Much like how Akron’s most famous native, LeBron James, changes how opposing teams defend him—the City of Akron is hoping to adjust its own defensive strategy by protecting its computer systems with cloud-based technology.

A Jan. 22 cyberattack on Akron’s computer systems led to city council members to look at a cloud-based system to better protect against future attacks. Russel Neal, Akron’s Ward 4 councilman, wants the city to consider a cloud-based system so that the city can keep up with emerging threats and ransomware attacks.

“This is only going to continue. Cyberwarfare is a thing of the present and will be in the future,” Councilman Neal told the Akron Beacon Journal.

The cyberattack in January caused limited damage to the servers and systems, but it did knock out some public-facing components of the system, including the online 311 services for two weeks. The cyberattack led the mayor of Akron, Dan Horrigan, to seek assistance from the National Guard via Gov. Mike DeWine. The FBI is working with the National Guard’s cyber team and the city of Akron to investigate the attack.

Ward 8 Councilwoman Marilyn Keith has been satisfied with the efforts to protect the city from cyberattacks, but said that the latest attack was signal to improve defenses even further.

“What this told us, is we need to up our game. Up until this point, I have been very satisfied,” Councilwoman Keith told the Akron Beacon Journal.

Councilman Neal expects Akron’s cybersecurity weaknesses to come up in March discussions on the operating budget of the city.

Read More About
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.