The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has awarded the University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) a $1.2 million grant to conduct a pilot program to help state, local, tribal and territorial governments identify high value assets (HVA) to prioritize resources and planning.

The pilot will aid these governments in establishing an HVA program that aligns with the federal government’s while maintaining the flexibility needed to incorporate their individual needs.

“CISA is excited to partner with the University of Texas at San Antonio on the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial High Value Asset Program,” said acting CISA director Brandon Wales. “As the nation’s risk advisor, the collaboration with our stakeholders to enhance the protection of our nation’s critical infrastructure is invaluable. In a time of increased cyber threats, the relationships that we build through cooperative agreements to supply cyber capabilities and expertise are foundational to safeguarding the nation’s cyber and critical infrastructure.”

“Communities nationwide are becoming increasingly targeted by cyber threats – both domestic and foreign,” added Natalie Sjelin, associate director of training programs at the CIAS. “It’s more important than ever to help jurisdictions identify, categorize and prioritize their high value assets in order to defend assets that are critical to an organization’s ability to perform its mission.”

The two-year pilot program will develop guidance based on best practices to address the identification, categorization and prioritization of IT systems to enable increased protection of HVAs across various jurisdictions.

To successfully identify high value assets among different jurisdictions, the CIAS is collaborating with CISA to develop scalable guidelines, templates and tools that can be used to facilitate implementation of identified processes within the context of each community’s risk management framework, available resources and authorities.

The UTSA team was awarded the grant following a competitive selection process. UTSA is a nationally recognized Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense. UTSA has also partnered with the National Security Agency (NSA) for more than 16 years to create the talent and tools needed to address the nation’s toughest cybersecurity challenges. To celebrate this partnership, the NSA has named UTSA a featured school.