How to Maintain Essential Operations During Crises

by Mike Tannian on September 01, 2022

Public sector agencies need to be able to function in a crisis. NEOGOV's HR document management software lets staff access information anytime, anywhere.

Article Highlights

Emergencies happen frequently and without warning. They often bring critical operations in cities and counties to a standstill. They can leave municipalities in a tough situation, cutting off their ability to access, control, and share mission-critical information.

Of course, there are training exercises to help agencies and municipalities cope with these problems. But it's also important to have an infrastructure that allows your employees to access critical information like policies, procedures, and emergency communications.

Problem: Essential Operations Halt During Crises

Although the public sector trains for emergency response, plans often hit speed bumps when crises strike.

Cyberattacks have been on the rise over the last few years. From 2019 to 2021, there were 246 ransomware attacks on U.S. government organizations, 175 of them on city and county governments. Over those same years, 39 of the 50 states had at least one municipality that was the victim of a ransomware attack.

A majority of those municipalities refused to pay the ransom. In 2019, Baltimore refused to pay a $76,000 ransom but spent $18 million responding to and recovering from the attack. In 2020, New Orleans suffered an attack, refused to pay the ransom, and spent $7 million recovering. And Atlanta refused to pay a $52,000 ransom but spent $2.6 million trying to recover.

If your public sector agency is ever the victim of a cyberattack, you may spend millions to recover your systems rather than paying the ransom. Your employees won’t be able to access their critical information, or worse, it may be part of a data breach.

We're all familiar with the havoc that pandemics wreak on both the private and public sectors. Crises like COVID showed that we need extra communication to help employees feel safe and secure. We also saw that working from home was not only possible, it was a necessity. In those situations, people need to be able to view, sign, and access frequently changing policies and procedures. And your HR team needs to be able to quickly collaborate and update on new and changing policies to maintain employee safety and productivity.

When disaster strikes, NEOGOV’s government compliance software, Policy, helps municipalities continue critical operations. Learn how Policy helped the City of Durham in the middle of a malware attack and pandemic.

Solution: Government HR Compliance Software

NEOGOV's HR document management software can help you save millions by being proactive. Our software complies with the highest standards in data management and security. With your policy data securely hosted on external cloud-based servers, your municipality or agency can protect itself against cyberattacks.

NEOGOV has an organization-wide governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) program that identifies, assesses, mitigates, and monitors threats to our customer’s data and the infrastructure supporting our services, with several security mechanisms in place.

If ransomware criminals ever attack one of your government agency’s networks, NEOGOV’s Policy lets you maintain job-critical operations by working through our external servers. You won't notice a difference in performance.

The access control feature lets you set access levels for individuals and custom groups for every important document. You can share documents with specific departments, job levels, or assignments.

You can manage cyberattack response folders and create groups with varying permission levels, so policy admins across the city or county can access pertinent documents and share them with their staff.

Thanks to our mobile app, your staff can access, sign, and receive push notifications about documents from any device. You and your admins can manage users and folders and publish, disseminate, and archive documents.

During a pandemic or other widespread shutdown, NEOGOV’s Policy can help HR and city managers navigate crises and emergencies.

  • Collaborate on new and updated policies via automated workflows.
  • Communicate important updates to staff quickly and reliably, especially to those in the field (i.e. police officers, EMTs) who need info on how to safely engage citizens who could be infected.
  • Verify that staff have received, read, and signed those policies.
  • Automatically remind employees to sign pending policies.

The Benefits of Government HR Policy Software

Government compliance software like Policy helps you and your organization be proactive in case disaster strikes. If employees ever work from home or remote locations because of a natural disaster or pandemic, they can still access critical documents without delay. That means they can continue to operate during an emergency, even if they can't return to the office. And in case of fire or flooding, all your mission-critical documents are safely stored in the cloud.

If hackers and cybercriminals try to shut down your city or county government with a ransomware attack, your information is stored on external servers with a backup in another location, so you can still function without losing your valuable documents.

This can help you save tens of thousands of dollars in ransom costs or millions of dollars in recovery costs. You'll protect your employees and your citizens by using cloud-based software.

Final Thoughts

Over the last couple years, we've learned the importance of accessing critical information from anywhere – whether it's our homes, remote locations, or out in the field. When dealing with important policies and procedures that determine how your city or county government runs, your information should be stored in a secure and centralized cloud-based location. 

NEOGOV's Policy is stored on external servers so your important policies, procedures, and other documents are available to staff based on their job function, title, or clearance level. If you'd like to learn more about our HR document management software, sign up for a free demonstration today.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Director of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value to public sector HR professionals at every stage in the buying journey.