Minnesota launches $23.5M cybersecurity plan to help schools, local governments

A hand on the keyboard is seen with binary code displayed on a laptop screen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on August 17, 2021. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Minnesota agencies are launching a statewide cybersecurity plan with over $23 million in funding to better help equip schools and local government to deal with cyberattacks. 

The Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) and Minnesota Cybersecurity Task Force announced the launch of Whole-of-State Cybersecurity Plan on Tuesday with the goal to help local governments and schools strengthen their cyber defenses against security threats. 

"We are living in a time when it’s easier to access information than ever before. This plan continues our efforts to collaborate with governments and schools responsible for keeping Minnesotans’ information secure. As One Minnesota, we must continue to invest and mature our defenses against the threats of the future," said Tarek Tomes, MNIT Commissioner and State of Minnesota Chief Information Officer.

The plan will be used to help distribute $23.5 million of funding with 25% designated for rural areas and at least 80% of funding directly to programming. 

MNIT says the goals of the task force include: 

  • Help local governments, Tribal Nations, and school organizations acquire the tools and resources they need to enhance their existing baseline cybersecurity capabilities.
  • Expand the use of advanced cybersecurity detection and defensive tools and capabilities.
  • Expand threat intelligence analysis and collaboration throughout Minnesota.
  • Bring security products, services, and resources to critical infrastructure through strategic partnerships.

The announcement comes as several educational institutions in Minnesota have experienced potential data breaches including St. Paul Public Schools, the University of Minnesota, and Minneapolis Public Schools, in addition to others.