CASPER, Wyo. — CyberWyoming has received a grant from the Gula Tech Foundation that it will use to expand its “Made Safe in Wyoming” cybersecurity business counseling program.
CyberWyoming plans to select four economic development agencies from around the state to help expand its Made Safe in Wyoming program. The economic development agencies selected will see the program’s first year license and training fees waived and the agencies will get $250 for up to 15 businesses to participate in the program in the first year, according to CyberWyoming.
“We wanted to encourage traditional economic development agencies to incorporate security and information protection into their member offerings, so we used the Gula Tech Grant to incentivize them to train a staff member with our program,” said Laura Baker, director of CyberWyoming.
Economic development agencies often provide business advising services, making such agencies a good fit to offer cybersecurity business counseling opportunities, CyberWyoming said.
“Having a pulse on their business community puts economic development agencies one step ahead of other organizations when security planning is in progress and resources are needed,” Baker said. “Networking and referrals occur almost naturally.”
“Because the Made Safe in Wyoming program is a high touch, human focused, one-on-one training program, it makes sense to have local cybersecurity business counselors.”
The economic development agencies selected for the program will be able to enter their business clients into the Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses, according to Baker. Expanding the program also aims to allow local competitors the chance to compete statewide.
“The outcomes are extremely positive,” Baker said. “Competition participants have more confidence, feel empowered, have more tools in their toolbox, and can actively address their cybersecurity risks.“
Shelby Hughes, an attorney with Hughes Legal LLC, won the 2022 Cybersecurity Competition.
“As an attorney, I have a duty to safeguard client information,” Hughes said in the press release. “Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses educated me on how to effectively implement and optimize processes to properly uphold this responsibility in a way that makes sense for my business.”
The Made Safe in Wyoming has resulted in increases in participants’ confidence in regard to cybersecurity, CyberWyoming said.
“At the beginning of the program, 66% of participants were either neutral, a little nervous, or not at all confident with the subject of cybersecurity, Baker said,” the press release said. “At the end, all participants reported more confidence with 77% reporting feeling very confident with the subject of cybersecurity. At the beginning of the program, 63% felt neutral, somewhat alone, or very alone on the topic of cybersecurity.”
“At the end, 97% felt they had some people or had a large network of people. At the end of the program participants reported the following achievements: 93% felt supported by their cybersecurity team, 93% felt they had an improved product or service for their customers, 100% felt they had created relationships that would support their ongoing cybersecurity efforts, 93% felt they could maintain their cybersecurity maintenance schedule going forward, 83% felt they had achieved their cybersecurity goals, 70% felt that their customers or community would recognize their efforts.”
Baker added: “We want to see if having local business counselors will increase the recognition statistic. However, this program isn’t technical in nature and the outcomes prove that it gives business leaders control and a roadmap to manage their security risks.”
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