Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that Suffolk County is undertaking a Cybersecurity Project to determine any existing vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks, as well as what recommendations should be implemented to protect its physical and digital infrastructure.
“Municipalities operate many crucial cyber control systems that are vital to the function of government, affecting everything from the water we drink, to traffic signals to power plants, and more,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “This thorough security assessment of our current network will serve as a ‘cyber checkup’, helping us understand our current abilities and identifying areas that could use improvement.”
The County, through the RFP process, selected RedLand Strategies to help lead a thorough assessment of its current network with the assistance of Palo Alto Networks. The Project will focus on three public safety departments that include the Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services, and the Suffolk County Department of Information Technology.
The Cybersecurity Project will review existing cybersecurity response policies, plans and procedures, and develop recommendations for best practices for government. In addition, Suffolk County will be the first municipality in the State of New York that will execute a cybersecurity tabletop exercise solely to evaluate its core public safety organizations.
The cost of the project totals $55,000, which is being funded as part of a federal pass through grant from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, under the State Homeland Security Program.
Cyber threats and attacks are a real, significant threat to governments, organizations and businesses and often happen without warning. Cyber-related attacks have occurred in government organizations across the country including in Atlanta Georgia, Baltimore Maryland, Davidson County North Carolina and Dallas Texas. The impact of a data breach on an organization averages $3.86 million, with more serious "mega breaches" costing hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a recent IBM Institute study from 2018.