The tools available to law enforcement have grown tremendously over the years. Weapons, radios, body armor, and vehicles used to be the essential tools for policing.
Now networks, laptops, video cameras, GPS, and cell phones co-exist with gear previously needed for the job. These devices bring a wealth of information into policing – commanders can look at crime trends in real-time, review citizen and officer actions, and find out what kind of car Joe Bob drives and who he was hanging out with last week. Information is a game-changer for law enforcement.
This massive collection of reports, images, videos, and communications can be corrupted or lost so quickly that no one realizes the danger until after the files are gone or held for ransom.
To minimize risk and get the most benefit from your technology, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Have a ‘responsible person’ who keeps up with the organization’s IT needs. Whether internal staff or a contracted company, every agency needs someone knowledgeable about network security and best practices.
- Keep your hardware and software up-to-date. While there may be some challenges with patches and upgrades, the risks of not staying current could result in a disaster. Have a plan for updating equipment and applications.
- Find one or two good sources of cyber security information to review regularly, such as the Texas DPS Cyber Security Newsletter (https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/cyber-security/cyber-security-newsletters) or the Missouri Cyber Security site (https://cybersecurity.mo.gov/resources/) The FBI and most states have resources available to keep agencies informed of current threats.
- BACKUP EVERYTHING and test to make sure it can be successfully restored. This is something everyone knows, but most don’t take the time to verify the process. SQLTrak is a Cardinal application that will monitor your database health, backup your database, and help you restore your SQL database quickly.
- Never presume that you are secure. The internet was designed to share information. Unfortunately, this also includes ransomware and viruses. These are serious threats, even to a small agency that wouldn’t appear to be a target of an attack. Create a strategy for when a disaster occurs.
If the worst does happen, and your RMS data is compromised, our Support Team can help with reinstalling Cardinal Public Safety applications as needed, but we can’t restore the data without a backup. If you have questions or would like more information about taking care of your data, please contact support and we will be glad to discuss options and best practices.
Preventive maintenance keeps our vehicles running, our weapons cleaned and oiled and our information safe and accessible. It’s about taking care of our tools.