State government IT officials said this week they are working to deploy their share of $1 billion of Federal cybersecurity grant funding approved last November by Congress as part of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Aliscia Andrews, Deputy Secretary of Cybersecurity in the Commonwealth of Virginia, explained some of the actions that her office is taking to prepare to meet the demands of the new Federal grants at a May 24 event entitled Cybersecurity Grants for State Agencies: What You need to Know hosted by FedInsider.

To get ready for the flow of new funding, state governments have put in place committees to understand how this money will be allocated, and how it can be most effective at meeting the needs of local institutions.

“Part of what we’re looking at is making sure that we’re collecting data,” Andrews said, “based on a little bit more of how we can close some of the silo gaps down and make sure that our schools, local, tribal, state, and private partners have a way to engage to meet their needs.

Andrews coupled the idea of understanding the needs of multiple levels of Virginia government with what she called the “crawl, walk, and then run approach.”

“Using the state approved cybersecurity plan as their guide, I would kind of take a crawl, walk and run approach with local entities, because you have to meet localities where they’re focused on getting a basic set of services,” she advised.

Speaking at the same event, Chris Letterman, Chief Information Security Officer for the state of Alaska, said that deploying the new funding “is definitely going to be a challenge.”

But, he said, “we’ve had a lot of preliminary discussions about how we’re going to be reaching out to the state, and how this is going to work out. I’m pretty excited about all of this.”

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