For immediate release
Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Program to Assist Municipalities in Bolstering Cyber Resiliency
Announcement Made at Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum in the State House
BOSTON — Today, Governor Charlie Baker announced a new program aimed at helping the Commonwealth’s 351 municipalities develop plans to bolster cybersecurity readiness or ‘cyber resiliency.’ The effort, backed by $300,000 in funding managed by the MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative, will support a series of statewide workshops that will provide municipalities with the tools to develop or review their cyber incident response plans and facilitate collaboration with neighboring communities.
Governor Baker addressed a group of 200 executives from the private, public, and R&D sectors during an event at the State House, serving as the capstone event for the 3rd Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum. The Forum took place during the first Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week, which the Governor made official through the signing of a proclamation last week.
“Cybersecurity is an ever evolving challenge, and declaring a Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week is an important way to raise awareness in city and town halls, small business, hospitals and communities across the state,” stated Governor Baker. “We are pleased to provide these new educational opportunities to guide cities and towns as they build a team, prioritize critical assets, and close any gaps that exist in order to develop plans to combat cybersecurity threats.”
“No municipality is immune to the cyber threat, and we’ve made a commitment to supporting IT infrastructure for cities and towns through the Community Compact program, investing $9 million to date,” stated Lt. Governor Polito. “This new layer of planning and support will help us reach each and every community, to engage them about their needs, to guide them through critical steps and to provide them the support they need to adopt a robust plan.”
The funding from the MassCyberCenter at MassTech will complement a parallel program the Center and cyber-focused state agencies are working on with the National Governors Association (NGA), which in July announced that Massachusetts was one of seven states selected for a cybersecurity planning workshop. The Commonwealth’s submission to the NGA specifically identified municipal cybersecurity as the focus.
“We’re engaging with stakeholders at the state level, including Secretaries Wood, Turco, and Kennealy on these planning efforts, as well as with state and federal public safety, national security, and managers of critical infrastructure,” said Stephanie Helm, director of the MassCyberCenter at MassTech. “In addition to the work on cyber resiliency statewide, we’re also focused on our dual-mission of driving growth in our cyber ecosystem, particularly around the issue of workforce and talent development.”
During the luncheon, progress was noted on the three grants announced during the 2018 Forum from the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Workforce Talent Challenge, pilot programs aimed at reducing the gap of 9,000 open cybersecurity jobs that exist in the state. The update included highlights on the program at Bay Path University, which has students provide cyber audits to small businesses in Western Massachusetts, working in close partnership with a local IT services company, Paragus Strategic IT. The partnership was highlighted in an afternoon session on “Hacking the Cybersecurity Talent Hire,” which featured company representatives and Magen Pyers, a student team manager from Bay Path. The program also highlighted progress made by the MassHire Greater New Bedford grant program, which is working with 20 high school students to earn college credits, cybersecurity certificates, and work experience, and the STEMatch grant in MetroWest Boston, which has partnered with MassBay Community College, CarbonBlack, Mimecast, and IBM on an adult learning program.
“Through the Forum and Cybersecurity Week events taking place across Massachusetts, we are highlighting the great public-private collaborations that are driving our cybersecurity ecosystem,” said Secretary Mike Kennealy of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. “Helping to strengthen both the resiliency of our city and town government and our cybersecurity talent pipeline will help the Commonwealth to maintain its leadership in this sector.”
“It is important that our Commonwealth is prepared to tackle the challenges faced by cybersecurity threats and I am proud we are at the forefront of this critical issue,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. “As founder and former chair of the TechHub Caucus, I learned first-hand how collaboration between the tech sector and government helps inform better policy. I look forward to that partnership continuing as we work together to address and raise awareness about how we can best protect our public and private sectors.”
“The Commonwealth has been a leader in identifying ways for the public and private sector to work together in securing our critical infrastructure,” said Michael Brown, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (retired), chair of the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Strategy Council. “Our recent and future efforts to help municipalities secure their infrastructure includes not only the state government, but also outstanding support and partnership from the private sector. This is truly unique in the nation and will continue to highlight the capabilities of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
The Baker-Polito Administration and the MassTech Collaborative convened the 2019 Forum, which built on the progress established by the previous events in 2017 and 2018. Each Forum includes a series of Treks designed to spur discussion among cybersecurity leaders. This year’s Treks were hosted at the new headquarters of Rapid7, a homegrown Massachusetts cybersecurity company located in a new facility above Boston’s North Station. The Treks included a discussion on cybersecurity workforce, a town hall on ways to build Massachusetts into a global cyber hub, as well as discussions on Artificial Intelligence in cybersecurity and cyber resiliency.
This year’s Forum acts as the marquee event of the first Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week, which featured events throughout the state focused on critical cybersecurity topics such as municipal cyber resiliency, entrepreneurship and investment, and building diversity in the Commonwealth’s leading cybersecurity workforce.
Colleen Arons, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, 857-324-0499, colleen.arons (at) mass.gov.
Brian Noyes, Director of Communications and Marketing, MassTech, 508-870-0312 X:293, noyes (at) masstech.org.