Information technology professionals serving local governments of all sizes have been called upon to help maintain the delivery of essential programs by enabling remote work, sometimes for staff who had never worked from home, and managing all the logistical and security issues that come with a remote workforce. BPI and IT departments everywhere are doing this all while dealing with a stressful and constantly changing environment.
We have learned:
- Security comes first.
- Update and test your Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity plan.
- Create a telework policy and ensure that all essential staff are outfitted with mobile devices with VPN.
- Communicate often and share information.
- Be prepared to shift to supporting users by phone and email.
A study by the Public Technology Institute conducted surveys and interviews with CIOs and other local government IT leaders to understand how local government IT professionals are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. The results show that local governments are responding by using new tools, processes, and capabilities to meet urgent demands, and these changes create their own new challenges.
As more government employees work from home and use video or teleconferencing platforms that they may not be used to, 41% of CIOs shared that they have experienced a dramatic spike in IT help-desk requests.
98% of IT departments have been called on to provide access or support for virtual meetings and video conferencing for other departments. The top three platforms being used are Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, and Zoom.
17% of CIOs stated that they have had to install new broadband capacity to increase overall internet connectivity to address teleworking demands and capacity.
14% of IT departments have increased server virtualization.
CIOs in the study, like our Virtual CIOs, have developed technology policies to secure teleworking environments by implementing stricter controls, such as:
77% require VPN connectivity
54% permit users to use only approved software
53% require users to have malware on their devices
Almost all CIOs use the following security measures:
- MultiFactor Authentication
- Phishing testing and training
- Inventory equipment in use by employees who work from home
Several CIOs disclosed that as a common practice, they have contracts in place with third-party vendors and other business partners that they are able to utilized during emergency situations. This can be an asset in your organization’s resiliency and continuity planning.
For many local government professionals, shifting to working from home has illuminated gaps in IT services, most notably:
- Network security
- Infrastructure management
- Cloud security
- Broadband management
- Network operations
Of the IT leadership lessons to be learned, and shared:
Practice your resiliency and continuity of operations planning.
We are your IT partner! Communications with staff, elected leaders and management, other departments is imperative.
Assume employees may need to work remotely and plan accordingly.
Use electronic means of conducting business, for example, accepting forms online, holding virtual meetings, or electronically signing documents.
Cybersecurity is paramount.
Network and share with other local governments, state agencies and federal partners.
BPI’s extensive experience, qualified professionals, and customizable services can help your organization create tailored solutions to fill gaps in your IT services. Let’s talk (248) 357-3980