Cloud Computing is Making LEAs More Effective: Here’s How
Cloud computing has become a part of our everyday lives. If you have ever backed up your photos from your phone, checked your bank account from your home computer, or used GPS on a road trip, then you have used the cloud!
It’s hard to imagine our personal lives without using the cloud, but what about at work? Several industries are embracing cloud computing—especially law enforcement. Police cloud computing can improve job performance, keep communities safer, and save law enforcement agencies money.
However, as with any new technology, police cloud computing can seem daunting. It can be unsettling to trust cloud software to protect your department’s sensitive data. Because of the sensitivity of this data, designers created these platforms with law enforcement in mind. Particularly, designers developed these platforms to serve as excellent tools for protecting sensitive information and enhancing departmental workflow.
To learn how police cloud computing can benefit your department, the first step is to understand what exactly cloud computing is and what its primary benefits are.
Let’s start by looking at what cloud computing is.
What is Cloud Computing?
Over, the last 20 years, cloud computing has been a developing technology. “The cloud” refers to servers that allow you to access software and databases on the Internet. Instead of servers located and maintained in-house by an IT department, cloud servers are stored in data centers at various locations all over the world.
Traditionally, police data was collected and stored in silos. For example, to research one suspect, an officer would have to use one tool to check on an arrest record, another to check a suspect’s location, and another to research any known associates.
This requires the officer to switch between multiple programs behind a computer desk, which can be quite time-consuming. Police cloud computing encompasses all of these systems within one platform. As a result, users can access these systems anywhere, anytime. This is important because it significantly speeds up this workflow.
With cloud police software, information is stored in secure data centers which allow users to access files and applications from anywhere, instead of having to log onto a specific device. Cloud computing, additionally, allows users to more easily share information between law enforcement departments and individuals, as databases are more easily and efficiently accessible. This presents a myriad of advantages for businesses, municipalities, and, of course, law enforcement.
While there are clear benefits to cloud computing, cloud computing is also becoming increasingly expected in law enforcement and across most industries. In fact, 76% of organizations worldwide have implemented a multi-cloud model (use of both cloud-based and private servers). Additionally, there are several models departments can choose from when converting to cloud computing.
Cloud Computing Models
The most common models include:
- Private Cloud: This model dedicates a server solely to one user group.
- Public Clouds: As the name suggests, public cloud servers are shared by multiple user groups. This can be beneficial to departments and organizations that want to easily share information and resources.
- Hybrid Cloud: This cloud computing model uses both private and public clouds.
- Multi-Cloud: This model involves using multiple public clouds.
The needs of your specific department and team will determine which cloud option is the best for you. When working with an experienced police cloud service provider, you will provide information about your department so that they can suggest which products and services will best meet your department’s needs.
Benefits of the Cloud in Law Enforcement
Regardless of which model you choose, cloud computing is becoming an expectation in modern law enforcement, and for good reason! Let’s take a look at some of the benefits associated with cloud computing in law enforcement.
Enhances information sharing
There was once a time when law enforcement agencies only had access to the information contained within the physical servers of their own buildings. This made it difficult to share and receive information with other departments and ultimately caused less-efficient police work. Luckily, cloud computing is designed to allow easy information-sharing among departments and agencies, regardless of their location.
Increased Compliance with Regulations
Law enforcement agencies are responsible for processing and storing a large volume of sensitive personal information. And as a result, there are many state and federal regulations that departments must follow to keep this information secure. Lack of compliance with certain policies can result in fines, legal implications, and weakened trust within the community. This puts a lot of pressure on law enforcement agencies to ensure that the technology they are using is designed to protect sensitive information.
Luckily, cloud-based computing can make it easier for agencies to stay in compliance with required regulations and prevent security breaches. Compared to manually having to stay on top of these issues, it can be a huge burden lifted off of internal police staff so that they can focus on what they do best—protecting and serving their communities.
While there are certainly up-front costs associated with implementing cloud-based security, it can save law enforcement agencies money over time. One benefit is that agencies agree to a contract with a cloud computing provider so that buyers can be aware of all costs up-front. As an agency continues to use the system, users can determine if they need to scale up or down based on their specific needs.
Another way cloud computing can save your department money is by reducing the need for in-house IT support, which can cost a significant amount of money for departments. Cloud computing services are responsible for software maintenance and updates so that your team does not get bogged down with having to complete those tasks.
The cloud backs up your department’s information constantly. It’s essential to have a backup plan, and many agencies currently rely on a singular in-house server. This puts departments in jeopardy. Agencies can eliminate this concern by implementing backup cloud computing for their police department.
Law enforcement agencies need access to information and evidence. Police cloud computing protects information from accidentally being misplaced or deleted, which can negatively affect a case. Cloud computing systems automatically have backup systems in place, making sure that your information is always safe.
Protection from Cyber-Attacks
With cyber-attacks on the rise, cyber security is becoming even more important to law enforcement agencies who wish to protect themselves from these sorts of attacks. Cloud computing technology is maintained by companies who are highly invested in protecting against cyber-attacks, so choosing the right cloud computing firm is of the utmost importance when looking for a service provider.
Staying Up to Date
Technology is always changing, which requires a great deal of maintenance for the software your department uses. However, cloud computing can save you precious time by taking care of software updates for you.
Compliance and Regulations
As mentioned, the government holds law enforcement agencies to high standards when protecting information. With so many regulations to follow, cloud computing is a trusted solution for making sure your department is on top of all regulations. Choosing a cloud provider built with law enforcement in mind will ensure compliance with all your departmental needs.
Cloud providers must comply with the requirements of the Criminal Justice Information Service (CJIS) security policy. Additionally, providers are not permitted to use your data, which eliminates any concerns related to data mining.
CivicEye Specializes in Law Cloud-Based Law Enforcement Software
CivicEye delivers modern, easy-to-use cloud software products for communities and law enforcement that helps to save lives and increase security. There are a variety of tools available that can help you and your department effectively protect your community.
- CivicRMS is a public safety records management system that is easy to use, fast, and compliant. This product allows you to search hundreds of millions of records in less than a second, supports native NIBRS validation, and provides real-time graphing, mapping, and reporting.
- CivicDocs is a judicial document system. Created for law enforcement, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, this system allows you to easily share evidence, including online documents, body and dash cam video, surveillance, and more. Better yet, users can securely access this information from anywhere while mitigating risk and preserving the chain-of-evidence.
- CivicCase is a prosecution case management system that streamlines everything from discovery to appeals. This system allows users to collect any form of digital evidence, quickly and easily by converting complex paper forms into interactive online tools.
If you would like to learn more about any of these police cloud services, contact the CivicEye team today.