GovTech (April 5, 2021)
By Doug Robinson, NASCIO, and Matthew T. Cornelius, Alliance for Digital Innovation
The past year of the pandemic has pushed government leaders at the federal, state and local levels to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and bolster cybersecurity protections of their networks, information systems and websites. The American people, now more than ever, are relying on government websites for critical digital services and authoritative information – from COVID-19 vaccines to finding polling locations for elections. With rampant misinformation, disinformation and spoofing campaigns often conducted by sophisticated nation-state actors, government websites, especially at the city and county level, remain incredibly vulnerable. They need to be trusted.
One of the most glaring cybersecurity risks facing local governments is the woeful pace of adoption for .gov top-level domains (TLDs), which are the trusted source for government information and services. A lack of prioritization and attention from successive Congresses and administrations have left the .gov program under-resourced and unknown to many local government entities, which might explain why barely 10 percent of local governments have a .gov. Thankfully, a recent tweak in a large appropriations bill may have finally provided this critical infrastructure the authorities, visibility and resources to effectively meet this important cybersecurity challenge.