In organizations all over the world, sustainability has become a watchword. This may be especially true in the public sector, as governmental and civil sector agencies are often tasked with the responsibility for implementing, overseeing and policing society’s sustainability initiatives. For as much political talk as exists around “government waste”, public sector entities have led the way in introducing sustainable policies, actively seeking ways to be better “green citizens”. Having a duty of care as a steward of the public good, and a responsibility to meet sustainability objectives, public sector agencies, big and small, have made strides in reducing energy consumption, introducing recycling initiatives, implementing green procurement programs and requirements, and so forth.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, a smaller-scale crisis has emerged. Government and public sector websites tasked with some of the most important tasks in society, such as administering unemployment insurance claims and other benefits and providing access to crucial services, including applications for Covid-19-related financial aid, have buckled under the sheer weight of demand. Downtime has crushed essential sites globally, which have been overwhelmed by unheard-of levels of traffic.
Headlines in both mainstream and tech media are ablaze with cautionary tales and exclamation points: government and public sector websites are big security targets now -- and in the future. Germany’s defense minister, for example, has sounded the alarm: cybersecurity has to be a priority because attacks targeting governments will grow in frequency and severity and may even threaten global stability on several fronts: geopolitical, environment, technological and economic.
Public sector websites and apps may not get a lot of love because, for the most part, they are taken for granted by those who use and need them the most. These sites deliver the foundations of what societies and their populations need. Whether it’s garbage collection information, applying for unemployment payment benefits, or getting real-time information on a health crisis or natural disaster, governmental organizations bear numerous responsibilities and the public’s trust.