DESCRIPTION OF THE CYBERSECURITY PROGRAM
The goal of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Cybersecurity Program is to provide much needed awareness regarding the threat of cybersecurity as well as monitoring, security, and training to protect Montana’s small and medium sized businesses from cybersecurity attacks. Cyber-attacks on all businesses, but particularly small to medium sized businesses are becoming more frequent, targeted, and complex. This program would provide funds to directly assist businesses with cybersecurity monitoring and security. The Department has allocated approximately $2 million towards this program.
Businesses can receive up to $8,000 in grant funds for reimbursement of newly implemented cybersecurity measures paid to an accredited Montana Cybersecurity Company for monitoring and security equipment and/or programs.
These ARPA funds are provided under Assistance Listing Number (“ALN”), formerly known as CFDA Number, 21.027.
Accredited Montana Cybersecurity Company: A Montana based Managed Service Provider (MSP), IT, or security company with a combination of education, certification, training, and experiential and continuous learning attributes required to implement cybersecurity measures effectively. Common certifications can be found here: ttps://niccs.cisa.gov/about-niccs/cybersecurity-certifications
Eligible Activities: Eligible cybersecurity measures include the following performed by a third party: security services, network security equipment, consumer security software, data security, cloud security, infrastructure protection, identity access management, real time threat response, integrated risk management, application security and training. Cyber Insurance is NOT eligible. Costs must have been incurred after November 15, 2022.
Eligible Business: The business must be registered and in good standing with the Montana Secretary of State or Tribal Government and/or is a sole proprietorship. The business must have at least 5 but no more than 50 employees. The Business must also have been in business for more than one year and may not be a hobby business. The business cannot have implemented any previous cybersecurity measures, except for the standard anti-virus software. Marijuana related businesses are not eligible for Federal grants.
Hobby Business: Any activity that a person pursues because they enjoy it and with no intention of making a profit. The Department reserves the right to follow up for additional information to determine if a business is a hobby business. The Department will make the determination at its own discretion.
Eligible business apply directly to the program. Applications are only accepted on https://www.covidreliefmt.org/submit
Businesses are excluded from receiving funds if they are on the federal or state debarment lists or engaging in a business activity that is federally excluded like cannabis.
GRANT CEILING AND THRESHOLDS
The Department ultimately determines the size of the grant and reserves the right to recommend a reduced amount.
Businesses can submit one grant application to the program, but the one application can include multiple eligible activity invoices up to $8000.
Reimbursements are for businesses that have not implemented cybersecurity measures in the past except for antivirus software.
Eligible business must engage with Montana based Managed Service Provider (MSP) IT, or security company with a combination of education, certification, training, and experiential and continuous learning attributes for the implementation of eligible activities. Many of these activities are considered cybersecurity hygiene but can also include the purchase of equipment for the implementation of the cybersecurity measures.
The costs must have been incurred after November 15, 2022.
GRANT APPLICATION SUBMITTAL PROCESS
The Montana Department of Commerce is the primary point of contact for initiating the application.
The eligible business must implement and pay for the cybersecurity measures. Once they complete the measures, the eligible business may submit an application to the Department of Commerce for reimbursement.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION SUBMITTAL
Applications will be accepted on a first come – first serve basis until all funds have been obligated.
Reimbursement requests for eligible expenses will be accepted beginning November 15, 2022, through May 30, 2023.
MANAGEMENT OF FUNDS
The eligible business must have implemented and paid for the cybersecurity measures. They are eligible to submit one application, up to $8,000, for reimbursement. Once the expenses are verified and contract has been executed, the funds are transferred via Electronic Funds Transfer to the business.
At the end of the calendar year, the State will issue 1099 for funds disbursed.
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