Life hack: DeSantis administration seeks $150M to boost Florida’s cybersecurity

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Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state needs to put its tech guard up.

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants lawmakers to approve a nearly $150 million investment in cybersecurity for state government.

A “Framework for Freedom” budget worth almost $115 billion includes massive spending to protect from hacks.

“The Framework for Freedom Budget continues to build on its investment to harden Florida’s cybersecurity framework through the commitment of $149 million in various state agencies for security intelligence, modernization, training, and resiliency,” a budget release reads.

“As cybersecurity threats continue to become more sophisticated, it is vital that both state and local governments have the tools necessary to protect critical public resources and sensitive information.”

This comes after years of outside threats to a variety of state-managed data networks. The systems in place have proven vulnerable to Russian hackers penetrating the state’s election systems — but also to 11-year-old children able to break into state websites.

The proposed funding is spread out in the budget in numerous silos.

The proposal includes $50 million for cybersecurity resiliency in the office of the Chief Information Officer, $45.5 million in technical assistance grants for local government, and $20.5 million in enterprise cybersecurity resiliency for the state’s universities, among other specific areas of spending.

The expenditure steps up measures to protect Florida’s place in cyberspace. The Legislature last year approved a budget with some $87 million to fortify cybersecurity, though the administration wanted $30 million more. The Governor’s proposal for the new fiscal year steps up the ask a good bit further than that — or about $117 million in total.

The proposal from the Governor’s Office now goes to the Legislature for consideration, but lawmakers will independently draft their own budget. Once the House and Senate agree on a budget, it will go to DeSantis for his signature, at which point he can veto items but cannot put more spending in.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


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