Are you tired of the same old 'AI will change the world' narrative for 2024? So are we. Dive into something different and practical. Amidst the sea of articles, blogs, and podcasts all echoing AI's transformative impact—a story we've all lived in 2023—we've done something different. We've sifted through the noise to bring you the top 10 predictions for 2024, focusing on real-world implications for state government agencies. Although AI is mentioned in our predictions, we intentionally omitted the term from the titles, instead focusing on the substance of the prediction and its implications for state agencies and the communities they support.
And there you have it; our 2024 predictions highlight the need for state government agencies to significantly enhance their cybersecurity posture, focusing on AI-based defense systems, robust protection against ransomware and phishing, securing cloud environments, and being vigilant against misinformation and large-scale attacks. In light of these challenges, it's imperative for state agencies to not only review but also actively implement comprehensive IT security standards.
While it's commendable that all states have security measures in place and most mandate security protocols for government agencies, the rapid evolution of cyber threats requires a more dynamic and holistic approach. Recent legislative developments advocate for a statewide, thorough strategy encompassing security and oversight. These laws increasingly mandate specific actions to safeguard sensitive data from unauthorized access, modification, or disclosure. This includes mandatory training for state employees, periodic security audits, and developing robust standards and guidelines.
The question now is: Have your state agencies embraced and executed a thorough security protocol? Two frameworks stand out as industry benchmarks – the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001 and 27002. The NIST Framework urges an immediate, independent operational risk assessment of state infrastructure, applications, and data to identify and prioritize high-risk areas. This framework also aids in strategizing and updating systems to the latest security versions, thereby minimizing risks from outdated systems.
Moreover, states should take advantage of federal initiatives like the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). This program offers a standardized methodology for assessing, authorizing, and continually monitoring cloud computing services. By adopting FedRAMP, states gain insights into secure cloud services, saving time and resources by not having to develop their own security assessment products. With many cloud providers, including Salesforce, already FedRAMP compliant, states should prioritize these vendors to ensure high-quality cloud products and services.
Where did we come up with these predictions? As mentioned at the start of the article, we sifted through many predictions from respected policy, technology, operations, and business professionals. We had to exclude many excellent predictions in this article due to space constraints. Some predictions were merged into a more comprehensive one, while others were not included because they were too complex, irrelevant, or too far-fetched. Other predictions were not included because they were obvious and did not require repetition.
Our friends at Government Technology gathered some great predictions from several top industry reports. For more information on cybersecurity predictions, we recommend these two articles: