Written by Benjamin Freed
Florida officials are willing to invest $ 37 million in cybersecurity next fiscal year, including new investments to tighten industrial control defenses, identity management, migrations of government websites to the .gov domain, and the creation of a new cybersecurity operations center.
Government budget Ron DeSantis signed this week largely follows the recommendations of a 15-member working group that presented its final report in January. Among the group’s suggestions, led by Lieutenant Governor Jeannette Núñez, was an increase in the number of full-time cybersecurity professionals at Florida Digital Service, the year-old IT agency. Florida lawmakers passed the legislation earlier this year unanimously, supporting the recommendations of the task force, which included law enforcement, academic and state tourism industry representatives.
Florida, like all states, has endured its share of cybersecurity incidents, including ransomware attacks and denial of service against public schools, in February’s breach of a water treatment plant in the city of Florida. Oldsmar, on the Gulf Coast, who temporarily changed the facility’s sodium. -establishment of hydroxide at a potentially dangerous level.
The Florida Digital Service will receive funding to increase its full-time cybersecurity staff to 15, according to the budget. In the meantime, about $ 31 million will be used to implement the working group’s suggestions. The largest expenditure is $ 4.3 million for security event management programs and services, followed by $ 4 million for vulnerability management and $ 3.2 million for a state inventory of cybersecurity assets. .
Lawmakers also appropriated $ 3.2 million for a new cybersecurity operations center. According to Florida House Bill 1297, which passed the working group’s recommendations, the new center will be a largely virtual “compensation center” that will coordinate with the Florida Police Department on incident responses. of cybersecurity affecting state agencies. The operations center will be headed by the head of state information security, a position that has been vacant since last December, when then-CISO Thomas Vaughn left the state government to take on a similar role for the city of Tallahassee.
The budget also includes lower spending on endpoint protection software, ICS defenses, and cybersecurity training resources.
In a press release, Florida Information Director James Grant said the budget makes “first such investments” for state government cybersecurity operations.
Aside from the new programs recommended by Núñez’s working group, Florida’s budget for fiscal year 2021-22 also sets about $ 6.5 million for the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, a research group at the University of south florida.