IT consulting is helping California’s cities, municipalities and tribal governments figure out how to maximize the ROI on their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Managed service providers like Diamond IT are offering straightforward advice about which technologies modernize and secure city services. To help spread this critical advice, we created this quick overview explaining:
- Why you want to use ARPA funds on IT
- What you should invest in.
You don’t have to figure out ARPA funding on your own. Read this article. Decide which technology projects, systems or hardware are worthy and eligible to be funded with incoming ARPA money.
Why You Should Use ARPA on IT Projects
The most sensible ways for municipalities to use ARPA funding is on:
- IT projects that were put on hold last year
- New IT projects that could have a positive impact on lost public-sector revenue
- Cybersecurity measures that protect your citizens
Broad guidance lets you spend money where you need it
The guidance issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury is malleable. Of course, that benefit can be a drawback. It may not be immediately clear that the following categories are IT-related:
- Supporting COVID-related public health expenditures
- Rebuilding public-sector capacity
- Making necessary investments in physical and online infrastructure
Through our IT consulting, Bakersfield-area governments have already started using their funding for IT projects that fit these qualifications.
Cybercriminals are targeting cities
In the last year and a half, we’ve seen a 60% increase in cyberattacks against local governments. From a lone wolf actor to a sophisticated overseas group, every hacker knows cities haven’t invested in protecting data. They can launch simple attacks and unleash devastation on your citizens and employees.
You’re funded through December 2026
ARPA is ideal for a technology project because the funding is good through December 2026. You don’t have to worry about starting a major initiative, like moving to the cloud, and then running out of money to maintain the project.
Note: Funds must be allocated by December 2024
ARPA-Eligible Projects That Improve Cybersecurity
When used strategically, ARPA funding can:
- Mitigate the risk of cyberattacks
- Protect confidential constituent data
- Modernize city services
- Prevent downtime
To reap these benefits, while improving your security posture, invest in at least one of these 3 projects when your funding arrives.
1. Make your city digitally safe
Like many municipalities, California City didn’t have the budget for a long-needed cybersecurity overhaul. Then the city was crippled by a ransomware attack. In late May 2021, criminals took over services, encrypted files and shut down systems like billing and email. The IT technician working for California City at the time was unwilling and unable to help remediate. We came in and restored their data. But it was a costly, preventable process.
This isn’t the first time we’ve helped a city get back online
In October 2020, Shafter was hit by an attack that left it unable to access its entire IT system. Citizens couldn’t:
- Pay utility bills
- Reach emergency services
- Communicate with their local government agencies
Protect your constituents
By weaving cybersecurity into every layer of your systems and protocols, we can help you take the necessary precautions that keep your citizens’ data safe. Through continuous monitoring and assessments, we help ensure that any potential threat is handled before it turns into a major breach.
Compared to the cost of restoring after an attack, the investment is minimal
That’s the view California City Councilmember Kelly Kulikoff took during a special city council meeting that approved our contract to provide IT services to the city. Of the contract, Kulikoff said it “is a low cost compared to the potential damage we’re going to create in the future by not addressing this today.”
2. Move to the cloud
The pandemic forced your city to digitize services. But a lack of funding often meant you had to find ways to let constituents remotely access forms or make payments using outdated, aging systems.
The cloud offers an alternative
Migrating to government cloud solutions makes services more accessible for citizens and easier to manage. Cloud platforms improve collaboration and communication among your team. They can work from home using secure, easy-to-use tools and platforms available from Microsoft’s communications solutions, like Teams.
Government licensing is available for highly secure Microsoft communications solutions
With Teams and other collaboration tools included in government-licensed Microsoft communications solutions, it’s easier than ever for city employees to work together on projects remotely. This flexibility comes with an added layer of safety, since you cannot outspend Microsoft on cybersecurity.
The combination of security and flexibility found in every government cloud solution is exactly what many cities need in a post-pandemic world. Plus, the solutions are compliant by design. Using Microsoft government cloud solutions makes the legal and regulatory process simpler and offers ongoing peace of mind.
Custom cloud solutions are within your budget
The cloud consulting services offered by Diamond IT will support your city with the design and administration of a secure government cloud built entirely for your needs and budget. With our expertise and Microsoft’s government licensing packages, you can ensure ongoing security and compliance.
3. Get compliant
Moving to the cloud can help achieve compliance, but that’s not a complete solution. There may still be elements of your system or daily routines that put your compliance at risk. After all, 2020 completely disrupted your standard operations. If you haven’t conducted a full review of processes and procedures, can you say with 100% certainty that you’re still compliant?
Even the smallest gap puts your entire system at risk
Diamond IT can help assess your system to see whether you’re still in compliance, then help you create a strategy to get you back within requirements fast. By uncovering specific vulnerabilities within your system, you can direct ARPA funding where it’s most critical, which helps improve ROI and mitigates risk.
Diamond IT Can Help Improve ROI Using American Rescue Plan Act Funding
Diamond IT is already helping cities achieve a higher ROI from their ARPA funding. We can help you too. Your employees deserve a stable work environment. Your constituents should easily be able to access your services. We can help you achieve both.
Set up a consultation with us today to see how we can work together to make your municipality more accessible, compliant and secure.