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Office of the State Comptroller - Local Government & School Accountability

Local Government and School Accountability

Publications - Information Technology Security

Information Technology Security Brochure  [2009]
Understanding the Risk | Addressing the Risks | IT Guides |
Useful Resources | LGSA Office Contacts

Understanding the Risk

Regardless of their size or complexity, local governments and school districts all face similar information technology (IT) security risks. Threats such as worms and viruses, cyber attacks, the loss of sensitive information and identity theft are ever-evolving, so local government and school district officials must be diligent about understanding the risks and taking appropriate steps to mitigate them. Securing a computer system can prevent security breaches that can be very costly – not just financially, but also in productivity losses, negative publicity and lost confidence from residents.

Addressing the Risks

Free, comprehensive guidance is available to assist local government and school district officials in addressing the myriad IT risks they face. This guidance is available through the website of the New York State Office of Cyber Security (OCS). This website serves as a central source of information on IT security and specifically addresses issues pertaining to local government cyber security.

This Local Government Management Guide provides a summary of some of the resources available on the OCS web site and provides the web addresses to easily find the resources.

IT Guides

Of particular interest to local government and school officials is the following series of brief, nontechnical guides. These easy-to-read guides are designed to provide local government and school district officials with timely information on cyber security issues to lessen the risks that they may face.

Local Government Cyber Security Guides (http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ocs/local-government/):

  • Getting Started
  • Beginners Guide to Firewalls
  • Internet and Acceptable Use Policy Template
  • Erasing Information and Disposal of Electronic Media
  • Cyber Incident Response Guide
  • Guidelines to Backing Up Information

Useful Resources

(Note: All web addresses were valid at time of publication.)

The OCS website has a wide variety of additional resources available to assist local governments and school districts in addressing their IT risks. The following is a summary of just some of these available resources along with the web addresses where the information can be found. Visit the website to see the complete offering of resources from the OCS.

New York State Office of Cyber Security (OCS)
Website: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ocs/local-government

Cyber Security Awareness Brochure [pdf] - describes information security concepts and defines steps required to safeguard information properly. Topics covered include:

  • User IDs and Passwords
  • Protecting Your Information
  • Firewalls
  • Wireless Security

Cyber Security Corner (http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ocs/awareness-training-events/) - provides resources to show how you can protect your information, such as:

  • Informational videos titled “Protect Your Computer,” “Protect Your Information,” and “Protect Your Family”
  • Monthly Cyber Security Tips Newsletters
  • Cyber Security Awareness Toolkit to promote the delivery of a consistent cyber security awareness message

Informational Presentations on information security awareness and its importance (http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ocs/local-government/) - Sessions available to view include:

  • Information Security in Local Governments
  • Continuity Plans and Procedures
  • Implementation of a Cyber Security Program

Training Opportunities for free and discounted training from various organizations. Check the website for a list of current offerings.