Cyber Remains Priority for Local Governments


A new survey by CompTIA’s Public Technology Institute (PTI) found that 97 percent of local government IT executives consider cybersecurity a key priority for the current fiscal year (FY), in line with findings since the survey was first administered in 2014.

However, the tenth annual State of City and County IT National Survey also found that boosting cybersecurity skills is their top priority when it comes to addressing the IT workforce skills gap. Workforce retention and attraction was a brand-new top priority listed on the 2023 survey.

The survey sampled a total of 61 local government IT executives that represent all types and sizes of local government in February and March of this year.

“Due to the impact of the COVID pandemic and the shift of how work is, or can be, done (remote versus at a facility), competition with the private sector for IT talent, in combination with an increase in retirements and resignations, means many local governments are struggling to retain current staff and fill vacant positions,” the report says.

In addition, the survey found that IT executives also considered modernizing outdated IT systems and applications (62 percent), innovation and applying technology in new ways to help solve problems (52 percent), and IT workforce retention and attraction (50 percent) as top priorities.

When asked about budgeting for IT, 53 percent of respondents said they expect an increase of five percent or more for their next FY budget – a significant increase from the 2022 (33 percent) and 2021 (17 percent) survey results.

Several respondents considered the relationship between local government IT executives and the state CIO needs continued improvement.

Only 12 percent of local government executives stated that their jurisdiction’s relationship with the state CIO is excellent, and 27 percent shared that the relationship is good, but limited. However, 52 percent of local government IT executives said that their relationship is non-existent.

Regarding emerging technology that is on the radar for local governments or in some phase of adoption, the adoption of AI topped the list. Automating technologies were identified by 78 percent of IT executives, and AI was identified by 65 percent of respondents.

The report concludes by offering several recommendations for local government IT executives including:

  • Implementing innovation and emerging tech to improve government services;
  • Tackling the challenge of retaining and attracting qualified IT professionals; and
  • Developing better relationships with elected leaders, management, partner organizations and agencies, and vendor partners.