In today’s increasingly online society, it’s rare that a day goes by without a new cyber breach making its way into the headlines. The more I hear about cyber threats and the frightening adage that it’s not if but when you will be affected by an attack, the more motivated I am to ensure that NTCA stays in front of our membership promoting cybersecurity awareness and development of response strategies.
To that end, it is my absolute pleasure to announce that NTCA has entered into a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS) to provide our members with robust educational programming and insights into industry best practices to aid your development of more comprehensive cybersecurity risk-management programs. Our new cybersecurity education program, which we are calling NTCA CyberWise, is supported by an award through the DHS National Infrastructure Protection Plan Security and Resilience Challenge and the Office of Infrastructure Protection, in partnership with NIHS. It will comprise four components:
- Program participants will receive sector-specific guidance and industry best practices focused on the needs of small communications network providers in concert with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework.
- The NTCA Cybersecurity Bundle, a comprehensive guide we developed to help telco executives, board officers and operational staff develop a risk-management approach to cybersecurity, will be updated and distributed to program participants for free and available on the NTCA website for a nominal fee.
- Three half-day, complimentary educational workshops will be held in conjunction with the 2018 NTCA Telecom Executive Forum (TEF), March 11–13, in Monterey, Calif.; IP Vision Conference & Expo, April 23–25, in New Orleans, La.; and the NTCA Cybersecurity Summit, October 21–23, in Dallas, Texas. The workshops will feature detailed training regarding cyber risk assessment and mitigation, threat response and recovery strategies, and how to create and sustain a culture of awareness.
- NTCA will develop a recognition program for staff of member companies who have achieved the education needed to serve as a Cyber Risk Manager for their company. To be eligible for recognition, participants must attend one in-person training and two educational webcasts offered throughout 2018.
While headlines about cyber threats are hard to swallow, participation in this educational program is not. As operators of critical communications infrastructure serving millions of rural Americans, NTCA members are engaged and motivated to improve their company’s cybersecurity posture. But the NIST Framework and other industry resources are expansive and, therefore, can be overwhelming and difficult to apply to the unique needs of a small communications company. That’s where this new program can help. We hope to help bridge the gaps in education and awareness of cybersecurity risk management principles for our members and empower you to take action. In addition to the award, NTCA will provide in-kind contributions to the program, including communications and meeting planning, so we can involve as many members as possible, and in particular your star managers and key employees who are on your “front lines” and hungry for opportunities to grow professionally.
It’s rare in life to find anything that is truly “free,” but thanks to this award and the strong support of your NTCA team, the only direct costs of participation in the specific components of this program are time and travel. I strongly encourage you to consider this opportunity to help our country improve the resiliency of our rural networks and help your company shore up its cybersecurity program.
More details about CyberWise, including how to get involved, are coming soon. In the meantime, I encourage you to register for the first workshop at TEF.
Easy and yet critical. Stay engaged with us on matters of cybersecurity as we help you and your team navigate the way!