The nonprofit CyberTrust Massachusetts announced that it has received a $2.3 million grant to support cybersecurity resiliency for Massachusetts communities, as well as help develop a talent pipeline at Massachusetts colleges and universities to encourage students to enter the security field.

“Our administration knows how important it is to protect our municipal governments, small businesses, and community organizations from cybersecurity threats,” said Secretary Yvonne Hao of the state’s Executive Office of Economic Development. “This grant to CyberTrust Massachusetts will help support cybersecurity resiliency in our cities and towns while bringing new students into the field through training and career development opportunities.”

The funding came from a grant from the Healey-Driscoll administration through the MassTech Collaborative’s MassCyberCenter.

The state said funding will allow CyberTrust Massachusetts to support cybersecurity resiliency for local governments in Massachusetts through Security Operations Centers (SOCs), which are centers staffed by security experts who protect the cybersecurity of an organization through monitoring, detection, and response to cyber threats. The SOCs will provide 24/7 services for municipalities and help Massachusetts communities conduct assessments to test their vulnerability to cybersecurity risks.

“It is critically important that we not only make our governments, industries, and constituents secure against the cyber threats of today, but also that we foster a pipeline for the next generation of cybersecurity professionals that can fight the cyber criminals of tomorrow. This generous grant from the Healey-Driscoll Administration does just that,” said state Sen. Michael Moore.

The funding will also enable CyberTrust Massachusetts to hire students from affiliated academic organizations in Massachusetts and provide training, experience, and career development for these young cybersecurity professionals. In addition to municipal support, CyberTrust Massachusetts will continue providing key training tools used by cyber ranges at community colleges and universities across the state where students and professionals can learn how to respond to cyber threats in a simulated environment.

“Cybersecurity is often perceived as a technical discipline that is exclusive to coders and professionals with STEM degrees, but there is a strong demand in the field for individuals with diverse skills like problem solving and critical thinking that do not require advanced degrees,” said John Petrozzelli, Director of the MassCyberCenter at MassTech.

“In order for the cybersecurity ecosystem in Massachusetts to improve and grow, it’s essential that we communicate to students the opportunities that are available in cybersecurity and how valuable these skills are, so that anyone interested in becoming a cybersecurity expert knows these career pathways exist and are not limited to a select few,” he said. “At the MassCyberCenter, we believe this approach will not only build new pathways for students and enable companies to hire new talent, but believe it will significantly improve the cybersecurity posture of our municipalities and businesses alike.”

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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