Last year was one of the most active years for cyberattacks, with businesses experiencing 50% more attacks per week in 2021 compared to 2020.
Experts say 30,000 websites are hacked every day and that every 39 seconds a company falls victim to a cyberattack. The average cost of a data breach rose in 2021, from $3.86 million to $4.24 million.
Unfortunately, cyberattacks are happening more often and with greater sophistication.
“I take this kind of stuff very seriously,” said Mark Woomer, the IT director for the City of Kingsport. “I don’t want anything to happen here on my watch if I can help it.”
Kingsport’s IT department is responsible for installing and maintaining the city’s computers, servers, printers, and email and phone systems. In addition, the seven-member department is responsible for protecting and securing the city’s data and making sure it’s available to the right people at the right time.
Like most other cities across the country, Kingsport gets hit with a variety of cyberattacks on a fairly regular basis, including malware, ransomware, denial of service attacks and viruses. Woomer’s IT department works hard every day to ensure the city’s systems, computers and data are safe and secure.
Now, through the use of $140,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, Kingsport is planning to strengthen its cybersecurity measures. The department is planning to do this through the purchase of new software and a couple of hardware solutions, all of which should be fully implemented in six to 12 months.
In addition, Woomer hopes to use a portion of these funds to hold quarterly training sessions with city employees on cybersecurity – reminding employees what to do and what not to do while working on a computer.
“Just to increase awareness and keep people on their toes,” Woomer explained of the training sessions. “Employees have been doing pretty well, but we don’t want to lose that awareness.”