Helping local governments avoid costly cybersecurity breaches

Searching For VirusOur Office is dedicated to helping local and state governments across Washington avoid the potentially devastating effects of cybersecurity attacks. Much of the public data governments hold is sensitive in nature, and needs to be carefully guarded. That’s why we are in the process of developing new, user-centered cybersecurity resources specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of your local government. We want to hear from you about what resources you’d most like to see, and what issues you want us to address. Take our short, anonymous survey to give us your important feedback.

The Office of the Washington State Auditor has put together a handy guide to various organizations that offer cybersecurity resources to local governments like yours—you can find this and other resources you may find helpful on our website.

We are always listening! If you want to start a conversation with us directly, email us at performance@sao.wa.gov.

Changes to fiduciary reporting take effect soon

Last fall, we posted an article strongly encouraging governments to start evaluating activities that might be classified as fiduciary activities under the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) recently issued Statement No. 84. The changes to fiduciary activity reporting are right around the corner – effective for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018 – and affect not only governments that report under generally accepted accounting principles, but those that report using the cash-basis accounting model as well.

It might be tempting to put off consideration of this new standard until all the guidance and examples are issued, especially for cash-basis governments that follow the Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System (BARS) Manual. However, dedicating the time now to understand where fiduciary activities exist within your organization will put you in the best position to effectively implement these changes.

To help in your evaluation, we recommend using our Best Practices for Implementing New GASB Standards along with the specific suggestions below for getting started. Continue reading

How Benton-Franklin Health District used Lean to make its immunization process work better

Kennewick, Washington: The Benton-Franklin Health District building is a clean, modern facility, shining brightly from its location tucked behind a shopping center and other businesses. The waiting room is spacious, and the interior brims with helpful pamphlets about preventing common diseases, staying healthy and knowing when to visit your doctor. The facility is designed to put clients at ease as they wait for their appointments. Health District employees care about their clients and have designed their space around their clients’ comfort.

But what about the Health District’s internal processes? Employees, championed by District Administrator Jason Zaccaria, knew their day-to-day work could reflect the peaceful, client-centered flow of their external building. That’s why they contacted the Performance Center at the Office of the Washington State Auditor. Continue reading

When it comes to cybersecurity experts, our Office boasts some of the best

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Photo courtesy of the Washington Army National Guard

In early July, our Senior IT Security Specialist Sunia (Lulu) Laulile (pictured)participated in the International Collegiate Cyber Defense Invitational at Highline College in Des Moines, Washington. In this exercise, Lulu’s team attacked the systems the students were defending. You can read more about this event on the Washington Army National Guard’s blog.

Our Office has a whole team of highly capable and talented cybersecurity experts like Lulu whose job it is to ensure sensitive public data held by other Washington state governments is secure. We issue reports aimed at helping governments improve their security posture in an era of ever-increasing cyber threat. Read our most recent cybersecurity report on our website.

The Complaint Resolution Unit within the Aging and Long-term Support Administration receives a State Auditor’s Office Stewardship Award

State Auditor Pat McCarthy attended a reception at the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Aging and Long-term Support Administration’s (ALTSA) Complaint Resolution Unit (CRU) on Friday, July 6 to award them a State Auditor’s Office Stewardship award. Our Office is pleased to recognize the Department for its dedication to making government work better. The Department’s Complaint Resolution Unit (CRU) and field operations within the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration made significant improvements to resolve a long-standing audit finding and improve services to its clients. Continue reading

How is federal money spent in Washington? Explore the 2017 SWSA summary plus data visualization

In 2017, Washington state spent more than $17.5 billion in federal money. Each year, the State of Washington Single Audit (SWSA) examines whether state agencies complied with federal requirements for those funds. As a whole, the state does meet those requirements. Today, we published our summary of the longer, more comprehensive report, together with an interactive data visualization available on our website. Please check it out, and let us know what you think in the comments.2018-07-03_SWSA_tableau_capture