DHS announces additional $374.9 million in funding to boost State, Local Cybersecurity

The Department of Homeland Security has announced the availability of $374.9 million in grant funding for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program (SLCGP). State and local governments face increasingly sophisticated cyber threats to their critical infrastructure and public safety. Now in its second year, the SLCGP is a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program specifically for state, local, and territorial (SLT) governments nationwide to help them strengthen their cyber resilience. Established by the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, and part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the SLCGP provides $1 billion in funding over four years to support SLT governments as they develop capabilities to detect, protect against, and respond to cyber threats. This year’s funding allotment represents a significant increase from the $185 million allotted in FY22, demonstrating the Administration and Congress’s commitment to help improve the cybersecurity of communities across the nation.

“In today’s threat environment, any locality is vulnerable to a devastating cyber attack targeted at a hospital, school, water, or other system,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The Department of Homeland Security is helping to ensure that every community, regardless of size, funding, or resources, can meet these threats and keep their residents and their critical infrastructure safe and secure. These cybersecurity grants will help state, local, and territorial governments do just that, and I strongly urge communities nationwide to submit an application.”

SLCGP is jointly administered by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). CISA provides expertise and guidance on cybersecurity issues while FEMA manages the grant award and allocation process. Award recipients may use the funding for a wide range of cybersecurity improvements and capabilities, including cybersecurity planning and exercising, hiring cyber personnel, and improving the daily services that citizens rely on.

“State and local governments are facing increasingly sophisticated cyber threats to their critical infrastructure and public safety,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “As the Nation’s Cyber Defense Agency, CISA is pleased to make available yet another tool that will help strengthen cyber defenses for communities across the nation and bolster our collective cybersecurity.”

“Building resilience requires more than mitigating against natural hazards,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “As our threat landscape continues to evolve, the funding provided through the state, local, and territorial cybersecurity grant program will increase capability to help communities better prepare and reduce cyber risks.”

State and local governments have until October 6 to apply for this FY23 grant opportunity. For more information and helpful resources on the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, visit CISA’s webpage: cisa.gov/cybergrants.

ESA Welcomes New Board Members: Rick Seymour & Michael Barnes

The Electronic Security Association recently installed two new members on its Board of Directors – Rick Seymour CEO, CSI Palm Beach, and Michael Barnes, founding partner, Barnes Associates, Inc. Both were installed onto the ESA Board of Directors during the ESA Annual Meeting at ESX and began their term on July 1st. Each Board Member has a responsibility for ensuring strategies and policies that are developed, discussed and implemented will enable the organization to achieve its mission and vision, and to monitor the organization’s implementation of those strategies and policies.

Congratulations to all newly elected and installed board members:

Integrator Chairman John Loud 2022-2024
Integrator Director Kevin Stone 2022-2024
Integrator Director Rick Seymour 2022-2024
Integrator Director Melissa Brinkman 2021-2023
Integrator Director Jeremy Bates 2021-2023
National Company Director Doug Bassett 2022-2024
Associate Member Director Jason Lutz 2021-2023
Competency Director Steve Firestone 2022-2023
Competency Director Michael Barnes 2022-2023
Immediate Past Chairman Director Jamie Vos 2022-2024 

Read More


New Study: Communities Find Success with Model Alarm Ordinance

A new study by a professor at the UNC-Charlotte, Criminal Justice & Criminology Department shows that most electronic security systems in the communities studied protect life and property without generating calls for police services. The study examined four communities that had adopted the Model Alarm Ordinance, developed by the industry and leaders in law enforcement to reduce unnecessary calls for service while maintaining police response to alarms.

The four communities included Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Atlanta and Marietta, Georgia; and Montgomery County, Maryland. These communities represented two large agencies, one smaller suburban agency and one county agency managing more than 570,000 permitted alarm systems.

“A key finding of the study,” said Dr. Joe Kuhns, “is that the vast majority of alarm systems in these four locations were effective at protecting lives and property while generating zero calls for service in a given year, and only a tiny percentage are problematic systems that generated multiple calls for service.”

