In a new story for Stateline, writer Jenni Bergal investigates the new cybersecurity money going to local governments in rural parts of the country. In some cases, leaders worry the new money won’t be used properly, as their communities don’t have the manpower or knowledge to create effective proposals to get their share of the money from the state.

From the story: “Cybersecurity might not be high on the list of local governments’ priorities—but it should be, according to Alan Shark, executive director of the CompTIA Public Technology Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that provides consulting services to local governments.

“Digital equipment doesn’t show rust like bridges and physical stuff,” Shark said. “This money can replace that infrastructure and update stuff rather than put Band-Aids onto old legacy equipment.”

Shark said local governments badly need the grant money from the new program, which will be administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will provide expertise and help assess grant applications.

States will need to submit plans detailing how the money would be spent, and they must be approved by the federal cybersecurity agency before any project can be funded. States also will have to match from 10% to 40% of the cost over time, depending on the plan. Local governments won’t have to submit plans to the federal agencies, and it remains to be seen what type of information they’d have to submit to the state.”

As the money is set to release soon, many states must reach out to smaller cities and towns and make sure they apply for the money. Otherwise, cyberattacks that can shut down a whole town will continue.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

SOURCE: The Rural Blog,