How State and Local Governments Can Keep Private Citizen Data Private With a Unified Data Protection Strategy

JANUARY 11TH, 2024

Hackers are increasingly targeting state and local governments. Sophos’ The State of Ransomware 2023 report found that 69 percent of state and local governments had been victimized by ransomware, with 76 percent of those attacks resulting in data being encrypted. Even worse, government entities are faring worse when stopping ransomware attacks, with just 19 percent of attacks blocked before data was encrypted.

As with most industries, the root causes of these attacks are common: exploited vulnerabilities and compromised credentials are the leading causes, while email-based attacks like phishing and business email compromise (BEC) are the next most frequent cause. 

Citizen Data Is at Risk

Hackers see opportunities because state and local governments collect and store vast amounts of personal data—social security numbers, medical records, election data, and more. This data is a treasure trove for cybercriminals to leverage for identity theft, fraud, and other malicious activities. That’s why government entities feel compelled to pay the ransomware after a successful attack. But that can be costly, with more than a quarter of state and local government organizations paying over $1 million in ransom. 

The consequences of a data breach for state and local governments can go well beyond dollars. They can bring public services to a halt and create mistrust among constituents. That’s why your state or local government agency must do more to keep private citizen data private. 

Current Data Protection Efforts Are Inadequate

While your government entity may be aware of the threats you face, your efforts at data protection and ransomware prevention may need to be improved for many reasons. One of the most prevalent issues you may be up against is a fragmented approach to data security, with different departments and agencies operating in silos, relying on varying security protocols and data protection technologies.

Without a unified approach to data security, you may be exposing vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. That brings us to AI and the breakneck pace with which hackers use it to develop more sophisticated attack strategies. Keeping up with these evolving threats can be daunting, and tight budgets and a lack of skilled cybersecurity professionals on staff can make matters worse.

Ensuring your entity’s data is protected doesn’t have to be overwhelming. But it does take a unified data protection strategy.

The Power of Unified Data Protection and Immutable Storage

There are plenty of reasons a unified data protection strategy makes sense. First and foremost, it ensures a standardized approach to data security across all government agencies and departments, reducing vulnerabilities. It also saves money by eliminating duplicated resources, costs, and efforts. 

Most importantly, it ensures a unified approach that ensures you put advanced and comprehensive security measures in place and that those measures can evolve as cyber threats evolve. 

A foundational component of a unified data protection strategy is the 3-2-1-1 backup rule. The rule dictates that you keep three copies of your data stored on two different media, with one copy stored offsite for disaster recovery. 

The last “1” in the 3-2-1-1 rule means that you should keep one copy of your data in immutable storage. TechTarget says that immutable storage is virtually impervious to ransomware because your data is saved in a write-once-read-many-times (WORM) format that can’t be altered or deleted. So, you can always count on recovering your data in the event of a successful attack. You can also ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, which is increasingly essential because 13 states have enacted privacy laws designed to further protect consumers’ personal data.

Look for Cost-Effective Unified Data Protection

Arcserve Unified Data Protection (UDP) cost-effectively delivers on the promise of data resilience for state and local governments. The software’s cloud-based management console—Arcserve Cloud Console—or available on-premises private management console provides a seamless user experience from which you can protect data across your government entity.

Arcserve UDP lets you store your backups directly on cloud object storage for increased availability, durability, and scalability. The software supports Amazon S3, Wasabi, and Google Cloud Storage, reducing your total cost of ownership (TCO) and bolstering your disaster recovery capabilities with cloud-based offsite safe stores. Arcserve UDP also ensures immutability in the cloud with support for Amazon S3 Object Lock and Google’s immutable object storage feature and on-premises in devices such as Arcserve OneXafe network-attached storage.

Built-In Cybersecurity Protection

Data protection starts with prevention, so Arcserve UDP includes Sophos Intercept X Advanced for Server. The software, like Arcserve Solutions, uses a multilayered approach to data protection, disrupting the entire attack chain by employing a deep learning neural network to detect known and unknown malware without signatures, preventing attacks proactively. 

The Sophos solution features CryptoGuard, which uses behavioral analysis to stop previously unseen ransomware and boot record attacks. The included WipeGuard feature offers advanced protection by preventing hackers from encrypting the master boot record (MBR) and providing root cause analysis.

Unsure of Your Defenses? Data Protection Help is a Click Away

Arcserve technology partners are here to help you put effective data protections in place that are cost-effective and fit your budget. Find an Arcserve partner here.

To learn more about Arcserve UDP, check out our 30-day free trial offer or schedule a demo.