The annual average percentage of registered alarms that generated zero dispatches was as high as 92% in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 82.6% in Atlanta, 87.5% in Montgomery County and 66.4% in Marietta. These statistics represented an 8 or10-year average, depending on how long the ordinance had been in effect.

“It is also noteworthy that the percentage of zero dispatches tends to increase over time,” said Kuhns. “As jurisdictions get better at administration, and the public becomes more familiar with the ordinance, results consistently improved over time in these four settings.”

The proportion of problematic systems, which generate three or more dispatches in a year, was only .09% in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 3.5% in Atlanta, 1.08% in Montgomery County and 8.7% in Marietta.

The Model Alarm Ordinance was created in collaboration with leaders in public safety through organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association,” said Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) which funded the study. “Public safety leaders recognize the important role electronic security plays in their communities and the importance of police response as a deterrent to crime.

“The Model Alarm Ordinance directly addresses the issue that the vast majority of false alarms are caused by user error,” said Martin. “The study demonstrates that the strategy of focusing on the chronic abusers and fining owners who are careless in operating their electronic security systems is the most effective way of minimizing calls for service.

“The Model Alarm Ordinance is a framework that communities can modify to best fit their local needs,” said Martin. “SIAC provides consultation at no cost to law enforcement agencies considering or modifying alarm ordinances.”

“The model alarm ordinance calls for increasing fines or even curtailing response to the very small percentage of systems that place inordinate demands on public safety agencies,” said Kuhns. “In addition, it mandates multiple contacts with the alarm site prior to contacting public safety agencies.”

“False alarms did not consume a lot of law enforcement resources in the four agencies we studied,” said Kuhns. “If we can replicate what they are doing across the nation’s 18,000+ law enforcement agencies, we are going to wind up saving a whole lot of money and time which can be devoted to other public safety priorities.”

Joe Kuhns, Ph.D., Professor, UNC-Charlotte, Criminal Justice & Criminology

Dr. Joe Kuhns teaches courses in policing, community policing, drugs and crime, and research methods at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prior to arriving at UNCC in 2003, Dr. Kuhns served as a Senior Policy Analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice (Office of Community Oriented Policing Services).

About SIAC

SIAC represents one voice for the electronic security industry on alarm management issues –communicating solutions and enhancing relationships with law enforcement.  SIAC is comprised of four major North American security associations–Canadian Security Association (CANASA), Security Industry Association (SIA), The Monitoring Association (TMA), and the Electronic Security Association (ESA). For more information, go to www.SIACinc.org ,  www.siacinc.wordpress.com, or follow us on www.twitter.com/siacinc.

Homeland Security Department Warns of More Mass Casualty Violence

Homeland Security warns of individuals using high-profile events to justify violence against ideological opponents, public gatherings, schools and more

The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin Tuesday warning of a “heightened threat environment” over the next several months as they monitor both risks of domestic terrorism and foreign adversaries looking to sow discord within the U.S. to promote acts of violence.

The United States remains in a heightened threat environment, as noted in the previous Bulletin, and several recent attacks have highlighted the dynamic and complex nature of the threat environment,” DHS said in a new bulletin from the National Terrorism Advisory System.

“In the coming months, we expect the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets,” DHS said.

The bulletin listed potential targets to include “public gatherings, faith-based institutions, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.”

The department stressed that “foreign adversaries-including terrorist organizations and nation state adversaries-also remain intent on exploiting the threat environment to promote or inspire violence, sow discord, or undermine U.S. democratic institutions.”

“We continue to assess that the primary threat of mass casualty violence in the United States stems from lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances,” the bulletin said.

DHS pointed to several recent high-profile events including the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, where the suspect in the grocery store attack allegedly claimed that he was motivated by racist, anti-Black, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The department said it is monitoring online forums following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that have been encouraging copycat attacks.

