The National Association of Counties (NACo) and Center for Digital Government (CDG) named Westchester among its winners on their 20th anniversary list

Westchester County Executive George Latimer is pleased to announce that the County was named a “Top 10 Digital County” by NACo and CDG as a part of its yearly survey of United States counties.

Latimer said: “Westchester County prides ourselves in providing the best possible services to the people we serve – and doing so in the most efficient manner. Additionally, in today’s modern world, governments must protect themselves from any number of cyber threats stemming from bad actors both near and far. Under the leadership of IT Commissioner Marguerite Beirne, we are able to accomplish both of these goals and it is an honor to be recognized for it.”

In April, all counties in the U.S. were invited to participate in the 2022 Digital Counties Survey. The survey identifies best technology practices in a number of areas, including initiatives that streamline service delivery; encourage collaboration; enhance cybersecurity and apply innovation to achieving county priorities.

DoIT Commissioner & CIO Marguerite Beirne said: “I am honored that CDG and NACo have acknowledged our collaborative, results-oriented approach to IT service delivery. Thanks to the support of County Executive Latimer and the dedicated staff that comprise DoIT, we are well positioned to tackle any new challenges that come our way and will continue to build on this accomplishment moving forward.”

Westchester County was the only New York State county to be recognized in the one million or more population category and one of only two New York counties across all population categories.

Quoting directly from the survey results, NACo and CDG said: “Westchester County is back on the list this year with a slew of organizational cybersecurity initiatives, system upgrades and collaborative efforts between departments and with other local governments. A reorganization of the Department of Information Technology created new cybersecurity-focused job titles and a comprehensive list of IT projects to share with administration. An executive order created a Task Force on Cybersecurity, supported by a working group that meets regularly, and the county got heavily involved with the statewide cybersecurity preparedness task force as well. For its own staff, the county implemented browser isolation technology that keeps web browsing activity separate from the rest of the network, enrolled in a 24/7 managed detection and response program and launched new cybersecurity awareness training initiatives, including the implementation of a new web-based training platform and proactive analytical tools to detect suspicious behavior. It also hired additional staff to work with other infrastructure teams in the county and even with other municipalities.

“It was also a busy year for modernization and proactive improvements. A new data-loss prevention initiative involved data classification, email monitoring and a review of all data being sent to external recipients; the establishment of a new architecture committee will ensure consistent standards in developing new applications; and redesigned project intake forms now require clear statements of purpose, costs and benefits, so all involved are on the same page. To aid economic development efforts, the county developed several online application forms for businesses and nonprofits to access support programs from the county and partners, and it expanded the offerings in its online portal for procurement and shared services with municipalities, one of two such resources in the state.”

In its release, NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase said: “In our increasingly complex world, counties are using technology to pursue bold, cutting-edge approaches to serving our residents. From broadband accessibility to public health and safety, from transportation to community development and much more, technology plays a key role in helping our counties thrive. We applaud this year’s Digital Counties Survey winners for their leadership, innovation and expertise in leveraging technology to achieve county goals.”