The Impact of Cybersecurity on Tribal Organizations: Protection and Cultural Preservation

Mar 27, 2023 | Compliance, Insights

There are currently 574 federally recognized tribes in America.  Each of these tribes is its own nation – with intricacies, culture, history and more. They operate efficiently on their own for everything from healthcare to education. As Tribal organizations continue to grow, gaps in their cybersecurity and data sovereignty are becoming both more apparent and more important. As much of society migrates its data to the cloud, these tribes have hesitated due to a lack of clarity when it comes to maintaining indigenous data sovereignty—the rights for tribes and their citizens to govern the collection, ownership and application of their data.

With recent court rulings showing these nations maintain their data sovereignty even in the cloud, they are becoming more willing to adopt these practices. However, there is still a lack of understanding and trust standing in the way of their cyber resilience.

Cybersecurity is an important aspect of tribal organizations’ success, as it enables them to build their businesses and protect their data and cyber infrastructure, which enables them to grow while also preserving and protecting their culture.


What Is the Current State of Cybersecurity in Tribal Organizations?

Tribes have been historically underrepresented in accessing available federal funding and resources for both security and other initiatives – leaving tribes and their business operations at risk. Their casinos, a popular business among various tribes, are especially at risk. During one of their conferences, the National Indian Gaming Commision revealed attacks from 2019 to 2021 had jumped more than 1000%. These attacks, in the form of malware, phishing scams and ransomware, are all costly – shutting down operations and accessing confidential data.

As adversaries look for weaknesses in those they seek to attack, they recognize these group’s lack of trust in the federal government and know it often results in on-premises security measures that simply cannot cost-effectively keep up with the evolving technology and security best practices.


How Cyber Threats Pose a Special Threat to Tribal Organizations

Cyber threats pose a unique challenge for Tribal organizations. As opposed to a typical private business, Native American tribes have to balance the cultural preservation of their people with the security of their operations and data. With constant pressure from external bad actors, tribal organizations must take extra measures to ensure their data is secure.

From customer data to financial information, tribal organizations have a wealth of data that needs to be protected. With the right cybersecurity protocols, organizations can not only protect their sensitive data, but also ensure their cultural sovereignty.

The importance of cybersecurity for tribes cannot be overstated; tribal organizations must continue to remain vigilant against cyber threats in order to safeguard their operations, data and cultural assets from potential harm.


Cybersecurity Solutions Tailored to Tribal Organizations

The digital transformation has had a significant effect on the tribal populations that have been underserved for centuries.

Native American tribes must take an active role in understanding the implications of data sovereignty and cybersecurity to ensure that their culture is not compromised while cybersecurity teams must recognize and understand the various tribal organizations and their unique culture to build trust and provide effective protection. The cybersecurity solutions that are tailored to the needs of tribal organizations are integral in protecting the cultural preservation of these groups.

Conquest understands the unique needs and hesitations of tribes and their leaders. We’ve spent time familiarizing our team with their values and culture to better appreciate how these shape their battle plan when it comes to cyber security.

We’re proud to serve as a partner in preserving the impact these Tribes have on the wider way of life. Conquest stands in the trenches with our customers – recognizing that our responsibility lies in the outcome we sell rather than the product.

Ultimately, the proper implementation of cybersecurity solutions and initiatives will provide the necessary protection and assurance to our tribal organizations.



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