This week, President Joe Biden signed a bill designed to bolster coordination between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and state and local governments.
The State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act requires CISA to ensure that the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, the federal government’s primary cyberthreat-analysis entity, shares more of its security tools, policies, training procedures, and appropriate intelligence products with states, counties, municipalities, territories, and tribal governments.
The bill expands the federal government’s responsibilities through grants and cooperative agreements, including providing assistance and education related to cyber threat indicators, proactive and defensive measures and cybersecurity technologies, cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities, incident response and management, analysis, and warnings.
Hackers are increasingly targeting states and local governments with sophisticated cyberattacks. Securing government information systems is critical, as a cyber intrusion can be very disruptive, jeopardizing sensitive information, public safety, and the delivery of essential services.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, Governor Larry Hogan signed multiple bills advancing cybersecurity resources, defenses, and partnerships – sealing a multi-year effort to create a stronger defense and response approach for this ever-increasing threat. MACo had invested deeply in the work group process that eventually led to the multiple bills and was engaged throughout the session to advocate for improved resources and support for local governments facing online threats.
Ultimately, these bills will help lead local governments, school systems, and critical infrastructure toward a more cyber-secure future by dedicating needed resources and streamlining collaboration, communication, and coordination.
SB 754 creates a more precise State-level chain of resources and response processes for cyber threats, including a newly created Cyber Response Unit within the Maryland Department of Emergency Management.
SB 812 creates a Cybersecurity Coordinating Council and develops standards for cyber preparedness and systems for government entities (including counties).
HB 1205 setting standards and practices around public infrastructure, like public water systems, to better guard their systems from cyber attacks.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.