The Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) has partnered with Purdue University and Indiana University (IU) to provide free cybersecurity assessments for local governments statewide.

A press release from IOT explained that as part of the partnership, Purdue’s cyberTAP and IU’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR) staff and students will analyze the cybersecurity posture of local government entities and provide a blueprint on how they can further secure their environments.

“Indiana is home to some of the most highly-regarded universities in the world and through a partnership we will be able to utilize their skills and talent to assess and secure potential vulnerabilities across all sections of government,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb. “This is a collaboration that brings together research, technologies, and the experts necessary to quickly assess and adapt necessary cybersecurity measures for a safer tomorrow.”

The new agreement includes funding for both universities to develop and conduct a cybersecurity assessment methodology for local government that incorporates evaluations from the National Science Foundation’s Trusted CI, Center for Internet Security, and National Institute of Standards and Technology frameworks. IOT noted that Purdue and IU will complete at least 342 assessments over the next four years.

“This project is a first-of-its-kind partnership and is a tremendous benefit to local government and the state as a whole,” IOT CIO Tracy Barnes said. “Local governments collaborate with the state in various ways, and the computer systems are intertwined. A vulnerability on either side leaves the other at risk. We have invested heavily in protecting state systems, and now this is an opportunity for local government to see definitive steps toward improvement for its systems.”

According to IOT, the project is intended to accomplish three main goals: inform the state’s local government cybersecurity policy and strategy, inform local cybersecurity priorities, and improve the overall security posture of Indiana.

The project will be led and resourced by jointly by a team of approximately 10 people from Purdue and IU covering the requisite range of cybersecurity subject matter expertise, assessment development and execution experience, program/project management expertise, and resources to coordinate recruiting. IOT noted that professional staff will lead the assessments; however, students will also have opportunities to participate in the project.

“Local governments are an increasingly valuable target for sophisticated adversaries, but they often lack the resources and funding to maintain cyber and information security,” said Mat Trampski, executive director of the Purdue Technical Assistance Program (TAP) and cyberTAP. “That puts the private data we entrust to them at risk, and Purdue cyberTAP is very pleased to participate in this program, which is designed specifically to help safeguard those data and services.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs