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Municipal Information Systems Association: Day 2 recap

This week I'm in Kelowna, BC at the MISA Fall 2018 Conference, learning about how municipal IT departments are collaborating to ensure every citizen has access to safe, reliable connected services.
By Rob Williamson
Marketing Manager

This week I’m in Kelowna, BC at the MISA Fall 2018 Conference, learning about how municipal IT departments are collaborating to ensure every citizen has access to safe, reliable connected services.

In and out of being on booth duty and meeting tons of committed IT managers, I got to attend a couple of the sessions at the MISA Fall 2018 conference. With Day 1 a success, Day 2 proved to be valuable as the sessions included some crunchy technical topics, with a couple standing out in particular.

The changing expectations of the millennials mindset

The cybersecurity sector is categorized by its fluidity – in order to be cybersecure, you have to be open to constant change and adaptation to mitigate new threats. The opening keynote for Day 2 was delivered by Cheryl Cran, author of The Art of Change Leadership: Driving Transformation in a Fast-Paced World.

The talk focused on the changing nature of work and its influence on the expectations of people (an interesting way of looking at it). “Millennial”, which typically describes people who fit into a certain age cohort, is more than that – it’s a mindset that provides a classification that crosses generations. Cran addressed many of the expectations that these different mindsets have and how they are neither wrong nor right. It is simply what they are. People responsible for managing change shouldn’t question these mindsets any more than the colour of the sky on a clear day. Here are some fun takeaways from this talk:

  1. There are more people who own electronic devices than toothbrushes.
  2. The human brain consumes 34 GB of information per day.
  3. By 2025, 50% of workers will work remotely.

Collaboration by sharing IT best practices, tools and techniques

Moving on to a talk delivered by Trace Muldoon, Manager Governance and Engagement with the Province of BC. The scope of what the BC provincial government is doing for its municipalities to help them with cybersecurity is impressive, and certainly something to be modelled. Like many good talks, she led with the pain that resonates with many cybersecurity professionals: that covering the basics only stops 80% of the threats. Complimenting this stat is the 61% annual growth in cyber incidents.

The BC government’s vision is to raise the level of security across the public sector and has a “Defensible Security” (DefSec) program to help – a so-called “smoothie” of best practices to support local governments.

BC municipalities are like many others across Canada in that they are, on average, smallish and organized in districts that cover vast areas, served by relatively small departments. Many of these groups would not have the resources to create their own frameworks and use them across their technical and user teams. BC municipalities that become part of this program get a host of tools and services related to awareness, vulnerability assessments, thought leadership, courses, consulting, news digests and more. These tools and techniques aren’t just about the machinations of IT but on how to engage the users and residents when needed. Several attendees extoled the virtues of the program so the benefits were not simply the opinion of the presenter. 

Thanks to those who CIRA met at MISA BC Fall 2018 and to the organizing committee.

About the author
Rob Williamson

Rob brings over 20 years of experience in the technology industry writing, presenting and blogging on subjects as varied as software development tools, silicon reverse engineering, cyber-security and the DNS. An avid product marketer who takes the time to speak to IT professionals with the information and details they need for their jobs.