Today marks the beginning of October, a month dedicated to the awareness of cybersecurity—a distinction bestowed to October way back in 2003. Here in 2018, 2003 seems light-years away—a dim and distant past when our cybersecurity concerns centered around malicious actors gaining access to our MySpace accounts or Nigerian princes conning us out of our bank account information from the seemingly secure space of a Yahoo email account. How quaint those concerns seem against the undermining of American democracy, a target of some of today’s cybercriminals. Continue reading
Our 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 email@example.com.
Our Office is committed to helping governments improve their operations. One way the Auditor’s Office does that is by leading Lean workshops for governments that ask for help improving a process. However, we also look for ways to improve our own Office as well, and we want to share the results of our process improvement efforts during 2017. Continue reading
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
We have learned that not all banking institutions are providing a detailed breakout of cash and checks on bank validated deposit slips. If your banking records do not contain the detailed cash/check composition of your deposit, you will want to take corrective action as soon as possible. Continue reading
As you may have seen in Auditor Pat McCarthy’s letter Monday, the State Auditor’s Office is adjusting the hourly local audit billing rate in 2019. For further information, here are some background facts on the Office’s rates, plans and budget. Continue reading
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
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.
In 2017, the Office of the Washington State Auditor worked with the Department of Commerce to clarify a contradiction between state law and rule that caused confusion about how utilities could show they met the Energy Independence Act’s renewable energy requirement. Continue reading
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