Compare / Contrast IT Security Policies

Partnerships for Improving State and Local Government Cybersecurity

Prepare a one page briefing statement (3 to 5 paragraphs) for a group of state government employees and local government city managers who are interested in learning more about the benefits of working with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). Their specific interest is in obtaining help in preventing data breaches since state agencies and city governments collect, process, transmit, and store large amounts of private information about individuals. This information includes

    • Student Records (K-12)
    • Online Reservation & Payment Systems for Parks & Recreation Facilities
    • Hospitals (Patient Records)
    • Vital Records (Birth / Death Certificates)
    • License Applications (Marriage, Business, Driver’s Licenses)
    • Building Permits (including architectural drawings and property information)

    Your briefing statement should provide an independent perspective on the services provided by MS-ISAC and address concerns about the affordability of the ISAC’s services. Answer the questions:

    • Will working with MS-ISAC reduce the risks of data breaches in my organization?
    • Why or why not?
    • Who else could each city partner with to reduce the risks and impacts of data breaches?


    Provide in-text citations and references for 3 or more authoritative sources. Put the reference list at the end of your posting.

    Timeliness of Initial Posting
    Briefing Statement or Paper
    Timeliness of Postings
    Quality of Discussion Postings
    Overall Score

    Topic: Cybersecurity for Local and Municipal Governments

    In many ways, cybersecurity is as much a local problem as it is a state, national, or international problem.  Local governments are smaller and have fewer available resources than state governments or the federal government. Yet, their IT operations face the same or substantially similar threats from insiders, hackers, criminals, and other “bad actors.”

    Local governments collect, store, process, and disseminate sensitive information about residents and businesses within their jurisdictions. Local governments also collect fees, taxes, and utility bills through online payment systems. Residents may be able to apply online for business and marriage licenses. Records of births, deaths, wills, and real estate transactions are maintained in IT systems operated by local governments.  These IT-based activities almost invariably involve some form of connection to the Internet.

    For the readings this week, we begin with a brief overview of the roles, responsibilities, and powers of local governments. As you read, you should make note of the degree to which local governments are empowered by the states in which they are located. This empowerment may be through the state’s constitution or through laws and regulations enacted by the state government.

    Usually, local governments are empowered by their states to levy and collect taxes and fees to support their operations and programs. But, few localities have a sufficient tax base to provide funding for all of their citizens and residents wants. This means that local governments usually operate in a resource challenged environment and must make every dollar count. Every dollar spent on Information Technology or Cybersecurity is a dollar that is not available for education, parks, road maintenance, and garbage pickup. This means that local politicians and managers may not have the funding available to invest in cybersecurity beyond the bare minimums required to meet the requirements of independent auditors and insurance companies.

    We will also examine the types of information which local governments are responsible for, how the localities may be vulnerable to cyber attacks, and the measures that some have taken to protect the information and infrastructures for which they are responsible. For examples of online services and types of information held and processed by local governments, please see these websites for local governments near UMUC offices in Adelphi and Largo, Maryland:

    Finally, as you read and review this week’s materials, think about how advances in technologies, from Smart Cities to Smart Cars to Smart Homes, will impact cybersecurity requirements for towns, cities, counties, and other local governments in the very near future. You will have an opportunity to study some of these technologies and associated vulnerabilities in later courses in the CSIA major.

    Major Assignment due this week: Paper #3: Compare / Contrast IT Security Policies between two state governments.

    Rubric Name: Paper #3: Compare / Contrast IT Security Policies (Rubric)