Consulting Services, Technology Services • Published 11/16/2021 Infrastructure Bill Brings Opportunities for Cybersecurity & Broadband Growth
by Michael Cortes 
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The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes an unprecedented $1.9 billion and $65 billion in federal funding for cybersecurity and broadband access respectively. These funds are focused on strengthening local cybersecurity infrastructure, responding to attacks, critical funding, and expanding internet access to all Americans. The key funding areas are summarized below:

How are funds targeted at promoting local cybersecurity resiliency?

Investing in resiliency at the local level represents the bulk of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s cybersecurity component, with $1 billion to be allocated over the next four years, beginning in 2022. Managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under guidance from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), this funding will be targeted at the newly-created State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program. This program aims to assist local, state, territorial, and tribal governments in fighting against cyber threats by modernizing critical infrastructure and systems through both rapid threat response and the development of proactive cybersecurity plans.

Prospective grantees will need to create a cybersecurity planning committee.

In order to receive this assistance, state, territorial, and tribal governments will need to work with their local counterparts to elicit feedback regarding cybersecurity needs and then craft comprehensive cybersecurity plans. Additionally, prospective grantees will need to create a cybersecurity planning committee comprised of industry experts and local jurisdictional representatives who are responsible for the development and approval of the entity’s cybersecurity plan and determination of funding priorities. Multiple eligible entities, such as a state and tribal authority, multiple states, or multiple tribal authorities may also apply for funding, granted they meet the same requirements as any single entity.

Funding CISA and protecting critical infrastructure:

The second largest funding amount in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is aimed at protecting critical energy infrastructure and represents a $757.5 million investment. This funding is broken down into several segments:

Cybersecurity Infrastructure Funds

Responding to cyber attacks:

Importantly, the 2021 Cyber Response and Recovery Act was incorporated into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and will now invest $100 million towards the creation of a Cyber Response and Recovery fund. This fund is to be utilized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to support groups negatively impacted by significant cyber incidents. Assistance under this provision can be provided to both both public and private entities for activities such as:

  • Vulnerability assessments and mitigation;
  • Technical incident mitigation;
  • Malware analysis;
  • Analytic support;
  • Threat detection and hunting; and
  • Network protections.

Other cybersecurity investments:

There are various other investments in cybersecurity throughout the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that do not carry a fiscal investment as large as others discussed above, but they are important nonetheless. They Include $35 million for CISA operations and support and $21 million to fund the Office of the National Cyber Director.

How are funds targeted at improving broadband access?

The infrastructure bill also provides for $65 billion of the $1 trillion package to be spent on improving internet services for tribal communities, rural areas, and low-income families. The funding breaks down in the following ways:

Broadband Infrastructure Funds

Additional information and support:

While this article highlights a few key provisions, there are many other aspects of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that we will detail in upcoming articles. P&N’s dedicated IT, cybersecurity, and grant administration professionals are committed to helping our clients understand and leverage the economic relief options available. Contact us or connect with your P&N advisor to discuss your organization’s questions, concerns, and unique situation.

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