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Three Large Municipalities in This Year’s Digital Cities

California’s cities with 250,000-499,999 residents were among those honored in this year’s Digital Cities Survey from the Center for Digital Government for doing more to improve residents’ access to online services and broadband and for enhancing cybersecurity.

Long Beach skyline.
Three of the state’s larger cities have been recognized for their work in technology and innovation.

In the 2022 edition of its yearly Digital Cities Survey, the Center for Digital Government* recognized three of California’s more populous cities as winners in the category of 250,000-499,999 in population.

These municipalities made great strides this year on everything from cybersecurity to broadband, open data to equity, and planning to piloting. (Industry Insider California will spotlight other survey honorees in coming days.) Here’s a snapshot of each winner:


Long Beach reprised its first place win this year, boosted by synced-up city and IT strategies, a forward-leaning IT strategic plan and road map, and by connecting government to residents. The city’s Technology and Innovation Department (TID) helped develop the Long Beach Strategic Vision 2030, a long-range citywide plan encompassing dozens of city plans and initiatives, plus mayor, council and community input. TID also developed Long Beach’s Smart City Initiative Strategy and Digital Inclusion Roadmap. Its Data Privacy Guidelines Implementation Plan sets clear action items aimed at fostering public trust. A new, improved open data portal complements Long Beach’s geospatial data hub. Officials published and trained staff on the Equitable Data Collection toolkit, to shape ethical use of public information. Public Works and TID made permitting totally paperless, while Development Services launched the ServicesLB permit portal, enabling online permitting. The city manages two tech pilot programs, Pitch Long Beach! and the Smart City Challenge; five pilots are underway through the latter, while the former has received more than 50 pitches. Regular testing and regular risk assessments are part of city cybersecurity. TID’s comprehensive risk assessment helps the city address findings; annual cybersecurity training is mandatory and a cybersecurity road map is coming. Long Beach uses centralized software to enhance backup reliability and a remote backup data domain has been established.


Enhancing cybersecurity has been one of several key IT objectives for the city of Riverside this past year. Officials deployed an advanced threat protection tool that uses machine learning technology to protect against ransomware and known and unknown advanced threats. They did a data loss prevention project to identify, classify and reduce the city’s liability around data it holds. This initiative sparked a notable increase in departmental and individual user awareness on the nature of sensitive data that employees handle. The city now uses OneDrive to collaborate and share files securely, for its encryption and auditing functionality. Riverside also updated its security policy to address data protection and third-party risk management. Within its Innovation and Technology Department, Riverside embarked on a large-scale infrastructure support project, including GIS modernization, Microsoft Office 365 migration, citywide network disaster recovery, data warehousing and analytics. The endeavor aims to enhance the performance, reliability, availability and accessibility of virtual city services. Riverside also implemented the latest in Esri technology to support data visualization and mapping needs.


Rising two places from its place in last year’s survey, Irvine, too, continues to invest in cybersecurity and broadband. Officials do regular cybersecurity training for staff and multifactor authentication is mandatory. The city’s IT department has implemented endpoint detection and response (EDR) on all city endpoints, enabling security analysts to prioritize security alerts, get insight on the scope of a data breach and take the actions needed to resolve any threats. The city also uses an intrusion detection system and a 24/7 security operations center to detect malicious threats. On the public-facing side, Irvine is prioritizing the delivery of fast, reliable Internet to residents and has committed up to $14 million to support future broadband initiatives. The city is reviewing its existing broadband and infrastructure offerings with the aim of developing a fiber master plan to delineate future infrastructure projects. It will map the areas of fiber that need replacement; and from a big picture perspective, will help build a foundation for future connectivity and smart city work.

*The Center for Digital Government and Government Technology are part of e.Republic, parent company of Industry Insider — California.

Find full coverage of this year’s Digital Cities Survey at Government Technology magazine.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.