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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|
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:
- Town: http://uppermarlboromd.gov/
- City: http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/
- City: http://www.cityofbowie.org
- County: http://countyclick.princegeorgescountymd.gov/
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.
List of Topics and Sub-Modules for Week 6
Rubric Name: Paper #3: Compare / Contrast IT Security Policies (Rubric)
2: Compare / Contrast Two State Government IT Security Policies
Volunteers have been recruited to help state governments improve their cybersecurity practices. The coordinating committee has decided that the first task these volunteers undertake will be a comparative analysis which examines the strengths and weaknesses of existing IT Security Policies for state governments (agencies and offices of the executive branch under the leadership of the state governors). Since you volunteered early, you have your pick of any two states’ IT Security Policies from the list published by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MSISAC). (See item #1 under Research.)
1.Select two state government IT Security Policies. Use the list at https://msisac.cisecurity.org/state/ (if you encounter a broken link, you may search for that state’s policy or choose a different state).
2.Download and review your selected state governments’ IT Security Policy documents.
3.Develop five or more points which are common across the two documents. (Similarities)
4.Identify and review at least three unique items in each document. (Differences)
5.Research best practices for IT Security and/or IT Security Policies for state governments. Here are two sources which you may find helpful:
6.Using your research and your comparison of the two policy documents, develop an answer to the question: Why should every state government have an IT security policy for state agencies and offices under the state’s executive branch?
Write a five (5) to eight (8) page white paper in which you summarize your research and discuss the similarities and differences between the two IT security policy documents. You should focus upon clarity and conciseness more than length when determining what content to include in your paper. At a minimum, your white paper must include the following:
1.An introduction or overview of IT Security Policies for the executive branch of state governments (covering state agencies and offices in the executive branch including the governor’s office). Explain the purpose of an IT security policy and how it is used. Answer the question: why should every state in the nation have a comprehensive IT security policy for state agencies and offices? (Make sure that you address the importance of such strategies to small, resource-poor states as well as to large or wealthy states.)
2.A separate section in which you discuss the common principles and policy sections / statements (similarities) found in both IT security policy documents.
3.A separate section in which you discuss the unique aspects of the first state’s IT security policy document.
4.A separate section in which you discuss the unique aspects of the second state’s IT security policy document.
5.A section in which you discuss your evaluation of which state government has the better of the two IT security policy documents. You should also present best practice based recommendations for improvements for both IT security policy documents. (Note: you may have different recommendations for the individual policies depending upon the characteristics of each document.)
Submit For Grading
1.Submit your white paper in MS Word format (.docx or .doc file) using the OPEN Data Assignment in your assignment folder. (Attach the file.)
2.You must also submit your white paper to TurnItIn before the due date for this assignment.
1.Your white paper should use standard terms and definitions for cybersecurity concepts. The following sources are recommended:
a.ISACA Glossary http://www.isaca.org/pages/glossary.aspx
b.Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/Legacy/SP/nistspecialpublication800-144.pdf
2.You are expected to credit your sources using in-text citations and reference list entries. Both your citations and your reference list entries must comply with APA 6th edition Style requirements. Failure to credit your sources will result in penalties as provided for under the university’s Academic Integrity policy.
3.Use APA 6th edition style (formatting) for the organization and appearance of the MS Word document that you submit to your assignment folder. This includes margins, section headings, and consistent use of fonts (Times New Roman 12 in black), paragraph styles (first line indent by ½ inch), and line spacing (double). Formatting requirements and examples are found under Course Resources > APA Resources. Your file should contain both a title page and a separate References page. Use page breaks to ensure that the title page and references page are separate from the body of the paper.
4.You are expected to write grammatically correct English in every assignment that you submit for grading. Do not turn in any work without (a) using spell check, (b) using grammar check, (c) verifying that your punctuation is correct and (d) reviewing your work for correct word usage and correctly structured sentences and paragraphs. These items are graded under Professionalism and constitute 15% of the assignment grade.