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Grant Report - Strengthening Washington State Cybersecurity Posture In The Defense Supply Chain

CYBERSECURITY GRANT REPORT - JULY 2020

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND COMPETITIVENESS DEFENSE SECTOR. 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

In early 2020, Impact Washington (IW) commenced a cybersecurity grant project funded by the Department of Defense Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (DoD OLDCC) through the Washington State Department of Commerce Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness with the broad intent of strengthening Washington State cybersecurity posture in the defense supply chain. In addition to providing outreach to all known members of the state’s defense supply chain on the need for cybersecurity resiliency and providing resource information to improve their cybersecurity understanding and knowledge, cybersecurity assessment and training was provided to over 200 companies, and guided expert support was given to 36 individual companies to advance their cybersecurity posture.

Major learnings from the grant project verified that members of the DoD supply chain face considerable roadblocks to pursuing improvement of their cybersecurity posture including fear of unknown costs (>60%), no impending/clear compliance deadline (>50%), staffing constraints (50%), and no perceived ROI (>20%).

Virtually all individual support recipients expressed that the assistance from cybersecurity professionals was critical to their ability to not only start on their cybersecurity journey but also to sustain it into the future. They reported that their engagements resulted in a clearer identification of ongoing costs and expenses (hardware, software, software as a service (SaaS), subscriptions, etc.) to achieve and maintain compliance. Participants stated that their general understanding of DoD cybersecurity requirements was significantly elevated and most reported that they felt they had a defined pathway to compliance with DoD cybersecurity standards.

Despite the positive results of the clients’ engagement with cybersecurity professionals, most participants expressed ongoing concern about the costs of compliance and staffing to effectuate it.

PURPOSE OF GRANT:

The purpose of the DoD OLDCC/Commerce grant is captured succinctly in the following grant application narrative:

[T]he state of Washington proposes a unique partnership that would strengthen the cybersecurity posture of the state’s defense manufacturers by providing awareness, training, and proof of fault remediation to [the Washington State defense supply chain]. Through this project, the state will also strengthen its capacity to stimulate cooperation between local/individual and statewide efforts by building partnerships through the MEP and the private sector to enhance relationship development needs that will encourage current and future trust in problem- solving while creating a cost-effective technical assistance delivery model for the DoD that accomplishes their goal of supporting the defense industrial base’s cybersecurity resilience.

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