I am so proud of our team here at NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association as we announced that – in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS) – we will explore creating a forum for small, rural telecom operators from across the country to share and receive timely, actionable and relevant cyber information. Can’t think of a topic that is more timely.
At a Capitol Hill briefing, Bob Kolasky, director of the National Risk Management Center (NMRC), presented NTCA with a National Infrastructure Protection Program (NIPP) Security & Resilience Challenge award for 2019 to support the project, which will include the creation and beta test of a daily cyber intelligence report, curated to meet the needs and interests of community-based telecommunications operators. This new award follows our successful collaboration with DHS over the past year to create the 2018 Cyber Wise Program that provided free, industry-focused risk management training to rural telcos and was a great way to create timely education for our sector.
Given that small, rural operators often have limited financial, technical and operational resources, these companies may not currently be able to fully participate in cyber information sharing forums. NTCA will conduct a feasibility study to gauge the accessibility and value of such a forum specifically catered to small operators and seek member volunteers to participate in a beta test of this type of product later in 2019. A final report will detail the prospects for long-term, sustainable implementation of this type of information-sharing resource.
NTCA is proud to support small, rural operators as they navigate an increasingly complex cyber landscape. As we all know, cyber-attacks are truly a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if,’ and this new partnership with DHS and NIHS will help explore a new forum to ensure rural broadband providers are both aware of threats and equipped with the information and tools that they need to respond. I’m grateful for this continued collaboration and look forward to seeing its results.
Funding and support for the feasibility study and beta test is provided by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, through the National Infrastructure Protection Program Security & Resilience Challenge which is implemented by The National Institute For Hometown Security. We are certainly proud to be working with these government leaders and to be in a position to lead the rural broadband industry into the brave new world of cybersecurity.