TMA’s Automated Secure Alarm Protocol nears its 100th ECC

The Monitoring Association (TMA) has welcomed six new local PSAPs/Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs) from across the United States to its ASAP-to-PSAP service since December 20, 2021. These include: Albemarle County-UVA-City of Charlottesville VA;  Thurston County WA 9-1-1 Communications (WA); Talladega County Alabama 9-1-1; Valley Communications Regional 9-1-1 Center (WA); City of Colonial Heights VA Emergency Communications Center (ECC) (VA); and Elk County Pennsylvania Emergency Services. Launched in 2011 as a public-private partnership, TMA’s ASAP service is designed to increase the accuracy and efficiency of calls for service from alarm companies to Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs).

“In an emergency situation when every second counts, TMA’s ASAP service is reducing response time for our first responders by increasing the speed of communication from the security provider to the local ECC,” commented TMA President Morgan Hertel. “As we’ve seen over the course of recent months, this communication protocol is gaining broad adoption across the United States as municipalities learn more about its life-saving benefits firsthand from public safety peers. It’s rewarding for all of those within TMA who have contributed immeasurable hours and technical expertise, as well as financial support, to the development and advancement of this important service.”

Learn more about TMA’s ASAP service at www.tma.us/asap/.

ECC details:

Elk County PA (#99)

Elk County Pennsylvania Emergency Services became the 99th Emergency Communications Center (ECC) in the United States and the 6th ECC in the state of Pennsylvania to implement the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Elk County went live on Thursday, February 3rd with Vector Security, Rapid Response Monitoring, Securitas, Affiliated Monitoring, Tyco (Johnson Controls), Protection One, Brinks Home Security, Vivint, Stanley Security, Quick Response, Security Central, Guardian Protection and ADT.

City of Colonial Heights VA (#98)

The City of Colonial Heights VA Emergency Communications Center (ECC) is the 98th public safety communications center in the United States and the 20th agency in the state of Virginia to implement the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). The Colonial Heights ECC went live on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, with Rapid Response Monitoring, CPI Security, Stanley Security, Securitas, Guardian Protection, Protection One, Vector Security, Tyco (Johnson Controls), United Central Control, Vivint, Security Central, Brinks Home Security, National Monitoring Center, Affiliated Monitoring, Richmond Alarm, and ADT.

Valley Communications WA (Valley Comm) (#97)

The Valley Communications Regional 9-1-1 Center, based in Kent WA, also known as “Valley Com 9-1-1”, is the 97th public safety communications center in the United States and the 3rd agency in the state of Washington to implement the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Valley Com went live on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, and Wednesday, February 2, 2022, with Vector Security, Rapid Response Monitoring, Guardian Protection, Security Central, Securitas, Stanley Security, United Central Control, Tyco (Johnson Controls), Affiliated Monitoring, National Monitoring Center, Brinks, Vivint, and Protection One. ADT and Washington Alarm will be live with Valley Comm later during the month of February.

Talladega County Alabama 9-1-1 (#96)

On Thursday, January 27, 2020, Talladega County Alabama 9-1-1 became the 96th ECC in the United States and the 3rd ECC in the state of Alabama to implement the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Talladega went live on Thursday, January 27th with Rapid Response Monitoring, Vector Security, Securitas, Affiliated Monitoring, ADS, Tyco (Johnson Controls), Security Central, Protection One, Brinks Home Security, Vivint, Stanley Security, Guardian Protection, Alert 360, and National Monitoring Center. ADT will be brought online at a later date.

Thurston County WA 9-1-1 Communications (#95)

The Thurston County WA 9-1-1 Communications, also known as “TCOMM911”, is the 95th public safety communications center in the United States and the 2nd agency in the state of Washington to implement the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). TCOMM911 went live on Monday, January 24, 2022, and Tuesday, January 25, 2022, with Vector Security, Rapid Response Monitoring, Guardian Protection, United Central Control, Securitas, Security Central, Tyco (Johnson Controls), National Monitoring Center, Affiliated Monitoring, Protection One, Brinks, Vivint, ADT, and Stanley Security.

