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2023 MISA Cybersecurity Outlook Survey

MISA released a survey during the 2023 MISA InfoSec Conference in Deerhurst, ON. It provided invaluable information that not only proved true in 2023 but has also given us a look into what to expect for 2024. The survey interviewed a diverse cross-section of Municipalities from a Population and Region perspective. The stats were compared to the 2022 survey and what is clear is that cybersecurity is still a top priority to Municipalities and that the demand for more services, resources, and skills continues to rise.

We've dissected the survey so you don't have to, so let's dive in!


Although there has been a slight drop since 2022, 68% still see cybersecurity as a to priority. With increasing attacks towards Ontario Municipalities, cybersecurity should remain a top priority in the coming years. Especially with the increasing use of machine learning, AI, and WFH and hybrid work environments. This survey further brings to the light the serious lack of resources and skill shortage across Ontario Municipalities. Majority of Municipalities believe there should be centralized cybersecurity functions across the organization, yet only 40% have centralized cybersecurity functions in place. This leaves many Municipalities vulnerable to attacks and potential threats.

The top three security challenges facing Municipalities in 2023 were:

  • inadequate security budget and lack of integration of the security-by-design concept

  • increase in cyber attacks

  • and Low Identity and Access Management maturity

There are a few steps Municipalities can take to manage these challenges simultaneously, which we will address throughout this blog so let's dive in!

Main Concerns and How to Mitigate Them

The  main concern across Municipalities was a lack of dedicated cybersecurity management and staff with 68% of Municipalities having less than 1 dedicated security SME. 

There is an enormous skills gap within Municipalities. Lacking the proper resources will effect your Municipality’s ability to effectively plan, implement, and safeguard information, resources and operations. 

Resources and Skills

Access to resources and skills plays a huge role in the function of a Municipality, specifically when it comes to cybersecurity. One way to offset this shortage is to employ solutions that reduce admin overhead and safeguard sensitive information and identities.

Tools like email archiving, endpoint protections, and PAM solutions can offset this gap and provide Municipalities with the support they need without the increased overhead costs. 

Identity Compromise

Identity compromise is one of the most concerning and difficult aspects of cybersecurity to manage within a Municipality. 

With a lack of resources and skills gaps, and the WFH/hybrid set up, Municipalities need cost effective ways to manage their privileged identities.

Managing privileged identities doesn't need to be costly or cumbersome.

Maintaining a Secure Environment

Without the proper resources, expensive licensing costs, and the current skills shortage, maintaining a secure M365 environment can be challenging and costly. 

Securing Your Top Attack Vector Endpoints

Securing your endpoints can be a costly project. With upgrading licenses and tiered systems, Municipalities end up paying high costs with no guarantee of better protection, visibility or less admin overhead. 

Our Advice

There is a lot to think about when it comes to protecting your Municipality and staying up to date with the latest IT and business technologies. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your security posture without costly overhead.

  • Employ a strategic approach to your security posture improvements

  • Consider managed services to alleviate resourcing challenges

  • Select solutions that reduce admin overhead

  • Consider 3rd party solutions that can improve security and lower costs

  • Regularly evaluate the effectiveness and completeness of all security controls.

Assessing your Municipality's systems is a crucial step in mitigating risk. Reach out to your trusted Edgeworx advisor and we will be happy to help you on your path to digital transformation.

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