Is your government organization’s IT system secure?
This is something that may be difficult to properly determine due to the constantly evolving nature of IT systems in general.
Because the security standards that were in place during the initial set-up of your IT systems (or even when you last updated them) may no longer meet the standards of today.
Given the rise in cybersecurity attacks in recent years, properly assessing the security of these systems may mean the difference between enjoying another smooth workday and having to deal with a troubling data breach.
A simple way to evaluate the security of your IT systems is through the use of a SWOT analysis. For anyone unfamiliar with the acronym, SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
The exercise involves the identification of internal and external issues that work in favor of or to the detriment of the health and security of your IT systems.
This approach to IT security works best when performed systematically which, in short, means defining your security objectives before initiating the SWOT analysis.
These objectives can be anything from reducing the chances of cybersecurity breaches to determining the vulnerability of your organization’s Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
There are many options to choose from, but a good rule of thumb is to ensure that whatever objectives you set can be measured with relevant metrics.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to take a closer look at some example Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that may be relevant to your local government organization.
For smaller local governments, one strength can be the size of the organization.
A larger organization can have more loose ends that are difficult to tie down, while a smaller organization may be nimbler, have tighter internal communication, and be easier to keep secure.
Another strength may be the number of IoT devices in use, such as cameras, routers, etc. Does your data center exist in a climate-controlled environment? If so, this would also be a strength since it increases system reliability, which reduces potential downtime.
Determining the weaknesses of your organization’s IT system can be a bit trickier than pinpointing its strengths.
Most weaknesses tend to be technical in nature, and as a result, they can be as small as having poor cable management or as large as lacking an overall patch management system.
The important thing when identifying weaknesses is to ensure that they are well-defined so that it is easy to act on them.
Some other weaknesses might include a lack of antivirus programs, not employing a reasonable number of staff on tech support, or not having a defined security culture within the organization.
Unlike weaknesses, identifying opportunities for your IT systems can be a fairly straightforward process. Are there new software tools that can improve your security? What about tools that could automate previously manual processes?
Does your organization have a surplus of funds, and if so, would it make sense to allocate them to your IT department? Such opportunities are typically low in cost and can save your organization a vast amount of time, money, and energy if acted upon.
Threats, like opportunities, are generally easy to define. For instance, open Wi-Fi connections are an obvious threat as they grant network access to individuals with malicious intent.
Another threat that is easy to overlook is the age of your computer systems, since older systems may slow productivity and result in unnecessary downtime.
Depending on the location of your organization, it may be prudent to consider environmental threats to your IT systems. Would your data centers be susceptible to damage via earthquakes? What about hurricanes?
Identifying these threats may also help you recognize opportunities. For instance, if most of your data centers are on-site, it may make sense to experiment with cloud storage.
How to Begin Your SWOT Analysis
The first place to begin a SWOT analysis is with a good template, which can be found in the document linked here. There are other templates online that may better suit your organization, so feel free to look elsewhere. The next step is to begin the security assessment.
Attempting to assess the security of your organization’s IT system can be a difficult internal task for many reasons. One reason may be that your team is too close to the problem to clearly see it. Another might be that your entire team is too busy to deal with it appropriately.
These barriers, among others, are why hiring an experienced outside assessor could help. Someone with expertise in this area would be able to smoothly analyze all four parts of your IT system’s SWOT without much difficulty.
If your organization has neither the time to handle a full SWOT analysis on your own, nor the budget to hire an external assessor, don’t worry.
Another viable exercise is to set up a two-day workshop where everyone within the IT department of your organization brainstorms a list of strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats.
This would by no means be as thorough as a formal SWOT analysis, but the effort could still go a long way.
The most important thing is to take action sooner than later, especially since the number of cybersecurity threats aimed towards government organizations is only going to increase as technology inevitably continues to advance.
Expert Cybersecurity Tips on Demand
Understanding how to conduct a formal SWOT analysis is important, but it’s only one facet of protecting your IT system from cybersecurity attacks.
To continue your learning, ETS offers a wide selection of quality videos, ebooks, and courses covering a variety of IT and management-related topics.
Become proficient in relevant subjects such as phishing, malware, ransomware, and more. You’ll gain access to the knowledge needed to improve your system’s security so that, when the next threat comes your way, you’ll be more than ready.
Schedule your free consultation to learn more.
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