If you work in state or local government, you know all too well that educational and government entities face distinct challenges in defending themselves against cyber threats.
It’s not that your organizations aren’t aware of the consequential dangers of the ransomware and cyber attacks they need to defend themselves against. It’s that, generally speaking, state and local government departments often lack the funding to defend themselves against these ever-evolving threats.
But change is on the horizon.
The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program
On September 16, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program.
The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program was created specifically for state, local, and territorial (SLT) governments across the country.
With funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding will be made available over the next four years to help states and local governments bolster their resilience to impending cyber threats.
The grant program provides $1 billion in funding to SLT partners, with $185 million available for Fiscal Year 2022.
How the funding can be used
With a financial boost to address their cyber risk, what can SLT government entities do with this funding?
Well, once you’ve applied and been approved, you can easily use that funding to:
Create (or revise) your organization’s cybersecurity plan
Implement your department’s approved cybersecurity plan, including purchasing new software solutions (like an automated endpoint patching solution)
Hire personnel deemed necessary by your cybersecurity plan
Pay expenses related to grant administration (<5% of the award amount)
But first, to learn more about how your organization can apply for its cut of funding, check out CISA’s Cybergrants page.
You’ll also want to look at Grants.gov’s ‘View Grant DHS-22-GPD-137-00-01’ page for details and the program’s synopsis.
Once you're approved for a grant, what are the most immediate steps you can take to protect your environment?
Patching as the first line of defense
In 2021, cyberattacks on education organizations were up by 75% worldwide, with government sector attacks up by 47%. 60% of those cyber attacks could have been prevented with a good patch management strategy.
But when it comes to remediating the most critical cybersecurity threats as they arrive and proactively protecting your organization, patching is, without a doubt, the most effective blockade. As an example, here’s how the City of Beaumont, TX is doing just that.
Automated patching keeps Beaumont, Texas always secure
Before joining forces with Automox, the City of Beaumont struggled with a lack of trust that their devices were even patched.
Security officials in Beaumont stayed up most nights worrying about the strength and accuracy of their solutions.
After installing Automox, however, Beaumont’s IT Division Manager grew proficient in a single day.
Beaumont now uses Automox to update parking meters, keep police car MDCs up to date, and make sure other emergency devices are securely patched at all times.
Apply now to start funding your cybersecurity improvements
Finally, some cybersecurity relief has come to local governments. With the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, you can strengthen your current cyber resilience and remove vulnerabilities that can be weaponized.
When you apply for the funding and distribute it to your local divisions, your IT departments can become more strategic and proactive. You'll have the ability to invest in effective cybersecurity tools and services that will move your organization’s cyber defenses forward.
Why wouldn’t you want to take these steps to further advance your state and local government’s security capabilities? It’s a no-brainer.
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