JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A report issued Thursday by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway is suggesting some security enhancements to protect Missourians digitally stored data.
Among records that Galloway’s office is recommending upgrades for are state birth, death, adoption, marriage and divorce records. The report was issued on the heels of the State Auditor’s office completing an audit of the Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) Vital Records Systems.
The audit carried out a review of security across the records systems and uncovered some areas where the current safeguards in place are not up to snuff, according to the news release. New questions are being asked as well about the proficiency of the staff using the systems. Officials in the Auditor’s Office are concerned that department staff may not understand the existing systems and how to use them efficiently to ensure secure data remains secure.
“The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for safeguarding some of our most personal information and must be held to the highest standards of accountability,” Auditor Nicole Galloway said in the press release. “Those who want access to personal information for inappropriate and illegitimate uses will continue to experiment with new strategies and methods to exploit any weaknesses. Government must never become complacent.”
In the report, improvements are spelled out for recommendations to create a more secure system to foster better data security. Suggestions are also being made to streamline planning and communications among employees working with data governance. A comprehensive policy is recommended by Auditor Galloway to ensure that the data protections currently in place will remain and be strengthened to “ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and information.”
In addition, the audit uncovered a few former employees who used the system and still had access to sensitive material more than 30 days after their employment had ended.
Overall, however, the report from Galloway’s office found that the DHSS Records Systems were in a decent state, granting a “good” performance rating, despite the recommendations from her office.