With the help of local government cybersecurity experts, the task force will work to determine how Minnesota will assist local governments through the first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program.
As a requirement of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act authorization of the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, the Minnesota Cybersecurity Task Force met for the first time on Nov. 7 to begin working on how to distribute $18 million over the next four years of federal funding to support state and local cybersecurity needs. Importantly, 80% of the funds allocated to the state via formula must be granted to or spent on behalf of local units of government, with 25% of the entire allocation needing to be used for rural communities.
The task force includes two city representatives consisting of League of Minnesota Cities Chief Information Officer Mel Reeder and City of Rochester Enterprise Technology and Cybersecurity Leader Matt Zaruba.
What was covered in the task force meeting
During the meeting, task force members heard an overview from Minnesota IT and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency staff of the grant program and discussed the draft Minnesota Cybersecurity Plan, which is required for the state to access federal funds.
The plan includes an outline of the state’s strategy for protecting against cybersecurity risks and cybersecurity threats to information systems at the state, tribal, and local level, receiving input and feedback from local governments, responsibilities for various entities regarding cyber response, and a timeline for implementing the plan.
The task force also discussed an emphasis on using grant funding for shared service models that could include state-local public/private partnerships to stretch the funds more.
The next Task Force meeting will be on Nov. 14. All meetings are open to the public and can be viewed online.