During a Katy City Council meeting held Aug. 28, City Council members voted unanimously to implement a new cybersecurity program.

The approval of this new plan authorizes Mayor William "Dusty" Thiele to enter an agreement with True North Consulting Group LLC for consultation on cybersecurity technology services.

This resolution proposes an updated framework for a city cybersecurity assessment, a cyber resilience program and the implementation of an updated general cybersecurity strategy against potential infiltrations for the city, according to the city council presentation.

How it happened

Katy City Council members recognized a need for a newly updated cybersecurity system, according to a City Council presentation. The council chose True North Consulting due to its proposed presentation’s alignment with the city’s cybersecurity needs, according to the presentation.

A representative of True North Consulting emphasized the importance of cybersecurity in today's landscape, citing unfortunate instances when inadequate measures led to detrimental outcomes for other cities. True North’s representative emphasized the importance of an updated cybersecurity system, and the timing of initiating this system is important during the modern age of growing cyberattacks, according to the presentation.

The approved initiative is expected to establish a strong foundation for cybersecurity, enhancing Katy's readiness against potential digital threats, according to the presentation.

The cost

The proposed initiative comes with a budget of up to $255,716 and aims to enhance the city's digital infrastructure to mitigate potential threats, according to City Council statements. The council also approved the allocation of funds for the project using American Rescue Plan Act grant funds, according to City Council documents.

Despite the associated costs, city officials said they saw the use of ARPA grant funds as a significant advantage for the city. The funding arrangement underscores the city's commitment to safeguarding its digital assets and residents' sensitive information.

The timeline

Pat Johnson, the cybersecurity practice manager of True North Consulting, outlined the project's timeline and milestones.

"I would like to start your project within two to three weeks with deliverables within each phase,” Johnson said. “I would expect the deliverables for Phase 1 to come out mid-October. Really, this depends on the availability of city staff.”