DeWine, Husted announce new cybersecurity services for local governments

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that CyberOhio will offer free services to local government entities to boost their cybersecurity preparedness and resilience.

The new Ohio Persistent Cyber Improvement (O-PCI) program will guide local agencies through three cybersecurity preparedness levels. Each level will consist of a five-step process for cybersecurity advancement: education, training, exercising, mentoring, and improvement.

“The O-PCI program is a significant step forward for the Ohio,” said DeWine. “The threat of cyberattacks is increasing every year, and we must give our local partners the training and support they need to protect themselves from cyber criminals.”

“In today’s world, strengthening cybersecurity is more important than ever,” said Husted. “This new resource will be a helpful service to our partners on the local level, arming them with the tools they need to prevent cyberattacks, building up cyber resilience, and helping to protect Ohioans.”

The O-PCI program was developed by CyberOhio with the help of the Homeland Security Advisory Committee – Cyber (HSAC-Cyber). The committee, led by Kirk Herath, cybersecurity strategic advisor to Governor DeWine, is a collaborative effort between state agencies, local government entities, public sector partners, and cybersecurity experts. O-PCI will be funded by the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program (SLCGP) from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The O-PCI program will receive $4.9 million in the first year of the program.

“The O-PCI program marks a pivotal moment for local government cybersecurity in Ohio,” said Herath. “By capitalizing on this funding, we have a tremendous opportunity to enhance our cyber defenses, bolster threat intelligence capabilities, and foster a culture of cyber resilience among local governments. The O-PCI will serve as a beacon of excellence in cybersecurity for other states to emulate.”

The Ohio Cyber Range Institute and the Ohio Cyber Reserve will deliver the education and training, conduct National Institute of Standards and Technology assessments and inventories, coordinate tabletop exercises and after-action reviews, and provide continuous mentorship and guidance to local entities. Services are provided free of charge to local agencies regardless of their familiarity with cybersecurity methods.

DeWine initially created CyberOhio while serving as Ohio’s attorney general. The program coordinates and guides Ohio’s cybersecurity efforts across all state executive branch agencies. CyberOhio streamlines and leads collaboration with other state offices and branches, counties, local governments, academic institutions, and critical infrastructure partners to protect Ohio’s information technology infrastructure and data across sectors.