Will CyberSecurity Concerns Accelerate or Delay Local Government SaaS Adoption?

What Every Govtech Marketer Should Know about CyberSecurity

In July 2021, our friends at CivicPulse fielded a survey of 584 local government leaders involved in IT decision-making, and conducted 11 in-depth follow-up interviews. What CivicPulse uncovered got our attention. 

In short, cybersecurity is top-of-mind for local governments of ALL sizes, not just local governments of big cities and counties.   Moreover, this concern about cybersecurity could act to accelerate or slow down local governments’ adoption of SaaS.

Armed with this knowledge, take steps to ensure that your govtech solution ends up on the accelerate side of this equation.

Cybersecurity is a Huge Concern for Local Governments of All Sizes

High-profile ransomware attacks in major cities have elevated the issue of cybersecurity in local government decision-making, leading officials to warn local governments that they must prepare for future cyber attacks. Smaller local governments, many of which have particularly outdated IT systems, are also vulnerable.

Accordingly, CivicPulse’s survey validates that cybersecurity has become a mainstream concern for local governments of ALL sizes. When presented with a list of possible priorities related to IT, more local government officials cited cybersecurity than any other IT initiative.

On One Hand:  CyberSecurity Concerns May Accelerate Local Government Transition to SaaS

Research illustrates that in the last three years, most large city and county governments have adopted at least one new cloud-based SaaS.  In fact, even 46% of the smallest local governments have done the same.

As one local government official mentioned during an interview, “Some of [our] hardware appliances are really outdated,  so it just makes sense to move it to the cloud.”

As CivicPulse points out, “SaaS also provides added protection against data loss and interruptions in service during outages. For this reason, officials located in areas prone to natural disasters consider cloud-based SaaS to be more secure than hosting software on-premise.”

What’s more, local government officials may be encouraged in other ways to jump on the SaaS train. In follow-up interviews, local government officials with existing “on-premise” software service contracts revealed to CivicPulse that they’re being told by currently on-premise vendors that contracts may soon require a move to the cloud.

On the Other Hand:  CyberSecurity Fears Could Slow SaaS Adoption

While there are strong arguments for how SaaS reduces local governments’ cybersecurity risks, adding data to the cloud can create new vulnerabilities, or at least perceptions of new vulnerabilities.

CivicPulse’s interviews with local government officials confirm this. 

According to CivicPulse, “a few interviewees mentioned the 2020 ransomware attack on a popular SaaS provider, Tyler Technologies, as a factor in their decision to put off SaaS adoption. In these cases, security was the justification for continuing to run operations on-premise. As one respondent put it: ‘our IT Director preferred the security of it all being on our systems where he had control over everything, security wise.’”

In other words, while local governments are moving towards SaaS, cybersecurity concerns are driving at least some local governments to prefer keeping their data onsite.

What this Means for GovTech Marketers

Local government officials are likely to become increasingly concerned about cybersecurity in the coming months and years, not less so. 

So if you market software to local governments, be prepared! 

  • TALK TO YOUR PRODUCT TEAM to ensure your software solution fully addresses known cybersecurity risks related to SaaS.
  • CRAFT YOUR MESSAGING to proactively address how your solution minimizes cybersecurity risks
  • COMMUNICATE WHY YOUR SAAS SOLUTION IS MORE SECURE than your competitors’ solution. (Avoid focusing only on the cybersecurity benefits of SaaS vs. onsite.)
  • PROMOTE TESTIMONIALS of current clients discussing how safe and secure your software is
  • INCLUDE LOCAL GOVERNMENT HEADS OF IT in your marketing outreach, even if they aren’t primary buyers for your software. (They’ll most likely be asked about the cybersecurity risk associated with your software.)

Cybersecurity is a vitally important issue facing local governments.  It’s also an opportunity for your company.  

If you build a SECURE govtech solution, communicate and demonstrate that to your local government buyers. You will not only win more clients, but you might broaden your addressable market by converting SaaS skeptics into buyers.

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