security risks

Improving data center operations

Unpatched legacy hardware and software solutions make it difficult for government agencies to onboard new technologies that are better equipped to meet modern security threats. They also increase security risks that can lead to breaches and other security incidents that expose constituents’ data and thereby undermine their confidence in government organizations.
A modern data center, whether in a public, private, or hybrid cloud, gives agencies the flexibility to scale their computing resources based on demand and changing business requirements. They can also take advantage of improved availability and reliability to enhance the performance of constituent-facing applications and integrate security automation tools, such as security information event management (SIEM) systems and advanced threat detection and response platforms, to strengthen their security posture.

Overall, a modern data center can streamline IT management, reduce data silos for more effective inter-agency and cross-department collaboration, and allow agencies to cost-effectively expand their IT capacity to improve constituent interactions with government.

Enabling a DevSecOps approach

As governments modernize their operations, being nimble and agile will be critical to enhancing the constituent experience.
Governments can increase their agility by adapting how development and security teams work together. A DevSecOps approach is one of the most effective ways they can bring about this type of organizational transformation. This approach involves integrating security into every part of the development life cycle to improve application, device, and infrastructure performance.

DevSecOps also increases governments’ resilience and agility because security is top of mind at the outset and isn’t patched on at the end of the development pipeline where it can add significant costs and lead to delays that prevent optimal service delivery or increase the risk of a breach that compromises constituents’ faith.

Going forward, governments will need to innovate, but this all starts with changing how they collaborate. DevSecOps is one strategy they can implement to drive more meaningful collaboration and achieve their larger mission to better serve the public.

Bringing IT and the business closer together

DevSecOps isn’t the only cultural transformation governments will need to undergo. State and local governments must also bring IT and business teams closer together to modernize their operations.

Governments are now integrating more software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions and enterprise platforms into their ecosystems, which means they must break down the traditional organizational silos to streamline how they do business and drive more robust enterprise security. IT and business teams must collaborate to advance their organizations’ data and security maturity, build more effective risk management practices, and cultivate a security-minded culture.

While the pathway to accomplishing these goals will vary by organization, agencies can consider strategies such as creating shared KPIs and mission objectives for these teams, establishing cross-functional team meetings to track progress, and implementing tools that allow for more effective knowledge-sharing between these teams. Taking these steps will foster greater enterprise collaboration and better position governments to protect and maximize their use of data.

Facilitating vendor management to reduce third-party security risks

While the steps we’ve outlined will go a long way toward helping agencies reduce their internal risks, in a world now defined by hybrid work and digital services, they’ll also face ongoing external risks as they integrate more third-party solutions.

As agencies attempt to build a more robust risk management program and holistic security strategy, effective vendor management must be an integral part of their efforts. Modernization can help agencies better manage an increased attack surface by giving them the necessary tools and capabilities to thoroughly assess the risks third-party vendors pose. Advanced vendor risk management software, assessment tools, and accompanying governance policies can enable governments to classify vendors by risk level, conduct regular independent audits to validate cloud services, and undergo ongoing vulnerability assessments as their security environment changes.

A comprehensive third-party risk management strategy is critical to build greater constituent trust because it can greatly reduce the likelihood of data breach — and the potential reputational and operational impact if this event were to occur.

Cultivating Greater Trust in Government

As governments work to build a modern, 21st-century operation, they must never take constituent trust for granted.

Trust is never a given — it must be earned. Governments can do their part to earn trust by modernizing their data centers, considering implementation of a DevSecOps approach, fostering greater collaboration between IT and business teams, and developing a more robust third-party risk management strategy supported by modern technologies and governance practices. With this multi-faceted approach, agencies can accelerate their path to digitally driven modern organizations, bolster enterprise security, and deliver a best-in-class constituent experience.