Doug Bedell — October 18, 2021, 3:14 pm

Learning What Goes Into Winning Federal Grants


Looking toward the federal government as a source of grant money? Well, the Security Industry Association (SIA) “is launching the first-ever industry training program designed to help security businesses take advantage of government funding opportunities.”

The SIA website explains: “From identifying applicable grant programs and completing application forms to managing grant awards and ensuring compliance with program requirements, pursuing federal grant funding requires skillful planning and time-sensitive execution. For companies who wish to help their customers apply for and win grant awards that can be used to help finance security projects, there is much to know about basic grant application requirements, proposal writing and vertical-specific programs that can increase the likelihood of success in securing federal funding.

“This self-paced e-learning course includes three modules:

“1. Grants 101: In this module, you’ll learn grant essentials like funding mechanisms, terminology, common application elements and federal grant opportunities. Gain insights on preplanning and application development, as well as post-award obligations and reporting requirements.

“2. Vertical Market Grant Programs: This module provides an overview of where to find agency logic models and how to tie to them. It will specifically focus on applicable grant programs in education, transportation and critical infrastructure sectors as identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“3. Writing Winning Grant Proposals: This hybrid module covers key program elements, budgets and timelines and offers participants the opportunity to consult with a professional grant writing firm to discuss and receive feedback on their grant proposals.

“This course will be available as an on-demand training starting in November. Registration opens for our early-bird pricing on Nov. 1; stay tuned for more details!”

Looks like an opportunity worth checking out.

Doug Bedell — October 15, 2021, 12:58 pm

Homeland Security Sees Reacting to Climate Changes as Part of U.S. National Resilience


The U.S Department of Homeland Security sees reacting to climate changes as part of its national security planning.

“Our world is facing a climate crisis that poses existential threats and demands urgent action. We must act now,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The DHS Climate Action Plan outlines how our Department will remain mission-resilient to climate change while reducing our own impact on the environment, including by electrifying our vehicle fleet, educating our workforce on the importance of adaptation and resilience, and leveraging grant programs to incentivize investments in disaster resiliency.”

DHS lists these as its priority climate actions:

“1. Incorporating climate adaptation into national preparedness and community grants and projects, including through the continuation of the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program – the funding for which President Biden doubled to $1 billion – to provide incentives for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to adopt modern, disaster-resistant building codes. DHS initial BRIC selections include wildfire resilience programs, flood control programs, and small-town coastal hazard mitigation plans.

“2. Incorporating climate adaptation planning and processes into homeland security mission areas, including by reviewing current budget planning policies to assess whether climate change considerations are appropriately incorporated.

“3. Creating climate-resilient facilities and infrastructure, including by aiming to electrify 50 percent of the DHS vehicle fleet by 2030.

“4. Ensuring climate-ready services and supplies, for both the Department and the Nation, including by using CISA’s national risk assessment program to assess climate impacts and adaptation strategies to secure supplies of food, medicine, energy, and other vital resources.

“5. Increasing climate literacy, including by developing and implementing a DHS-wide climate education plan to raise awareness among our employees about the climate crisis and how to combat it through adaptation and resilience strategies.”

Doug Bedell — October 13, 2021, 8:03 am

Google to the Rescue: Creates a ‘Cybersecurity Action Team’


Acting against cybersecurity threats, Google has created a Cybersecurity Action Team with “the singular mission of supporting the security and digital transformation of governments, critical infrastructure, enterprises, and small businesses.”

“In pursuit of this mission,” Google explains, “the team will provide services in four key areas: strategic advisory, trust and compliance, security customer and solutions engineering, and threat intelligence and incident response.

It adds that the team will have the “”the singular mission of supporting the security and digital transformation of governments, critical infrastructure, enterprises, and small businesses.”

Web searching via Google should have added security with this new focus.

Doug Bedell — October 11, 2021, 2:00 pm

Computer Threats Keep Growing in an Internet-Fueled World


Cyber criminals keep upping the stakes in security challenges of businesses that are ill-equipped to contend with them, the ITProPortol site advises.

“Modern cybercriminals engage in all sorts of malicious activities, from four-dimensional ransomware attacks (ransomware in the back-end, DDoS in the front-end, data theft and intimidation), to cloud-based cryptomining, business email compromise and various forms of fraud.” (The forms of attack are themselves confounding.)

“Businesses are forced to keep their employees vigilant, their supply chain tight and their systems protected. This is an even larger challenge than it sounds, as most are lacking skilled staff, as well as visibility across disparate and hard-to-integrate tools.”

This is all explained in “a new report from security education firm ISMG, funded by ReliaQuest”. Keeping up with threats in an internet-linked world is indeed challenging.

Doug Bedell — October 8, 2021, 3:37 pm

Reasons for Being ‘Cybersmart’ on Your Computers


American Military University’s Edge blog notes that “October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month – an initiative created to raise our nation’s knowledge of the vital role that cybersecurity plays in keeping Americans safe and secure online..

