Evaluating cybersecurity risk

CIAS building risk management tools for state, local agencies

To keep pace with growing cybersecurity threats, governments must first be able to identify, categorize and prioritize their high-value IT assets, the loss or corruption of which would seriously impact their ability to deliver on essential missions.

Thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) is launching a two-year pilot program to help state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) governments better protect themselves against cyberattacks and align their practices with those of the federal government.

CIAS will deliver scalable guidelines, forms, templates, diagrams and tools to support program management, information sharing and best practices that communities can use with their own risk management framework, available resources and authorities. After testing the tools with a select number of SLTT agencies, CIAS will document lessons learned and provide CISA with recommendations on how to further support state and local government HVA programs and improve information sharing between federal and SLTT agencies, according to the original grant announcement.

More broadly, the HVA pilot will help CISA and its federal partners establish, enable and analyze procedures that will help secure the nation’s broad and interdependent cyber infrastructure.

“Communities nationwide are becoming increasingly targeted by cyber threats -- both domestic and foreign,” Natalie Sjelin, associate director of training programs at CIAS said in the award’s announcement. “It’s more important than ever to help jurisdictions identify, categorize and prioritize their high value assets in order to defend assets that are critical to an organization’s ability to perform its mission.”

“Collaboration with our stakeholders to enhance the protection of our nation’s critical infrastructure is invaluable,” acting CISA director Brandon Wales said. “In a time of increased cyber threats, the relationships that we build through cooperative agreements to supply cyber capabilities and expertise are foundational to safeguarding the nation’s cyber and critical infrastructure.”

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