By: Darrian Breedlove, Content Writer on February 27th, 2023
Why You Should Apply to the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program
Maintaining cybersecurity can be a financially challenging feat, and can take up to an average of 10% of an IT budget.
For many organizations, the financial implications of such a large investment can mean spending more than they are comfortable with or more than they even have to spare. Unfortunately, this can sometimes mean your organization is faced with choosing between excellent, but costly, cybersecurity or putting itself at risk of cyber threats.
Luckily, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has introduced a program that provides funding opportunities for cybersecurity for specific state, local, and territorial governments across the country.
What is the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program?
This program is the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program (SLCGP). Funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the SLCGP offers 1 billion dollars of cybersecurity funding over the course of four years to help support organizations in protecting their networks and infrastructures from cyber threats. The program also aims to help better educate businesses on protecting their systems..
Usherwood always strives to assist our Managed IT clients with guidance and tools to ensure they have proper cybersecurity. This new grant program can make a big difference to local, state, and territorial governments looking for extra assistance in growing their cybersecurity. Let’s look at the details of the SLCGP, who is eligible, and how you can become apply.
Why is the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program a Big Deal?
The SLCGP is a big game-changer for many organizations. After all, some governments may have a high risk of cyberattacks but not have the appropriate funding for them. They also may not have received any proper training or protection against these risks. The intended receivers are organizations that may not have the funds and resources to keep up with evolving threats.
In today’s world, cyber threats are getting smarter. 2,200 is the estimated amount of cyberattacks occurring per day, and the number will only continue to grow. We have to evolve too. Cyber threats are a serious threat, and this seems to be something even big organizations like DHS and FEMA are catching onto. But how does this new grant program ensure assistance with cybersecurity? This funded program will help educate more awareness about cyber risks and serve as a shield to governments that could become compromised.
What Does the Program Cover?
Implementing Cyber Governance and Planning
A plan to protect your business from cyber risks and any cyber threat, in general, is one of the first steps. Organizations need to practice what methods and steps they will take to ensure protection. This could include implementing ways to react to a cyberattack, how to continue operations, and overall just going over the does and don’ts of cybersecurity in general. The program organizes this planning through a committee and reviews particular documentation created for the participants of the SLCGP.
Accessing and Evaluating Systems and Capabilities
All businesses should know what their current systems look like from a cybersecurity perspective. Do you have multifactored authentication? What about the endpoint and response? Or a third-party view? These are essential cybersecurity frameworks that should arguably already be established in an organization’s security. To learn more, please visit our “Top 5 Things Required for Cybersecurity Insurance Coverage” article.
Cybersecurity is also assessed on what can be improved. This is where determining if your organization needs a penetration test or vulnerability assessment comes in. These assessments and evaluations help highlight what parts of your cybersecurity need improvement. There are many techniques hackers can use to attack your networks and infrastructures. This is why the grant program directly prioritizes checking government cyber networks by funding these assessments to overview the potential risk of threats.
Mitigation of Prioritized Issues
Assessing the particular issues in one’s cybersecurity is the first step, and implementing a solution is the next. Whether signing up to get your networks evaluated monthly, properly installing multi-factor authentication, or getting a third party to watch your security, implementing solutions for the issues, mainly targeting your business, are necessary. You can’t dig for a problem without trying to come up with an ailment for said issue.
Building a Workforce
Keeping a close watch on your personnel’s cybersecurity knowledge and training is a significant aspect of SLCGP’s plan to assist with cyber protection. You want to build a team ready for anything thrown at them, including handling cyber threats and having the proper knowledge of what they may encounter one day. Ensuring your organization is equipped with cybersecurity insurance is part of armoring your business. The grant program prioritizes educating everyone on the basics of cybersecurity and what to do in specific situations.
Who is Eligible for SLCGP?
Now that we know what the SLCGP is and what can be done with the funding let’s discuss who is eligible for it. Currently, the State Administrative Agents (SAAs) for states and territories are the only qualified applicants. Suppose you are not a state government and are a local government, that is not applicable for the initial application. In that case, you must wait until your SAA applies for assistance funds and submits a cybersecurity plan. Hopefully, this will end with your state getting approved for the SLCGP funding.
SAAs are the primary caretakers of grant applications and awards. Local governments would need to reach out to their SAA to discover how they may be able to involve themselves in their state’s plans to be capable of application. However, multiple SAAs may be able to form a project together and apply as a multi-entity group to be eligible. They still must submit individual applications, despite this.
Usherwood Office Technology serves clients in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Maine. All 56 U.S. States and Territories are applicable. To contact the SAA of your state, visit FEMA’s State Administrative Agency Contacts for more information and the links for websites to visit for your state of business.
Why Should You Apply?
The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program is an excellent opportunity for organizations striving to better themselves and their security. Its goal is to assist those who need more resources and funding to better protect their network and information. It’s a program anyone could get behind; with the world of technology constantly evolving and new threats always on the horizon, organizations must step up and ensure they’re developing too.
Organizations no longer need to worry about having their information compromised and unable to do much about it. Today there’s a new state of technology and funding where impactful differences can be made. With responsible collaboration and proper education on what we can do to strengthen cybersecurity, things are looking up for the IT world. The SLCGP brings an opportunity for growth to continue building solid cyber systems and a team of knowledgeable personnel.
Usherwood encourages its clients to explore cybersecurity grant funding opportunities to protect themselves better and build a robust work environment. If you have further inquiries about the grant program, please visit FEMA.gov.