Utilizing big data may be an attractive option for many companies, but recent cybersecurity breaches have the public growing cold on the idea. Although there are many potential benefits from the use of these types of initiatives – including a greater understanding of public health, genetic risks in the development of chronic illness, and the obesity epidemic – big data use may become hard to sell to citizens. Government technology solutions unfortunately must rely on the public accepting these projects in order for any headway to be made. Many local agencies may want to use these new programs, but will they be able convince people of their safety?
Martin Richards, a professor of family research at Cambridge University, said that, “There is a strong public interest in the responsible use of data . . . However, If we don’t get this right, we risk losing public trust in research, and ultimately missing out on the benefits this type of research can bring.”
Security now allows for better results later
IT infrastructure solutions for local government agencies may include investment in encryption and the cloud – two programs that can allow workers to more easily keep information safely out of the hands of terrorists and criminals. Long-term investments in utilizing modern IT technologies, including cloud computing, are important for maintaining security over these types of public works projects. By investing in security options today through the use of the cloud, agencies can ensure that they won’t suffer from the loss of public will that can follow a major breach. Devoting resources to preventing disasters can be considered the first step toward effective use of government resources.
The lesson that local agencies need to face is that any losses they incur from being hacked will feel worse to their local constituents than those felt by larger organizations that, ironically, have larger budgets to spend on security. The best way for these groups to deal with the disparity is to utilize solutions that allow them to punch above their weight in terms of security. Cloud computing can let an organization store information on servers safer than their own. All of this should be done in the name of assisting the people. These new programs in public health and in civic safety are worthy goals. The use of public information for big data analytics has the potential to help millions – if they can be convinced to agree to it.