Not too long ago (OK it was quite a while ago), I served on a federal team that investigated defraud transactions at Federally insured financial institutions across the nation.
I won’t age myself by giving any dates for this historical time in my life, but I will say that it was before any organization, even federal agencies, had any of today’s highly sensitive concerns around protecting customer information. I am not certain that identify fraud even existed as a recognized crime. Every transaction for credit involved physical paperwork. You had to have a physical paper ticket to board a plane and everyone could stand around at the gate, even people who were not getting on the plane. It’s not that we didn’t care about customer information, it’s just that no one thought the information had a value to anyone but the customer. People were more trusting and, in comparison to today’s crime rates enhanced by the digital world, could truly give one another the benefit of the doubt to make morally correct decisions.
With that context in mind, I want to share a short story with you. I was flying across the country to bust a huge banking fraud case that I had been trailing for months. And do you know where all my confidential, federal-eyes-only paperwork was? In a briefcase under my seat, flying coach. That’s right – if that briefcase had gotten lost or popped open at the baggage claim, I was in serious trouble. But I wasn’t sweating bullets or, really, remotely nervous about the situation – that’s how we carried our business back then. There were no laptops, tablets or even smartphones. Customer data didn’t live in a Cloud – it was either filed in a cabinet or by my side.
After having my fun in this career phase, I transitioned into serving as a CIO for housing authorities and other government entities. And do you know one of my most significant, career milestones? Implementing dinosaur, desktop computers with MS DOS, Lotus 123 and WordPerfect word processing software on it! There was no product called Windows or Excel and MS Word has not been stolen…err, invented, yet. The people and the agencies were thrilled at the speed of typing versus handwriting and the ability to save digital notes on a computer instead of worrying they’d get lost, crumpled, shredded or coffee stained. The use of spreadsheets replaced calculators. They celebrated the achievement and regularly touted its benefits to customers as a competitive advantage.
Implementing this simple technology was a celebrated, innovative win for governments back then – true history-in-the-making! But today? Not so much.
We’ve grown apathetic to digital transformation. The ability to synchronize our phones, laptops and tablets with one another doesn’t phase anyone. When we can’t electronically sign documents, we get irritated at the inconvenience. “Can’t we just do it all online?” is a common gripe that personnel at the DMV, secretary of state, social security office, housing authorities and other governments are tired of hearing – although probably agree with!
New capabilities are developing so rapidly that we can’t keep up and just expect to browse the latest and greatest at our convenience. As a matter of fact, we’ve grown to expect innovation and expanded capabilities from Big Tech on a regular basis – there’s very little appreciation for what we’re able to do today compared to just a decade (OK, maybe more than a decade) or so ago.
Since the pandemic forced our nation into a significantly remote workforce, customer protection, auditable processes and transparency, multi-factor authentications, digital evidence management and other regulatory technologies have never been more critical. And thanks to several federal grants, organizations have been given more opportunity than ever to seriously explore and implement more secure, mobile-friendly and self-serve practices that better service their staff, customers and ultimately the bottom line.
If there was ever a time to be counter-cultural, to appreciate and capitalize on our opportunities, it’s now. I’ve been fortunate enough to see technology through its infancy and be a part of its transformation of federal and state agencies to date, so believe me when I tell you the significant difference it truly makes just to rethink a few processes and prioritize what’s important in the here and now.
If you have any questions about what capabilities will best serve your government entity and constituents in the coming years, or just want to talk past lifetimes about saving the world one defrauded banking operation at a time, I’m all ears.
Collecting and Reconciling Payments is a Sore Spot for Many Local Governments
When the world went remote almost a year ago, payment processing came to a screeching halt. Even if local governments did find a way to redirect payments, they lacked the communication to tell citizens how to go about it. Consequently, cities are now set back months in revenue.
Local government are now prioritizing effective citizen communication, especially during a crisis, and continuity plans for core services – both goals that will stem from improved IT infrastructure.
Read the full Route Fifty article here.
Transforming Uncertainty Into Confidence for 2021
What a difference a year can make.
Remember this time last year when we all declared 2020 as the year of clear vision? With a list of goals in front of us, we welcomed the year by daring to dream of what the next 12 months could hold if we could just keep a grip on our own motivations and plans.
But when 2020 started unfolding in unexpected, devastating ways, we declared it the worst year many of us have ever experienced. A pandemic, civil unrest, a tumultuous election, social isolation, lost jobs and, worst of all, lost loved ones, seemed to be the common thread among our nation – it seems we were unified by widespread hardship
The Hyland Cloud: Castle-Like Security Suited for Royalty
A ring of fire, the moat, a drawbridge, archers and more are protecting the precious gem that is your core enterprise system – do you fear the enemy?
Of course not! When your business model is safeguarded in the Hyland Cloud, its castle approach to security is always on high alert, designed to immediately retaliate against data breaches and other security threats. Defenders of data protection since 2004, experts on the Hyland Cloud team happily absorb all your usual system security responsibilities so you can relax and focus on higher-priority projects.
Federal and State Governments Collaborate to Improve IT Infrastructure and Cybersecurity
The national hardship ushered in by the pandemic compounded a 1,500 percent increase in traffic to unemployment systems and benefit claims.
With systems stretched to the max, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is urging congress for federal grants to state and local governments so they can transition off legacy systems and invest in modern platforms that can better serve constituents, especially during periods of unprecedented unemployment.
Additionally, NASICO is asking for cybersecurity funding to defend against the rise in ransomware attacks on state and local governments, especially with so many government staff now working remotely.
Route Fifty reports that, currently, half of the states allocate less than 3 percent of their total IT budgets to cybersecurity.
What Can We Do For You?
ImageSoft has been bringing affordable, adaptable enterprise content management systems to state and local governments for quite some time. Our industry-leading solutions for government offer automated workflows, improved speed and efficiency, reduced costs and proper compliance.
ImageSoft is ready to help your organization reap the benefits from integrated enterprise content management.