Healey-Driscoll Awards $2.3M to CyberTrust Massachusetts to Strengthen Municipal Cybersecurity EffortsHealey-Driscoll Awards $2.3M to CyberTrust Massachusetts to Strengthen Municipal Cybersecurity Efforts
October 27, 2023
BOSTON – Today, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced a $2.3 million grant through the MassTech Collaborative's MassCyberCenter to CyberTrust Massachusetts, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the cybersecurity ecosystem, to support cybersecurity resiliency for Massachusetts communities and help develop a talent pipeline at Masschusetts colleges and universities to encourage students to enter the field. The CyberTrust Massachusetts grant was announced at the seventh annual Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum held at the State House today during Massachusetts Cybersecurity Month.
"Our administration knows how important it is to protect our municipal governments, small businesses, and community organizations from cybersecurity threats," said Secretary Yvonne Hao of the Executive Office of Economic Development. "This grant to CyberTrust Massachusetts will help support cybersecurity resiliency in our cities and towns while bringing new students into the field through training and career development opportunities."
"This grant is a game changer," said Carolyn Kirk, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the parent organization of the MassCyberCenter. "When you recognize that cybersecurity impacts us at every level, from the state government to your personal laptop, it becomes apparent that you need to build a strong plan to solve such a complex and pervasive issue. That is why we have taken a multi-pronged approach that educates students about the opportunities that exist in a cybersecurity career, providing the critical training on cutting-edge tools, and the mentorship they need to succeed in a career. As a former mayor, the support that these students will provide to municipalities and small businesses, supported by the award to CyberTrust Massachusetts, will help protect small organizations that face critical funding and staffing challenges which leave them exposed to emerging cyber threats. Through our support for CyberTrust Massachusetts, we can accomplish this dual mission – to provide new career opportunities for Massachusetts students, while at the same time bolstering our cyber readiness statewide."
"This is more than a financial grant; it builds on the institutional capital our consortium members are investing in the future of cybersecurity in Massachusetts. After a strong start, we look forward to being able to scale," said Peter Sherlock, CEO of CyberTrust Massachusetts. "We are creating a new model, where experiential learning meets cutting-edge technology to fortify our cybersecurity infrastructure across the state and ready the next generation of cyber professionals for meaningful and impactful careers."
The funding will allow CyberTrust Massachusetts to support cybersecurity resiliency for local governments in Massachusetts through Security Operations Centers (SOCs), which are centers staffed by security experts who protect the cybersecurity of an organization through monitoring, detection, and response to cyber threats. The SOCs will provide 24/7 services for municipalities, which often cannot afford to hire outside SOCs or security experts to support their technical infrastructure, and help these communities conduct assessments to test their vulnerability to cybersecurity risks. The funding will also allow CyberTrust Massachusetts to hire students from affiliated academic organizations in Massachusetts and provide training, experience, and career development for these young cybersecurity professionals. In addition to municipal support, CyberTrust Massachusetts will continue providing key training tools used by cyber ranges at community colleges and universities across the state where students and young professionals can learn how to respond to cyber threats in a simulated environment.
"Cybersecurity is often perceived as a technical discipline that is exclusive to coders and professionals with STEM degrees, but there is a strong demand in the field for individuals with diverse skills like problem solving and critical thinking that do not require advanced degrees," said John Petrozzelli, Director of the MassCyberCenter at MassTech. "In order for the cybersecurity ecosystem in Massachusetts to improve and grow, it's essential that we communicate to students the opportunities that are available in cybersecurity and how valuable these skills are, so that anyone interested in becoming a cybersecurity expert knows these career pathways exist and are not limited to a select few. At the MassCyberCenter, we believe this approach will not only build new pathways for students and enable companies to hire new talent, but believe it will significantly improve the cybersecurity posture of our municipalities and businesses alike."
Today's Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum brought together industry experts, academic leaders, and government officials to discuss partnerships, identify resources, and share innovative ideas about how to meet the state’s cybersecurity goals. The event featured a keynote from John Petrozzelli, Director of the MassCyberCenter, as well as discussions about collaborations for cyber defense and how Massachusetts organizations are confronting the cybersecurity implications of artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
"It is critically important that we not only make our governments, industries, and constituents secure against the cyber threats of today, but also that we foster a pipeline for the next generation of cybersecurity professionals that can fight the cyber criminals of tomorrow. This generous grant from the Healey-Driscoll Administration does just that," said State Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury). "I'd like to thank the Governor for recognizing how important it is to harden our online systems and to make them more resilient against bad actors. I am confident that CyberTrust Massachusetts will use these funds to help build a better, stronger, more secure Commonwealth."
About the MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative
The MassCyberCenter was launched in September 2017 to enhance opportunities for the Massachusetts cybersecurity ecosystem and strengthen the resiliency of the state's public and private communities. Earlier this month, the center held the 2023 Massachusetts Municipal Cybersecurity Summit in Worcester, which brought together municipal leaders, first responders, utility providers, and IT personnel from across the state to discuss threats, training, workforce development and cyber incident response planning. The MassCyberCenter works with cities, towns, universities, and the private sector to build cyber awareness, institute best practices, leverage future workforce talent, and create a more powerful cyber defense force to guard against future threats. Learn more at masscybercenter.org.
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