Basking in the Mediterranean sun, Tel Aviv is one of the best examples of modern big city life. It’s got theaters, art schools, a university, restaurants of every possible cuisine, performances by local and international musicians, sporting events, bicycle roads, public transportation, a great beach, a central park like green space, one of the highest dog per person ratios in the world, and the highest number of startups per person in the world.

Over the years, a variety of organizations have recognized it as one of the top global and fastest growing cities, the best gay city, the capital of Mediterranean cool and, just as importantly, the world’s smartest city.

Among others, Tel Aviv has provided its citizens with free citywide WiFi and a resident app that achieved over 60% resident usage in its first five years of operation.

How can other municipalities follow in its footsteps when it comes to engaging residents and keeping them safe?

Engage Residents in City Life by Letting Them Communicate with You

Tel Aviv’s DigiTel app prioritized engaging its residents in city life through cross-departmental collaboration and resident segmentation, which enables it to send the right message to the right resident.

But it also encourages residents to communicate with the city through online forms. Residents can add attachments, such as photos and documents, to their messages.

If residents have a complaint about vandalism in town, for example, they can send a photo to the municipality. If they have proof they’re being overcharged for city taxes, they can scan previous receipts and send them as attachments through the app.

Of course, that’s a great opportunity for those with a malicious intent to hack the municipality, though some files might unknowingly and unintentionally transfer risk as well. How do you keep your municipality safe?

Protect Your Digital System to Keep Your Municipality Safe

Any file a municipality gets from outside its organization can potentially be dangerous. Cyberattacks happen through files sent both from citizen portals and via regular email. Therefore, municipalities that decide to follow in Tel Aviv’s footsteps must verify that all the data employees access is safe.

In Riviera Beach, Florida, a cyberattack happened when an employee opened an infected file which took down the city’s entire computer system. Consequentially, the city issued paper payroll checks and handwritten traffic tickets, before agreeing to pay $600,000 in ransomware.

Employee education can reduce some risks, but you cannot trust it to keep your municipality safe on its own. You’re dealing with human beings, and even if no one on the team has malicious intents, human beings make mistakes. Moreover, even with the best intentions, your employees might not be able to prevent cyberattacks on their own when dealing with attachments sent via email or resident portals.

Municipalities must be a few steps ahead of hackers.

That’s what Tel Aviv decided to do. Therefore, it provided its resident-facing portal with odix’s cybersecurity prevention system. The system comprises of a patented, field proven content disarm and reconstruction (CDR) engine that scans, disarms and rebuilds files into clean versions, before sending them back to employees’ inboxes within seconds. The odix solution is deployed on Microsoft Azure and enables elastic scalability.

“We take our residents and team’s safety very seriously,” said Hilay Selivansky, CTO, Chief Architect and vice CIO at Tel Aviv’s Municipality . “Partnering with odix has made a big impact in relieving us from having to choose between the cutting edge experience our residents love, and keeping their data secure and the city operating properly. We expect that preventing malware attacks with the help of this partnership, instead of just reacting to hackers, will lead to one our best returns on security investments.”

If you’re looking to be proactive for your residents too, click here to request a demo. Let’s protect your municipality, so you can focus on improving the resident experience.