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Municipalities and state governments are constantly seeking ways to do more with fewer resources. With the pandemic, the related financial crisis, and recent unrest, rainy day funds are being depleted. Federal assistance may be a long time coming, if it ever does. The economy is also slow to return to life to provide needed revenue.

In lean times, IT spending is one of the first line items to be cut. According to researchers at IDC, only a tiny fraction of the $3.8 trillion in spending approved to combat the effects of COVID-19 will ever be used for government IT projects. Due to budget cuts, investments in new infrastructure will be delayed. Projects that were already underway may not have the funding to be completed. Eventually, core IT services will suffer the ill effects.

Government agencies need to avoid the downward spiral created by a lack of IT funding. Municipalities and state governments must find economical ways to use technology to support their constituents and ensure they are accessible.

fix-aging-infrastructure-with-firstlight-solutionsThe Effects of an Aging Infrastructure

As IT infrastructure ages and necessary refresh projects get delayed, government systems become vulnerable to downtime and data loss. Equipment fails because it hasn’t been upgraded. Hardware and software reaches end of life and no longer receives support from the vendor. Your agency experiences outages and must scramble to troubleshoot the causes.

Government agencies can’t afford to lose sensitive constituent data or information related to important projects. Constituents also expect your agency to be available to them when they need vital services. Business continuity needs to be maintained if your agency wants to retain the trust of the public.

The Risk of Inadequate Data Protection

Backup and disaster recovery (DR) technologies deliver the levels of business continuity your organization needs. However, when the government budget is tight, investments in improving backup and DR strategies get delayed as well. Backup and DR solutions are your only safety net if you have increasing risk of data loss and downtime from an aging infrastructure.

Government organizations should be following the 3-2-1 rule for backup. They should be making 3 copies of files, on at least 2 types of storage media, with at least one copy being stored off-site. To do so, the government needs to invest in backup storage capacity and off-site data center resources in a colocation or in the cloud. 

stay-up-to-date-with-cybersecurity-with-firstlight-solutionsFalling Behind on Cybersecurity

One area you cannot afford to defund is cybersecurity. These technologies safeguard your organization against harm. When cybersecurity measures languish, your organization can’t do enough to protect itself against threats.

Backup and DR function as a cybersecurity tool when ransomware strikes. A ransomware attack could end up costing the government millions even if the agency refuses to pay the ransom. In 2019, a major city in the Mid-Atlantic region ultimately reallocated $6 million of its parks and public works budget to pay for ransomware remediation after a ransomware attack that spring.

Having a sound backup and DR plan that provides off-site backup and enables instant failover can prevent data loss after a ransomware attack or other type of cyberattack. Backup and DR can also save your agency the spiraling costs of trying to get your systems back up and running after an attack.

Moving Forward & Reducing Risk During a Financial Crunch

When budgets decrease, risk goes up, but there’s less money to spend to combat it. That’s the downward spiral that could actually lead to a catastrophe.

When IT budgets are thin, or skill gaps can’t be filled by budgeted FTEs, a good solution could be to work with a regional cloud and managed services provider that can plug in where services are needed. They can also provide a scalable service that can cover critical gaps where needed while keeping an eye on future initiatives that need to be implemented.

Backup and DR don’t have to be costly, and now isn’t the time to have an inferior backup or DR solution. FirstLight can help find the right balance between keeping costs low and providing the protection a government needs to ride out the storm. We specialize in working with government organizations, so we understand the risk landscape and how to navigate it efficiently.

Our cloud-based backup and DR provide an economical way of protecting and securing government data. Cloud backup resources can be scaled up as requirements increase and can be paid for on an affordable and predictable monthly basis. FirstLight owns the cloud resources we use for backup and recovery and supports it with our high-speed fiber optic network.

Get the details on FirstLight Backup and Recovery as a Service (BRaaS). Read our solution brief.