State and local governments face many challenges, but ensuring a municipality has a reliable and efficient information technology (IT) infrastructure is key to overcoming them. IT affects everything from public safety to economic development. Secure and up-to-date systems can help municipalities run more efficiently, save money, and provide better services to citizens. However, if a municipality’s IT infrastructure is outdated or inadequate, it can lead to decreased efficiency and increased security threats.
What Are Some Examples of IT Infrastructure in Municipalities?
As we become increasingly reliant on technology, it is imperative that local governments keep pace with the world around them. IT infrastructure is essential for municipalities to function effectively. This infrastructure includes hardware, software, and city-wide networks that connect city employees and residents. Internal and external email, government websites, automated meter readings, and online utility payment systems are just a few examples of how information technology impacts municipalities at every level. These systems help city employees to communicate and collaborate effectively, manage city finances, and track crime trends. Without these systems, it would be much more difficult for municipalities to function effectively. City officials must also balance the need for improvements with the need to keep costs down. As a result, they must carefully consider which upgrades will have the most significant impact and which can be put off for another time.
How Are the IT Needs of Local Governments Different From the IT Needs of Small Businesses?
Municipalities have a broad range of IT needs that are different from businesses. City governments must support various organizations, including utilities, fire and rescue, and police departments. While municipalities’ IT needs may not be business-impacting, i.e., they won’t lose customers, the burden of outdated infrastructure can fall on the citizens. If the online portal for tax payment is down and citizens are unable to pay what’s due, they may still be subject to late fees, penalties, or worse, even though, technically, they aren’t at fault. Businesses, on the other hand, need to be up-to-date with their information technology systems in order to stay competitive and avoid losses. Typically, they have more focused IT needs and can update their infrastructure as required.
What Happens if a City’s IT Infrastructure Is Outdated?
Unfortunately, many local governments’ attitude toward IT is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if it is broke, slap some duct tape on it.” However, as the world has become increasingly digitized, municipalities are constantly threatened by cyberattacks due to their history of outdated network systems. One of the most common and damaging attacks is ransomware, which encrypts city government data and demands a ransom for the key. Phishing scams are also becoming more common, as hackers lure city employees into clicking malicious links that can give them access to sensitive information. Outdated IT infrastructure makes government entities especially vulnerable to these attacks, as they often don’t have the latest security features and are slow to adopt new technologies. This puts city governments at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to protecting their data and leaves them open to potential disasters. State and local governments must make sure that they are on the cutting edge when it comes to cybersecurity; otherwise, they will continue to be at risk for malware invasions.
Budget constraints are a reality for all levels of government, especially when it comes to infrastructure support. Cities often don’t consider allocating funds toward infrastructure support until there’s a problem, and by then, it’s often too late. However, there are ways to circumvent financial limitations. Outsourced IT companies, like Neptune 9, are often willing to be flexible regarding what they get paid upfront vs. how much they’ll be paid during the next budget cycle. This flexibility allows cities to get the IT support they need without breaking the bank. So if you’re looking for ways to work with available government resources, outsourcing your IT needs is a great option to consider.
The Importance of Keeping a City Connected
In today’s connected world, it’s more important than ever for cities to maintain a reliable and robust IT infrastructure. Utility companies need to be able to quickly and easily collect payments, police need to have access to real-time data, and the offices of elected officials need to be able to operate efficiently for the sake of their constituents. A connected city enables all of this and more. Automated meter readings, automated citations, and body cams are just a few ways a connected city can improve efficiency and safety. And, because all of this data is managed by IT, a city with a reliable infrastructure can also help save money on maintenance and operations costs. In short, a connected city is a smart city, and a smart city puts its citizens first.