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Security operations centers and cyber ranges at two colleges will help municipalities across Massachusetts better protect themselves from cyberattacks and build a cyber talent pipeline.
To beef up its cybersecurity and fill the workforce pipeline with skilled talent, Massachusetts is investing more than $2.6 million to establish security operations centers and cyber ranges at two colleges.
The awards to Bridgewater State University and Springfield Technical Community College will support delivery of threat monitoring and other cybersecurity services to municipalities and small business/non-profit customers. The two cyber ranges will offer hands-on training to community organizations at new testing labs, which officials said will mirror real-world IT environments.
STCC will serve western Massachusetts with a cyber range and a SOC at Springfield’s Union Station complex, which will house conference and collaboration space. New facilities at Bridgewater will support cybersecurity and computer science students as well as regional, municipal, non-profit and business partners. The main cyber range will have the capacity to train up to 24 students in person per session, as well as remote participants.
Citing deficiencies in municipal and small business cybersecurity, the lack of skilled workers and affordable training options and the need to support cybersecurity entrepreneurs, Massachusetts issued a request for responses. The request is part of an effort to establish the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Consortium to help municipalities, small businesses and other organizations defend against increasing cyber threats and expand the size and diversity of the cybersecurity workforce.
“For many communities, ongoing cyber monitoring is not feasible financially, which is why the SOCs can have an important role to play, providing monitoring at a fraction of the cost, while at the same time training our next-generation cyber workers,” Massachusetts CIO Curt Wood said. Through these awards, “the Commonwealth has made clear investments in the cybersecurity resources of our cities and towns,” he said.
The grants are part of the Commonwealth’s ongoing investment in cybersecurity resiliency and workforce development statewide.