How Laws and Compliance Relate to Cybersecurity
Although advancements in technology have brought efficiency, workload improvements and cost-effectiveness to the space, they have also made local governments more vulnerable to cybercriminals. As serious cyberattacks like the ransomware incident in the City of Atlanta crop up more and more, it is crucial for local governments to understand how to secure data storage and ensure meeting documents are always accessible at the same time. Compliance and security are both components of good governance. Therefore, implementing sound cybersecurity practices helps to ensure that all relevant laws are being followed and that compliance is regarded as a priority within local government organizations.
Many modern hackers are looking at smaller, local governments as low-hanging fruit, taking advantage of the fact that most local governments barely have any budget to allot to cybersecurity efforts. As local government board members are entrusted to protect their citizens’ sensitive data and serve the community effectively, dedicating enough time to cybersecurity planning is vital to the ongoing success of the municipality and the well-being of the public. Best practices for laws and compliance indicate the need for the right digital tools that work to safeguard sensitive information while still providing needed transparency and access to citizens.
The Role of Board Portals in Laws and Compliance
Boardroom technologies such as board portals completely automate laws and compliance processes for local governments. At face value, board portals are extremely helpful tools for managing meetings and document storage, but they can do so much more than that. When approaching the often daunting tasks involved in auditing, policy management, compliance management and risk management, local government professionals can tap into the power of a board portal to streamline each process and save valuable time and resources.
As the umbrella of laws and compliance includes all federal, state and local laws and regulations, municipalities should look for a board portal provider that can guarantee the portal system meets the government’s legal compliance requirements. With automated compliance management functions like workflow, controls and reporting, the right board portal can bring efficiency and ease to regulatory reporting and compliance so that local government professionals can focus more on serving their citizens effectively.
Understanding Meetings and Procedures for Laws and Compliance
Open meeting laws are a critical component of laws and compliance for local government boards. Under the laws, also referred to as Sunshine Laws, meetings must be held “out in the sunshine”, or in a publicly accessible time and place so that citizens may attend. Incidences such as rolling quorums violate open meeting laws and can put an entire board’s credibility in jeopardy, threatening public trust and thus civic engagement. Rolling quorums are when meetings occur without a full quorum present and board business is discussed. This, as well as anything that could constitute a secret meeting – including personal email chains, conversations over a meal, or even a social outing – is something local government council members must be painstakingly careful about.
As the minutes of a meeting serve as a legal and public record, local governments must be sure they are recording complete and accurate meeting minutes that are readily accessible to the public. Additionally, councils should fully understand elections processes and procedures for their jurisdiction to maintain compliance with local requirements. As municipalities continue to adopt certain technologies and improve the ways in which they serve citizens, maintaining a strong understanding of meetings and procedures is a vital best practice for local government laws and compliance.