Cybersecurity Spending Continues in State Government

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

By now, most of us are aware of the budgetary restrictions many states will be under due to reduced revenue collections. Arkansas will experience cuts of about $250 million in the next fiscal year. Utah could see budget cuts up to 10%, while Vermont may see budget cuts of up to 25%. This will most likely restrict the number of new projects, but one area many state CIOs expressed continued support for is cybersecurity.

During recent round table discussions hosted by NASCIO, budgets and budget cuts were top of mind for CIOs as they shared top priorities for the coming fiscal year. Many stated that they were continuing with their initiatives as best they could, balancing funding with requirements. Initiatives include projects like service digitization, automation, customer relationship management, and in many cases, improving cybersecurity frameworks.

Some states are planning to leverage funding they receive through the CARES Act for technology, while others are trying to find alternative ways to finance new and ongoing initiatives alike. Despite budget cuts, there is one area continuing to receive CIO attention — cybersecurity. Here’s a snapshot of what’s happening across the country: 

Massachusetts: A $650 million capital investment bond is pending approval with the legislature, which will be leveraged to support enhancements to the state’s cybersecurity framework.

Arizona: Will be performing their annual evaluation of current cybersecurity contracts and services and evaluating vendors that can provide phishing prevention and security, web content filtering or vulnerability management.

North Dakota: The State’s Information Technology Department has been given cybersecurity authority over all executive, judicial and legislative agencies as well as all K-12 schools, universities, cities and counties within the state. Through a multi-state SOC, they’ll be responsible for cyber defense across all of North Dakota as well as some of Minnesota.

Maryland: Still working towards an identity management solution to create a single identity for everyone and everything in the state.

Arkansas: As part of their data center migration project (with their newly awarded systems integrator), they will be looking for networking and security components now through September to begin agency migrations.

Minnesota: Has seen an increase in cyberattacks recently amid recent protests and is continuing to coordinate emergency response with local counties on a weekly basis.

Vermont: Will be looking to release a solicitation for risk management and multi-factor authentication later this year.

Cybersecurity is beginning to emerge as one of the most basic and elemental functions of an IT organization. State CIOs are prioritizing cybersecurity initiatives and projects and vendors can expect that funding for these types of technologies will be made available despite the budget situation.


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