Every type of organization faces IT challenges. These challenges are often unique to the industry in which the business operates. Industries have different technology requirements and need to deliver diverse business services to their clients and customers.
In municipal government, agencies must serve the public. Government agencies have the responsibility of delivering services and support to their communities in a reliable and safe manner.
Technology increases the public’s access to government services. However, managing, maintaining, and protecting this technology can be a struggle for municipalities.
Here’s an overview of 3 top IT challenges municipal governments face.
1) Budget Constraints
Most IT departments are forced to work on a tight budget, but municipalities must fund their IT with tax dollars. Governments run programs that do not generate profits, limiting potential sources of IT funds.
Government budgets tend to shrink rather than grow. Money gets reallocated on a regular basis. Government IT departments are in competition with many programs for tax funds. Funds also must be used within a certain time frame or be lost.
For these reasons, municipalities need to find cost-efficient ways to build and run their data centers and networks.
2) Outdated Infrastructure
Because government agencies work with limited IT funds and shifting legislative and administrative priorities that impact budgets, their infrastructure is often outdated. Municipalities may operate using legacy systems, some of which may have lost support after reaching end of life.
If legacy systems break down, governments may lack the resources or know-how to get them back up and running. Downtime can deprive constituents of vital services. When public-facing applications and portals don’t function, constituents get frustrated, and rightly so.
Recent issues with sites used to apply for unemployment benefits are a case in point. When people tried to apply online, they were confronted with error messages or frozen screens. Third-party software could have bugs, and networks struggle to cope with increased traffic.
Municipalities should use the latest in networking, software, and data center solutions to ensure that they are available when community members need them.
3) Security Threats
Municipal governments sometimes find themselves under attack by cybercriminals. Government agencies handle sensitive information related to their constituents and local infrastructure.
This information could be used to commit identity theft or fraud. If hackers gain access to systems related to critical infrastructure, they could shut down vital resources or create havoc in the community.
Municipalities can also be targets for ransomware. In 2019, CNN reported that, by the fall of that year, 140 ransomware attacks had targeted local and state government organizations, as well as healthcare institutions.
Government agencies may feel the pressure to pay the ransom for the decryption key rather than spend days or weeks trying to solve the problem themselves. After one major Northeast metro city suffered a recent attack, the mayor refused to pay the five-figure ransom. The Baltimore Sun reported that the resulting costs reached an estimated $18.2 million.
Better Technology for Better Government
Municipalities should partner with a technology provider that is familiar with the challenges government organizations face. Government agencies need guidance on what technologies best meet their goals while allowing them to stay within a tight budget.
FirstLight is an expert in providing technology for government organizations. We have experience working with government branches in the Northeast and specialize in delivering network and telecommunications solutions that meet their needs. We even offer services in New York State on an OGS State Contract.
FirstLight’s encrypted wavelength solution ensures that sensitive government and constituent data can be transmitted safely without interfering with user experience.
Learn how FirstLight helped a branch of the government in the Northeast upgrade its IT infrastructure. Read our New Hampshire Judicial Branch Case Study. Interested in learning how FirstLight can help municipalities with their unique IT challenges? Talk to us today.