By Mary Markos
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new program last week to help cities and towns develop strategies to prevent cyberattacks.
The more capable the public realm becomes, the greater the challenges and the greater the risks associated with trust,” Baker said. “We need to do things to help.”
Baker unveiled a $300,000 program involving statewide workshops for municipalities to work with each other to bolster cybersecurity, which will be managed by the MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative, during a capstone event for the state’s third Cybersecurity Forum during the first Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week.
The governor painted a futuristic picture of smart buildings, autonomous cars and smart communities that aren’t too far away, adding that the state needs to be ready.
“We have a long way to go in the public sector to digitize our assets. I don’t think that’s a really big surprise to anybody in this room,” Baker said Thursday, addressing a group of 200 executives from the private, public, and R&D sectors during an event at the State House.
“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,” Senate President Karen Spilka said. “As founder and former chair of the TechHub Caucus, I learned firsthand 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 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, which in July announced that Massachusetts was one of seven states selected for a cybersecurity planning workshop.
Officials noted progress on three grant programs that were announced during last year’s forum 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.
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