According to a Mark43 report, 82% of first responders worry that their organization’s data could be stolen or fall victim to ransomware. This is a 6% increase, showing a need for enhanced security like cloud-based computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and records management systems (RMS).

Ninety-one percent of first responders have experienced cybersecurity-related issues in the past year like phishing, scam calls and malware attacks. Scam calls and malware/viruses are now the leading cybersecurity concern for first responders, overtaking phishing from last year’s survey.

Ninety-two percent of first responders also are somewhat or very concerned about how their agencies would handle a tactical response to cyberattacks or physical attacks at large-scale events like sports games, concerts and conventions.

A majority of first responders are also very concerned about the impact of natural disasters and power grid failures on their agencies, with 84% reporting that such events can overwhelm public safety agencies and impact the service they deliver to their community. Ninety-six percent would be somewhat or very concerned if on-site mission-critical servers that are used in on-premises systems were in a location in the path of a hurricane or other major weather event.

More than two-thirds (67%) of first responders have experienced dispatch outages, and 88% have experienced other IT malfunctions. Eighty-four percent of first responders using CAD systems have experienced a CAD outage that impacted response times, including over a third (35%) who experience CAD outages six to 10 times per year. Seventy-five percent of first responders reported that inefficient IT systems cause outages, delays and other malfunctions. 

First responders also lay out solutions for the cybersecurity, disaster recovery and dispatch outage concerns and problems they report, including their top three: more accurate reporting (52%), increased efficiency (51%) and increased data security (51%), all of which are easily attainable with modern cloud-native systems.

Ninety-three percent believe the general public would feel better if their local public safety agencies were required to adhere to federal cybersecurity standards, like FedRAMP, which mandates a premier and standardized approach to security and risk assessment for cloud technologies.

First responders and the general public agree on this issue, as nearly 80% of general population respondents expressed support for local adoption of federal law-enforcement technology standards in a separate survey.

Read the full report here.