Free Cybersecurity Website Launched as Oakland County Honored as National Tech Leader for 16th Consecutive Year

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Oakland County has launched a cybersecurity website that offers residents, schools, businesses and neighboring counties cybersecurity training, advice and connections to help them prepare and defend themselves from cybercriminals and cyberattacks.

The website includes security training videos on COVID-19 cyberscams, best practices and how to work from home safely, County Executive David Coulter said.

“Oakland County continues to be a national technology leader through its vision, innovation and collaboration,” Coulter said. “Industry experts tell us there is a one in three chance an organization will experience a data breach within two years at an average cost of more than $8 million. These modern attacks are not merely expensive inconveniences – they put people’s health, safety and lives at risk. This website provides valuable guidance and resources to help all of us improve our cybersecurity at work, school or home.”

The website, found at www.oakgov.com/cybersecurity, was created after a recommendation from the “Secure IT Oakland” cybersecurity and infrastructure task force, which Coulter formed in March. The website focuses on residents, K-12 education and small and medium businesses, providing guidance on various security and privacy topics such as how to safely telework, avoid cyber scams, how to self-evaluate and mitigate your organization’s cyber risk, and how to respond to a cyber incident. The website will soon include additional items such as vendors who have been vetted by the county, relevant and timely training, and lists of local organizations with specific cyber expertise.

“Under the leadership of Deputy County Executive Sean Carlson and Director Mike Timm, our Department of Information Technology has a well-earned reputation for excellence and its proactive approach,” Coulter said. “I congratulate them and the IT staff for their fine work on behalf of the residents of Oakland County and our communities.”

The launch comes days after Oakland County was honored by the National Association of Counties and the Center for Digital Government, ranking it among the most digitally advanced counties in the United States.

The county was recognized with three NACo awards and a seventh-place finish nationally by the Center, for innovation, commitment to the cybersecurity of county data and its willingness to assist neighboring counties involved in security incidents. It is the 16th consecutive year Oakland County has been named one of the best in the country.

The Center, in partnership with NACo, annually hosts the Digital Counties Survey. It ranks counties by population and evaluates such factors as accomplishments, citizen engagement, cybersecurity, data governance and transparency, sustainability, disaster recover/continuity of operations and connected infrastructure. Oakland County was the only Michigan county recognized in the top 10 in any of the five population categories.

“We applaud this year’s Digital Counties Survey winners for maximizing the benefits of technology in serving our residents, especially during a time when technology has become even more instrumental in connecting people and places,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “The Digital Counties Survey demonstrates how we embrace cutting-edge approaches to strengthening our communities and achieving healthy, safe and vibrant counties across America.”

The NACo awards recognized Oakland County for excellence in additional cyber-security tools/monitoring, leadership in building out a government data center in the cloud and ingenuity for its Fire Records Management system.

In its comments, the center praised the county for continuing to make cybersecurity a priority.

“Oakland County’s cyber capabilities have also been mature enough to allow it to assist neighboring counties with incident response and restoration of services after significant security incidents,” the Center wrote. “At the same time, its commitment to enterprise-wide training and risk awareness — and its plans to imminently deploy more automation and (artificial intelligence) cyber tools — reinforce the county’s commitment to staying on top of things when it comes to defense.”

Timm said he was proud to be part of the information technology team.

“In a year where we’ve dealt with the coronavirus, this IT team has demonstrated its resiliency, quality, focus, dedication, flexibility and professionalism,” Timm said. “It delivered on its plans and promises, pivoting to handle the extra needs related to remote work, online services, data sharing and communication. All this while maintaining the consistency of strategy and delivery recognized with another top 10 award.”