Cybersecurity in Santa Clarita: What measures are being taken?

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Cybersecurity has become big business throughout the US recently, and its growth shows no signs of abating. The rapid surge of the digital age has brought an increased need for employment in jobs that would not have existed until recently. With this increased growth comes the increased threat of cyber-attacks unfortunately. The more businesses are digitised, the more businesses rely on data, and the more opportunities exist for cybercriminals to hack. The cybersecurity market has therefore grown exponentially, to the point where investors now see cybersecurity stocks as an attractive option.

In California, the cybersecurity market is seeing huge growth, sparking interest from businesses large and small. Where complacency reigned in the past, they are now realising that cyber security is not something to be ignored. Businesses are waking up to their responsibilities to protect their customer data. New job opportunities for young people exist, including apprenticeships, career shadowing, and internships, providing a direct route in to an exciting career doing something really worthwhile – working to protect us all.

The issue is particularly pertinent in Santa Clarita just now, as the city prepares for its cyber security summit on November 6th. This event will provide an important platform to discuss the issue of cyber security. Santa Clarita based IT company, Resurgence will host the event, which aims to educate senior business executives about the need for decisive action now to protect against cyber-attacks. Dr Kent Rhodes will be the keynote speaker, addressing the audience around how organizational culture and leadership plays an essential role in cyber security management.

The council in Santa Clarita is also taking the issue very seriously, bringing in new measures for its outdated voting systems by 2020, in time for the primary election. The new system, VSAP (Voting Systems for All People) will improve the experience for voters and make counting the ballots more efficient for election workers.

Residents will cast their votes at one of the 1,000 voting centres, with electronic rosters gathering real time data so everyone will know they have already voted. This new system will help combat electoral fraud, which can occur when someone attempts to vote at several different polling stations. Each site will have tablet computers where people can mark their choices. The machines can also generate a paper ballot for security purposes.

At present, voters are sent a booklet with details of who they can vote for, but under the new system they will have access to a pre-mark system where they can make their selection electronically prior to polling day. The system generates a QR code which voters can bring to the station and have scanned on the day. It is hoped the system can speed up the voting process and will be more convenient for voters, however some have concerns that the QR code element of the process could be open to fraud. In fact, Colorado banned a QR code system from being used in its voting systems due to the fraud risk.

The new VSAP system was put through its paces in a mock election on September 28-29th at College of the Canyons. We hope such rigorous testing procedures will mean that any risk of fraud will be fully eliminated from the system prior to full roll out.  

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