“In the early days of the digital age,” the post continues, “cybersecurity was an optional part of a company’s infrastructure or an individual’s home office setup. Today, it is no longer optional, and deploying robust measures for cybersecurity is essential”

It follows with some sobering statistics “illustrating the need for strong cybersecurity:

“1. Worldwide spending on cybersecurity is going to reach $133.7 billion in 2022.
“2. 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing.
“3. Data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records in the first half of 2019.
“4. 71% of breaches were financially motivated, and 25% were motivated by espionage.
“5. 52% of breaches featured hacking, 28% involved malware, and 32–33% included phishing or social engineering, respectively.
“6. On average, only 5% of companies’ folders are properly protected.”

So, the post adds, “Do Your Part – BeCyberSmart”. That’s a fitting prompting for being cyber aware on any computers connected with your enterprises.

Doug Bedell — October 6, 2021, 11:41 am

More on Cyber Security Job Openings: Young People Sorely Needed


There’s a massive need for cybersecurity professionals, Wes O’Donnell of American Military University advises: “According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be a staggering 3.5 million unfilled cyber positions by the end of 2021!”

“This means that cybersecurity engineers who possess the right certifications and education can command top salaries at any company they choose. Why? Because cybercrime is costing companies an average of $6 trillion a year — that’s trillion, with a T — and that trend is expected to continue through 2021.

“Gone are the days where a single CTO and her small team could handle the IT needs of a medium to large corporation.

“In the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce (GISW) Study, two-thirds of the nearly 20,000 responding companies indicated that they lacked the number of cybersecurity professionals needed for today’s threat landscape.”

And the shortage has been virtually exploding. This is the second website we’ve seen calling attention to the need – the Security Industry Association is on it too. Obviously, it’s real.

Doug Bedell — October 4, 2021, 1:51 pm

Do Your Holiday Shopping Early – ‘The Supply Chain Is a Mess’


If you haven’t heard, this year’s holiday shopping period is likely to be frustrating – high demand with a low supply of goods. That’s because, PC Magazine explains, “The global supply chain is a mess.”

“It all started with COVID-19. The pandemic has been disrupting manufacturing, driving up demand for computing at home, and causing workers to rethink their careers and quit. That’s led to a historic chip shortage, backed up mercantile ports, and a labor shortage that’s depriving factories, trucking companies, and retailers of enough workers.

“As a result, companies have been struggling to churn out as much product as they’d like. Meanwhile, stores and e-commerce sites are receiving lower inventory than expected. The bad news is we’re unlikely to see significant relief ahead of the 2021 holiday season. Forrester Analyst Alla Valente expects the supply chain problems to persist ‘well into next year’.

“And it could exacerbate,” she says. “COVID is still here, and there are many fluctuations going on, so it’s difficult to predict.”

Sorry for the bad news, but somebody has to share it.

Doug Bedell — October 1, 2021, 10:36 am

Equipping Hospital Workers With ‘Panic Buttons’


Stress levels at a Missouri hospital are prompting health care workers there to wear panic buttons. “Pushing the button,” an Associated Press story advises, “will immediately alert hospital security, launching a tracking system that will send help to the endangered worker. The hospital hopes to have the system operational by the end of the year.”

“A similar program was successfully tested last year at CoxHealth’s Springfield hospital, spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell said.

Surges in COVID-19 admissions are bringing flaring tempers among incoming patients. “Personal Panic Buttons are one more tool in the battle to keep our staff safe and further demonstrate this organization’s commitment to maintaining a safe work and care environment,” said a hospital spokesperson.

The AP story adds patient stress levels extend beyond Missouri. “The Texas Tribune reported earlier this month on the rising number of assaults at Texas hospitals, incidents that officials believe are fueled by a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.”

Doug Bedell — September 29, 2021, 9:42 am

Looking for a Security Industry Job? Here’s a Site to Check Out


Trying to rebound from setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, with skills in the electronic security field? The Security Industry Association website can help. It’s providing a link to job listings from the Foundation for Advancing Security Talent (FAST).

“FAST”, SIA explains, “is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that connects passionate, innovative professionals with new opportunities in electronic security and life safety and awareness to the career advancement opportunities within the fast-paced technology industry that serves to keep people, places and property safe. The FAST Jobs Board allows job seekers to search by keyword, job title and location and features thousands of jobs from over 800 companies, and the site’s jobs have earned over 400,000 impressions in 2021.”

So have at it if you’re looking for a security industry job.

Doug Bedell — September 27, 2021, 11:39 am

Defending U.S. Elections from Manipulation, Cyber and Otherwise


Three seemingly unlikely compilers – the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and the Stanford Internet Observatory – have joined together to produce a playbook entitled “Combating Information Manipulation: A Playbook for Elections and Beyond“.

The playbook “guides readers to understand information manipulation and presents steps to identify, respond, and build resilience against it. With this three-part strategy, the authors hope to establish approaches to maintain election integrity and strengthen democratic processes.”

Further, “Dealing with information manipulation around an election is a new and unfamiliar phenomenon for many countries. Civil society actors, journalists, governments, election management bodies and other democratic actors often end up scrambling to respond in the lead-up to an election. To address this challenge, IRI, NDI and SIO have joined forces to create this playbook, intended to help leapfrog the first six months of the electoral preparation process. The playbook lays out the basics of the problem and the core elements of a response, and points to trusted resources for those looking to do a deeper dive into a particular type of intervention or threat.”

We discovered the playbook via the Homeland Security Digital Library.