2022 is over, and with it the first round of funding for the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant (SLCG) Program under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
While the first $185 million is now being split among government entities across states and municipalities, the program will continue for the next three years. Whether your organization has applied for 2022 funds or is looking to apply to this grant program (or others) in the future, there are a few boxes to check and items to consider.
The work doesn’t end once the application is sent in. Government entities need to evaluate their cybersecurity posture and build a plan to improve their security journey moving forward.
Why Governments Should Apply for Future Funds
If there are constants when it comes to cybersecurity (in both local governments and other industries), it’s a lack of skilled staff, resources, and stagnant budgets.
In addition, threats to local governments and municipalities are only increasing; federal, state, and local ransomware attacks are now as frequent as 30 per quarter. Add to those threats the competing resources that exist within departments, and these entities need a boost to stay safe in a changing cyber landscape.
Cybersecurity is a journey, not a destination. But many organizations get stuck in a cycle of reacting to immediate threats, never taking the time to improve their defenses and prepare for what could be next. This cycle leaves organizations in a scramble, one that gets magnified when funds and staffing are low. This cycle is also costly, causing organizations to continue to pay for remediation, non-compliance fines, and even ransom payments.
Applying for the grants above can help your organization look thoroughly at the state of your cybersecurity and consider what needs to be done in the future to escape that cycle and become more proactive. It’s about scaling your cybersecurity over time to better meet a changing landscape.
Organizations should think of their security budget as a secondary journey — what will you invest in now and what does the future look like in terms of investment and spending? Paying for a matching grant may affect the budget right now but is it worth the investment in the long term?
According to FEMA, “funding will be available in FY 2023, FY 2024 and FY 2025. Each FY will have its own funding notice, allocation amounts, and application period.”
You’ve Applied for SLCG Funding — Now What?
If you applied for the first round of funding from the first round of the SLCG program, then there are three steps you need to take:
- Put together your cybersecurity plan
- Sign up for CISA services including cyber hygiene services and the nationwide cybersecurity review
- Adjust your cybersecurity budget to be able to allocate for the 10% cost-matching portion
You can learn more about all three steps with our webinar, “Securing Your Organization’s Share of $1B in Cybersecurity Funding.”
We also recommend partnering with a security operations provider, because money and tools alone can’t stop a cyber attack.
Choose the Right Partner for Your Security Journey
The question remains of how to utilize those government funds to best improve your organization’s cybersecurity. For local governments and municipalities, fully in-house security operations are difficult to achieve. 76% of organizations currently can’t achieve their security goals due to lack of staffing. For organizations looking to take advantage of this grant money (or just looking to improve their security posture), partnering with an external vendor is the best option.
Arctic Wolf is a strong option for applicants for several reasons:
- We have a history of working with both state and local governments to improve their security operations.
- We partner with local MSPs, allowing your organization to keep working with local partners.
- We understand the specific threats that local governments face and know how to mitigate those threats.
- We have experience helping organizations navigate grant cycles.
- Our dedicated Concierge Security® Team acts as an extension of your organization, easing your staffing burdens will guiding you along as you scale your security.
By combining cutting-edge technology with the human element, our solutions can help end cyber risk by highlighting vulnerabilities, improving security architecture, and working to monitor, detect, and remediate threats.
Learn more about Arctic Wolf’s work with government entities.