Well over a year ago, the North Dakota IT Department began a huge project, working to unify the state’s cybersecurity plan.

It should result in pretty major savings for taxpayers, according to North Dakota’s Chief Information Security Officer Kevin Ford.

Under the new system, all state agencies, local governments, and K-12 schools that used to be in charge of their own cybersecurity, will have to bring their cyber-standards up to a higher, statewide standard with the help of NDIT.

In a nutshell, NDIT is providing a cyber tool kit, including software and other infrastructure, that Ford says is more effective and often cheaper for government agencies.

He says he believes they will be able to successfully unify about 80% of state government without too much pushback.

“I don’t know that I can tell you with 100% clarity or certainty that this will ever be finished,” Ford shared.

“There’s always going to be a new cyberattack. There’s always going to be a new threat actor out there that we have to pivot and focus on and try to figure out how to stop. And that may require different tools than we have in place right now.”

He says the department has hit some major benchmarks lately, including the fact that more than 100 K-12 schools are now using the comprehensive cyber-strategy from NDIT, and so are more than 90% of counties.