FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Baker-Polito Administration Celebrates Fifth Cybersecurity Forum
Convenes Commonwealth’s Business, Government, and Academic Leaders to Address Critical Issues around Ransomware, Workforce Development, and Entrepreneurship
BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration and the MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative celebrated the fifth Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum, an annual event designed to bring together leaders from across the Commonwealth’s leading cybersecurity ecosystem with representatives from the business community, academia, and state and federal government in attendance. The Forum program, held virtually for the second consecutive year, was focused on the theme of ‘Building Momentum,’ spotlighting how the launch of the MassCyberCenter and the Forum in 2017 have directly led to the development of key programs that address cyber resiliency in the Commonwealth’s municipalities, increased collaboration among key stakeholders, and helped grow the cyber workforce across the state.
In recorded remarks, both Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito highlighted how cybersecurity has increased in importance over the past five years, particularly for cities and towns in the state.
“Promoting cyber resiliency in the Commonwealth has been vital to our ability to carry out our lives and to connect digitally during the COVID-19 public health crisis and through our ongoing recovery,” said Governor Baker. “The cybersecurity work we are doing across the Commonwealth is essential business for our administration.”
“As former municipal officials, Governor Baker and I understand the challenges that small towns and cities face,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “We have prioritized local partnerships, and to be successful we must act in a coordinated fashion to improve cyber resiliency statewide.”
Guided by the Administration and the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Strategy Council, the MassCyberCenter has launched working groups focused on:
- Cyber resiliency – a monthly meeting of a collaborative group of municipal leaders, Commonwealth’s public safety, technology, legal finance, energy, utilities, transportation, and healthcare agencies, federal partners, and academic institutions;
- Cybersecurity training and education – a group of 40 Massachusetts two- and four-year higher education institutions to address training opportunities statewide, with specific focus on enhancing student educational opportunities through internships, mentorships, and events, development of infrastructure such as cyber ranges, and collaboration among faculty.
The Center’s working groups and critical investments from the Commonwealth have helped launch a series of programs that have bolstered cyber resiliency and talent development, including workforce training grants (2018), statewide workshops to address municipal cyber incident response planning (2019), a statewide mentorship program to promote training and career opportunities for diverse Massachusetts students (2020), and a Massachusetts cybersecurity jobs board (2021).
The MassCyberCenter worked with its working group stakeholders to plan and launch the first-ever Massachusetts Municipal Cybersecurity Summit held on October 7, 2021, a virtual conference funded through a Department of Homeland Security State-Share grant. At the Summit, the Center launched a new suite of interactive, online modules designed to educate and train municipal officials on best practices around cybersecurity and how to create a ‘minimum baseline of cybersecurity’ to protect their digital assets and critical information.
“Without the amazing partners across the Commonwealth, the MassCyberCenter would not have had this level of impact,” said Stephanie Helm, director of the Center. “Collaboration is a buzz word within cybersecurity, but it is critical to our success, both in bolstering the cybersecurity of our cities and towns, but also in how we educate and train our students. Our public and private sector partners here in Massachusetts recognize the importance of cybersecurity to our everyday lives and have committed countless hours to helping these programs succeed.”
“It’s been fantastic to see the continued maturation of the public and private sectors within the Commonwealth on cybersecurity,” said Rear Admiral (Ret) Mike Brown, the chair of the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Strategy Council. “The identification of needs has led directly to solutions generated by public-private partnerships that are unique to Massachusetts.”
The 2021 Forum was supported by Newton-based CyberArk, which was the platinum sponsor for the event and a host for several of the sessions featured during the virtual event. Udi Mokady, CyberArk’s founder, chairman, and CEO highlighted the importance of the public-private partnerships that have been built since the first Forum in 2017.
“CyberArk has been involved with the MassCyberCenter -- and this incredible event -- from the very beginning. We are honored to be part of the thriving Massachusetts cybersecurity ecosystem, where innovation and collaboration are key to combatting attacker innovation,” said Udi Mokady, chairman and CEO, CyberArk. “With the deep resources available across academia, commitment by local government and private sector, and thriving research and development capabilities, we have a tremendous opportunity here to shape the way organizations respond to emerging threats.”
Additional sponsors of the 2021 Forum included Rapid7, Veracode, HubTech, Dell Technologies, and Microsoft, with support provided by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) and the Executive Office of Technology Security and Services (EOTSS).
“The COVID-19 public health crisis has highlighted our reliance on 21st century systems like video conferencing, online payments, telehealth, and other digital technologies that allowed us to keep our economy moving,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “That has only strengthened the need to bolster our systems and to support our world-class cybersecurity sector.”
“The theme for today's virtual forum, 'Building Momentum', is a testament to the Baker-Polito Administration's prioritization to invest in and lead on cybersecurity here in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood. “Ongoing collaborations with cyber industry partners like the MassCyberCenter are yielding results and are critical in building a united effort to provide the Commonwealth's 351 cities and towns with the knowledge and resources to best secure their communities.”
In addition to remarks from Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, the nearly 150 Forum attendees heard from Senate President Karen Spilka, Speaker Ron Mariano, as well as a closing keynote from Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General of the United States. This year’s cyber ‘trek’ sessions focused on two critical topics, the rise of ransomware and cybersecurity of digital currencies. Networking sessions tackled topics including entrepreneurship, cyber talent development, fintech and cybersecurity resiliency, and community impact.
The Forum is the closing event for Massachusetts Cybersecurity Month, which was recognized through a formal proclamation from the Commonwealth and in video remarks from Governor Baker. October is also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, bringing increased attention on cybersecurity resources and Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week which highlights careers in the sector.
About the MassCyberCenter
The MassCyberCenter was launched in September 2017 with a vision to enhance opportunities for the Massachusetts cybersecurity ecosystem to compete as the national cybersecurity leader while strengthening the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s public and private communities. Learn more at www.masscybercenter.org.