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The latest push for cyber grants

Citing the ongoing threat of ransomware attacks, a group of nine associations of state and local government officials — including NASCIO and the NGA — sent a letter Wednesday to congressional leaders asking them to include a new cybersecurity grant program in either an infrastructure spending package or government appropriations bill. “The increased sophistication of cyber criminals, the ever-changing landscape of cyber attacks, and the limited resources of states, territories and localities, create the perfect storm and render carve-outs within existing homeland security grant programs insufficient,” the letter reads. Both the House and the Senate have held hearings recently on creating such a program, but Congress has also deliberated — and failed to enact — many grant proposals in the past. Benjamin Freed reports.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Kaseya attack hits home

The small Maryland appear to be the first local governments known to be affected by the REvil ransomware attack against the software publisher Kaseya, as the compromise of one the company’s products has spread downstream. Officials in the Chesapeake Bay communities of Leonardtown and North Beach both confirmed this week their computers and networks had been disabled last Friday, downstream effects of the infection of Kaseya's VSA platform, which is used by managed service providers that in turn support organizations, like small local governments. Ben has more.

Clarity on rescue plan broadband, please

With an eye on the communities that were most greatly affected by the pandemic, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., sent a letter yesterday to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking her to clarify rules on how state and local governments can use American Rescue Plan funding to expand high-speed internet access. Though the March relief package includes $362 billion in funds that can be used by states and localities on a variety of purposes, including broadband, Van Hollen requested that the Treasury Department create a final rule further clarifying the funding’s flexibility. Colin Wood has the story.

Equity drives work of Los Angeles data team

City data analysts in Los Angeles are working more aggressively to share data with agency leaders and community organizations in an effort to promote the equitable distribution of broadband connectivity, social services and even the distribution of trees, officials there told StateScoop. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the data team has published a series of dashboards, maps and graphics aimed at giving community groups access to information that could be used for a variety of goals, like promoting Black-owned businesses, planting trees or expanding internet access. Those organizations, said Eva Pereira, the city’s deputy chief data officer, can “use our data to advance their work.” Ryan Johnston has the deep dive.


How agencies are embracing hybrid-work strategies and tools

As government leaders evaluate how to bring employees back into the office, they have an opportunity to reconsider how virtual collaboration tools are bringing positive changes to the way people interact. Google Cloud’s Gary Danoff shares the benefits agencies reap when they embrace virtual collaboration platforms and discusses best-practices for those looking to implement hybrid-work strategies. Hear more from Danoff.

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