Davidson County has been named by the Center for Digital Government as one of the Top 10 Digital Counties Survey Awards winners, among counties across the nation with a population between 150,000 and 249,999 people. Davidson County placed 6th in its population group and was one of only ten North Carolina counties named across all population groups from the US.
The Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) have announced the 2019 Digital Counties Survey winners. The survey, conducted by CDG in partnership with NACo, identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that save tax dollars through newfound efficiencies; boost transparency, cybersecurity and engagement; or innovate through unique and exciting projects.
“Innovative counties across the U.S. are leveraging technology and data to complete unique projects that better serve citizens, save taxpayer money and protect citizen data,” said Teri Takai, executive director, CDG. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for their work to make government work for the citizens and businesses they serve.” “We applaud this year's Digital Counties Survey winners for maximizing the value of technology in serving our residents,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “Technology plays an important role in achieving healthy, safe and vibrant counties. The Digital Counties Survey demonstrates how we embrace cutting-edge approaches to strengthening our communities.”
Davidson County has been a leader in performance based budgeting for more than 16 years. By focusing on outcomes and evaluating programs by measuring the relationship between resources and results, the county has saved over $33.5 million during that time period. A key driver in performance budgeting has been technology improvements in the county departments.
Cybersecurity has been one of the top priorities of Davidson County leadership following a February 2018 ransomware attack that shut down more than 90 county servers and systems for six days. The IT staff has since put in place several safeguards like desktop antivirus protections, two-factor authentication for IT staff and domain accounts with far-reaching network access, as well as closer monitoring of all public-facing systems. More than 150 cyber threats have been averted since the changes were put in place. Funding for cybersecurity efforts increased 75 percent in the last 12 to 18 months.
The Information Technology Department worked on a joint project with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department to create a protected and secure network for forensic research: Cellebrite's Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED). The network gives officers access to the dark web and has now handled more than 240 electronic devices and acquired data from 86 percent of those. Another top priority has been emergency communications. The county partnered with the state to expand the Viper system, a statewide emergency communication system for public safety agencies. Following hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018, Davidson County created a mobile-friendly assessment and reporting tool available to all residents.
The complete announcement about the 2019 Digital Counties Survey Winners may be seen at https://www.govtech.com/dc/digital-counties/Digital-Counties-Survey-2019--Winners-Announced.html