Cybersecurity and Local Government

3 min read

Organizations of all sizes are targets for a cyberattack, meaning no local government entity is immune, including municipalities covering cities and counties. The federal government and Congress have realized this fact. Funding to bolster cybersecurity defenses in local government is starting to flow. This is welcome news, but it needs to be spent on suitable cyber defense designs and solutions to be effective. Critical Insight can help your city or county spend the federal funds wisely.The rise in ransomware attacks is the main driver behind the change in attitude we are seeing. This year, many ransomware attacks have made the news:

Local Government Infrastructure is a Tempting Target

All local government jurisdictions have been on the same journey to digitize the services they deliver and to bring the management of their physical infrastructure and other assets online. This has increased the attack surface that is available for bad actors to target within cities and counties. And attack them they have as the personal data held within local government systems is the sensitive type valuable to attackers. In addition, the management systems for water treatment, municipal services, and other infrastructure control systems are prime targets for ransomware attacks. Research in 2020 across multiple sources showed that cyberattacks against municipalities accounted for over 40% of all attacks.

Federal Funds for Cybersecurity Protection

Traditionally local government organizations have not been focused on cybersecurity to the extent required to defend systems in the current environment. The reasons for this were many and involved valid tradeoffs in many instances. But the days of trading a focus and spending on cybersecurity against other competing calls on resources within a city or county are over. Thankfully federal funding is now available to enable local government to prioritize cybersecurity.

The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes a $1 billion State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program that local governments can apply to for funding to boost their cybersecurity.

Spending Federal Funds in Effective Ways

This availability and influx of federal funds to be used specifically on cybersecurity is welcome. However, on its own, it cannot plug the security gaps that exist in many local government jurisdictions. There is a widely publicized shortage of suitably trained experts available to fill cybersecurity positions. Plus, the market competition for the best experts has driven up recruitment costs across the board.

Many organizations will be more than willing to take advantage of the new funding available from the program and the local government bodies who hold it to make a quick profit. Without always providing the best advice or the best return on investment for a municipality or delivering the cybersecurity protection possible for the money spent.

Our advice would be to partner with an established and well-respected Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) that you already know or are recommended by a trusted source. Then to partner with them to help decide how best to allocate and spend the federal funding available to your city or county.

Critical Insight Can Boost Your Cybersecurity Posture

Critical Insight has cybersecurity experts with decades of experience from industry, local government, healthcare, and cybersecurity protection companies. We focus on the cybersecurity threat landscape and the defense of our clients. We provide a people-focused offering comprised of managed detection and response (MDR), expert guidance, and professional services tailored for each organization by experienced practitioners who have worked in industry, the public sector, and managed security provider companies. Our team knows what it is like to be on the acquiring side of IT and cybersecurity services. We avoid the common pitfalls and frustrations that local government procurement officers often encounter.

Our purpose is to remove the cybersecurity burden from businesses and public sector organizations so that they can focus on their objectives, safe in the knowledge that Critical Insight has their back. We Defend. You Thrive.

If you are in local government and want to take advantage of the new federal funding to get the resources to protect your city or county, then talk to us today. We will work with you to assess your needs, get the funding you require, and ensure that you get the best cybersecurity defense strategy and solutions to protect you.