Municipal leaders met this past Friday in Melita to talk about issues like rural health care and Cyber security.

26 municipalities had representation at the regular gather of the Western Caucus.

Boissevain-Morton Head of Council Judy Swanson chairs the group. “We had a guy come in and talk to us about Cyber security for municipalities and that was quite interesting. Then we had a retired doctor who practiced in rural areas, and he told us the pros and cons of working in rural Manitoba.”

“Cyber security is becoming more and more a problem and it’s something a few years ago we hadn't even heard about. There certainly have been municipalities that have been targeted so we need to be vigilant about what we’re doing. This company does audits on our security, and he said municipalities are targets of this type of crime and we really need to take steps to protect ourselves.”

The speaker told delegates criminals are after money and information.

“Mostly it’s the money and they basically take your system hostage and don’t give you anything back until you pay them. We have good security here but it’s something you have to watch,” said Judy Swanson.

The expert talking to municipal leaders has completed audits with a few municipalities and that’s why he was asked to talk with the Western Caucus about Cyber security. Audits have prompted municipalities to take action to better protect the money and information.

“The audit is one part of the cost but in many cases it’s the ongoing monthly maintenance fees to have a company do the work. But if you can do it yourself that another thing but you need to make sure you’re doing Cyber security right.”