Augusta #IT defending #local government #information #against #hackers

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — You might not think about it when you pay your water bill or even your car tag but you give your local government a lot of personal information.

According to experts, local governments are a big target.

“We have so many different facets of technology all in this local government,” said IT Department Head, Tameka Allen.

In a city surrounded by a cyber boom, Augusta’s own IT department stands out.

“We have received a slew of awards in the last few years that I am very proud of,” she said.

Tameka Allen heads the department and in the last year they’ve picked up more than half a dozen awards recognizing their work on streamlining across the government and for the people who use it. But they also work hard to protect your information.

“It is very challenging, you have to think about it; the people that are out there who are targeting in trying to hack the system is what they’re spending the majority of their time doing.”

Dr. William Hatcher with Augusta University says local governments have a high risk when it comes to hackers. “Property tax information financial information criminal information things at the Sheriff’s Office might’ve gotten in relation to an investigation.”

Including payment information from when you pay your water bill or your taxes.

Hatcher says local governments are targets because they’re difficult to protect.

“They run more of a risk of being attacked because the resources are stretched and then it’s difficult for them to respond to those kinds of attacks.”

Augusta’s IT Dept. works around the clock to protect that information.
“You have to have a lot of various things in place, you have to have somebody that is monitoring it – every day all day,” said Allen.

Allen says their team has to be committed to protecting your information and improving the whole city. “I think Augusta is going to continue to grow with those cutting edge of minded people.”

Allen says another challenge is keeping all of the great cyber minds because there’s a lot of competition.

Augusta University is working on a study to help improve cybersecurity for local governments across the nation. Augusta will be part of that study.