SDPAA and DSU launch Cybersecurity Assessments for SDPAA Members

Cyberattacks are increasing at an alarming rate across the country, affecting every type of entity. Local governments are especially vulnerable. Cyberattacks on local governments are usually the most “successful” due to that vulnerability. Since 2017 cyberattacks on state and local governments have nearly doubled. The rural nature of South Dakota puts our local governments at greater risk.

The South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance (SDPAA) provides cyber liability coverage for every Member participating in its liability coverage program. This coverage provides an array of instant resources whenever a Member contacts us about a possible cyber claim. Immediately breach coaches will be working with the public entity to assess, discuss, and implement the next steps. These breach coaches are part of a team of national legal and cyber experts. The cyber experts will assist in assessing the nature and extent of any possible breach of your system. The legal experts will assist in assessing the possible release of any confidential constituent information and any potential notification requirements under the law.

To help proactively improve your cybersecurity readiness, the SDPAA has teamed with Dakota State University (DSU) to offer cybersecurity assessments as a new service to our Members. The assessments include internal and external pen testing, wireless assessments, social engineering testing, continuous threat hunting on the dark web, and more. The funding for these assessments has been provided by the Division of Consumer Protection in the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office. We are so grateful for the outstanding team at DSU being available through the resources provided by the Attorney General’s Office to offer this service to our Members.

Cybersecurity continues to be a massive threat for all local governments in our country, including South Dakota. According to the annual Verizon Data Breach Investigative Report, several concerning trends are occurring:

  1. Social engineering continues to be a leading cause of cyberattacks, which means security awareness training is critical.
  2. 85% of all breaches included a human element. DSU will work with the SDPAA to make security awareness training available to all local governments on an annual basis.
  3. The financial impact of incidents is rising. The average cost of a breach is between $21,659 to $653,587. We can reduce this with proper mitigation activities.
  4. Organized crime is the top threat actor in breaches. We are not immune to this in South Dakota.
  5. Ransomware doubled its frequency from 2019, appearing in 10% of breaches.

To secure your spot while funding is available, please contact regarding these services and visit for more information. Cybersecurity assessments will be a first-come, first-serve service.

If your public entity is not a Member of the SDPAA, please contact the SDPAA at 800-658-3633 option 2 or by email at to inquire about all the services available to SDPAA Members.

David Pfeifle

SDPAA Excutive Director