Albemarle County-UVA-City of Charlottesville VA (#94)

The Albemarle County-University of Virginia-City of Charlottesville VA Emergency Communications Center (ECC) is the 94th public safety communications center in the United States and the 19th agency in the state of Virginia to implement the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). The Albemarle-UVA-Charlottesville ECC went live on Monday, December 20th with Vector Security, Rapid Response Monitoring, Security Central, CPI Security, Securitas, Tyco (Johnson Controls), Richmond Alarm, Wegmans Security, Guardian Protection, Affiliated Monitoring, Stanley Security, National Monitoring Center, Brinks Home Security, Vivint, United Central Control, Protection One, and ADT.

Download Data Breach Report from ITRC

Since 2005, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has tracked publicly reported data breaches in the United States. What began as a collection of basic information has grown into a database of more than 13,900 data compromises that include up to 90 data points per event.

Now in its 16th year, the ITRC’s Data Breach Report for 2021 looks at the number of data compromises, the types of data compromised, the root causes of data compromises, and much more. The 2021 Data Breach Report also previews a new free service for consumers that alerts them in the event companies they select issue a data breach notice. Please visit https://notified.idtheftcenter.org/s/resource#annualReportSection to download a copy of the report PDF. For questions about the report, contact notifiedbyitrc@idtheftcenter.org.

The ITRC uses information voluntarily collected from you to communicate effectively and efficiently with you and to provide best-in-class services. The ITRC does not sell or share any information about individual users. For more details, read our privacy policy.

Cybersecurity Risk Management – Topic of NIST Virtual Series

NIST and the Center for Cybersecurity Policy and Law are pleased to invite you to the final event in a virtual series that will focus on the latest approaches to cybersecurity risk management. Over the last three virtual events, we have discussed international cybersecurity risk management standards and practices, supply chain risk management, and non-profit cybersecurity risk management. All these best practices come down to an ability to quantify the risks facing an organization and effectively and efficiently allocating resources to mitigate those cybersecurity risks. This session will bring together leaders from government and industry to discuss these important topics. It will feature speakers from NIST, CISA, and cybersecurity leaders from financial and healthcare sector. We hope you can join us for our final event in this series!

This virtual event will take place on January 27 from 11:30am-1:30pm EST.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cybersecurity-risk-management-virtual-event-series-part-4-tickets-242989878267

CS-V-01 Draft Available Now, Public Review opens November 12, 2021

The TMA CS-V-01 Committee has completed revisions to TMA CS-V-01 2021 and the draft is available now at https://tma.us/standards/.  30-day public review opened November 12, 2021. Closing date 12/13/2021.

TMA Members May Attend Annual Meeting for FREE

The Monitoring Association (TMA) is pleased to announce that through the generosity of its meeting sponsors, TMA members may now register to attend its upcoming 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting for FREE. Nonmembers may also register at a reduced rate of $450 for the three-day education and networking meeting. The virtual meeting will take place Tuesday, October 12th-Thursday, October 14th.

The 2021 meeting sponsors are:

  • Platinum – Alarm.com; Johnson Controls; MAS; and Resideo
  • Gold – ADI; ADT; and UL
  • Silver – Altronix; CIBC; DMP; and Salesforce
  • Bronze – Bosch, OneTel; and TRG Associates, Inc.

“TMA has been overwhelmed by the magnanimous generosity of our meeting sponsors who opted to support our 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting,” remarked TMA Executive Director Celia T. Besore. “Their financial support has made it possible for us to extend this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to all TMA members to take part in this meeting. We are so grateful to our sponsors for making it possible for so many monitoring center professionals to acquire valuable new knowledge and to network with some of the industry’s leading authorities firsthand.”

TMA Executive Director Honored for Association Leadership and Professional Contributions

The American Society Association Executives (ASAE) recently announced that TMA Executive Director Celia Besore was selected to join with nine other Association executives ASAE’s 2021 Class of Fellows.

The Fellows program bestows an honorary recognition upon exceptional association leaders making noteworthy and sustained contributions of leadership to their organizations, ASAE and the association management profession.

Celia joins 273 association industry professionals who have received this designation since the program’s inception in 1986.

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 48,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,400 organizations.

Please join in congratulating Celia on this momentous honor.