Public safety agencies already have a challenging job to do. In addition to protecting the public, they must also protect sensitive data that comes with the territory. Data security and compliance are incredibly complicated, and it takes a knowledgeable and well-equipped team of IT professionals to prepare and maintain each properly. Without proper preventative efforts, sensitive information can be easily compromised, leading to a loss of trust and significant financial consequences.
These high requirements are why many public safety agencies are turning to managed service providers (MSPs) to take care of their day-to-day IT and compliance tasks. If your agency is still handling IT for itself and is convinced that it doesn’t need assistance, here are three reasons why you should reconsider.
1. Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)
Whether you’re part of a small law enforcement agency with just 10 officers or a federal agency with 10,000 employees, you must comply with Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) requirements. CJIS is a certifying agency that establishes compliance regulations and checkpoints that need to be adhered to by government agencies. CJIS standards ensure that sensitive information and data are transmitted carefully and are limited to people with proper access.
Whether or not your agency complies with CJIS regulations, you could be audited by the FBI to ensure your agency is compliant. If the FBI finds indicators that your agency fails to comply with CJIS regulations, you will receive a list of requirements that must be addressed quickly. Some of these requirements are simple, like keeping proper signage on your door and using secure passwords on your computer. Other requirements are incredibly complex, such as installing and using a secure, properly maintained server, a firewall, managed hardware, and more. Failure to comply with the outlined regulations can result in the FBI removing access to crucial databases, issuing fines, or even pursuing criminal charges in more severe instances.
More intricate CJIS compliance standards require extensive IT knowledge, and the average public service agency does not have the experience or staffing needed to handle such matters swiftly and thoroughly. The requirement to meet every component of these complicated standards is one reason why hiring a CJIS-certified IT team is crucial. These engineers must complete CJIS-approved background checks, including criminal background checks and fingerprinting. They must also complete CJIS training classes and pass a final test to earn their certification.
At Bit-Wizards, our Managed IT Services (MITS) team is CJIS certified, meaning every member is trained and permitted to handle a public service agency’s sensitive data and communicate with them about it. This certification standard allows our entire IT team to work on and maintain all aspects of your network, taking that load and stress entirely off your public safety employees. We can quickly assess the points outlined in your audit and get your agency fully compliant with CJIS guidelines. Check out our case study article to learn how we helped the Shalimar Police Department pass an FBI audit with flying colors, enabling them to continue operations as usual by making the required adjustments and avoiding any interruptions or consequences.
2. Secure efficiency
In addition to keeping your agency compliant with federal regulations, MSPs can make your day-to-day life easier. Managing technology might not be your agency’s top concern, but you need working technology to do your job effectively. Your MSP can help you set up, manage, and maintain all your IT services while keeping all your tech secure, functional, and compliant. The range of services applies to everything from computer passwords to external communications.
Many MSPs can supply you with security features like:
- Virus protection
- Advanced threat protection for email
- Alert monitoring
- Personnel training
- Regular backups
Services like this will protect your IT while saving your team’s time and your agency’s money in the long run. Fortified security features will help prevent your public safety agency from falling victim to a cyberattack, hack, or breach. Thorough inventory management can ensure that any of your agency’s outdated hardware and software are updated with the latest built-in security measures. Personnel training will also educate your agency’s employees on best practices while streamlining their workflows. By taking a multi-faceted approach to security efforts, your agency can be more protected from cyberattacks and more prepared to handle potential incidents.
MSPs can also migrate your agency’s programs and infrastructure to the cloud, enabling you to take advantage of tools built for efficiency in everyday life and professional operations. At Bit-Wizards, for example, we use Office 365, Outlook, collaboration and storage tools like SharePoint, communication applications like Teams, and so much more. These cloud-based services can be a game changer for daily tasks, increasing your agency’s overall efficiency and resiliency.
3. Continued support
Public safety agencies play a critical role in communities of all sizes, often delivering life-saving services and support. Dealing with IT downtime or inefficiencies should never be a factor for your agency. Many MSPs offer significant IT support, with engineers ready and available to help you quickly, which is especially crucial for public service agencies.
In the case of Bit-Wizards, our IT Help Desk is comprised of certified, experienced IT engineers who want to assist you. We hire engineers based on their expertise and ability to provide friendly, professional support to our clients, ensuring our team is well-equipped to help everyone we encounter. At Bit-Wizards, your agency is our partner. It’s our job and pleasure to help you with any IT needs.
Additionally, support and communication are automatically streamlined if your agency works with an MSP team comprised of only CJIS-certified members. This streamlined process allows anyone on the team to help you when an issue arises, eliminating the need to hold or wait for the right person to become available during an emergency or time-sensitive situation.
Don’t wait for an audit or emergency to arise
Your agency will get excellent service from a MITS provider like Bit-Wizards. Our engineers will tirelessly help you pass any FBI audits or meet any CJIS requirements. With Bit-Wizards as an IT partner, your data stays private and secure, your agency gains the ability to take on any audit sent your way, and your day-to-day workflows become significantly easier.
Ready to hire our MITS team for your agency? Contact us today.