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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Baker-Polito Administration Announces the Commonwealth’s First-Ever Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program Awards

Baker-Polito Administration Announces the Commonwealth’s First-Ever Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program Awards
42,000 employees from 94 municipalities and public school districts will receive cybersecurity awareness training to better detect and avoid cyber threats

WORCESTER– Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood joined legislative, municipal and public school officials to announce $250,000 in grants awarded to 94 municipalities and public school districts across the Commonwealth to provide critical cybersecurity awareness training for over 42,000 employees to better detect and avoid cyber threats. Lt. Governor Polito addressed the group of award recipients at Worcester City Hall to mark the end of October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Employees in communities participating in the program will receive interactive online training in topics ranging from email security to USB device safety. Employees will also receive simulated phishing emails. Phishing is a growing threat in local government in which an attacker seeks to influence the employee to take an action that may be harmful to the organization, by masquerading as a trusted entity.

“Raising awareness of the challenges posed by cyber threats is an important strategy for the Commonwealth’s communities to best train and equip its employees with the tools needed to defend against cyber threats,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are pleased to collaborate with our partners in local government to understand how we can better protect our communities.” 

“Cybersecurity is a critical issue for Massachusetts communities and schools who face cybersecurity threats but sometimes lack the resources to prepare for and combat them,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These first-ever cybersecurity grant funds are a crucial tool to complement the over $9 million in funding for municipal IT infrastructure projects through the Community Compact program in providing Massachusetts communities and schools the resources and tools they need to combat cyber threats.”

The grant funding was included, in part in the Fiscal Year 2019 operating budget passed by the Legislature and matched by the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security to ensure as many communities and schools could participate in the cybersecurity training as possible.

In June 2017, Governor Baker filed legislation through the Article 87 government restructuring process under the Massachusetts Constitution to establish the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security as the cabinet-level lead information technology organization in the Executive Branch.

The Executive Office of Technology Services and Security began deployment of annualized cybersecurity awareness training for Executive Branch employees to better detect and mitigate cyber threats at the state level in 2018. The training will be enhanced year-over-year to account for evolving trends in cyber threats.

In April 2019, Governor Baker filed a $1.1 billion bond bill that includes $600 million in information technology (IT) infrastructure funding. $140 million of the funds are dedicated to further enhance the cybersecurity of the Commonwealth’s digital assets including the standing up of a new Security Operations Center.

“Cyberattacks are an emerging and increasing threat to communities across the Commonwealth and the nation,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood. “By strengthening our communities’ cybersecurity posture, we are preparing municipal and school employees to better detect and defend against cyber threats.”

“Failure to proactively defend against cybersecurity threats in today’s digital world puts both the city and its residents at risk,” said Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus. “This is why training city staff to follow best practices and to be vigilant in the prevention of online attacks is so critical. We are grateful that the State is taking this issue seriously and we will continue to work together to keep our community safe.”

“In the wake of growing concerns relative to data privacy, security and increased threats, we are taking action to improve the Commonwealth’s preparedness within the cyber space,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury), who served as Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Cyber Security Readiness.  “These efforts complement a national conversation and need for resources to support cybersecurity readiness.  I commend the Administration for taking an active role in working to better prepare our schools and municipalities for these very real threats.”

Applicant
Organization(s)
Employees to Receive Cyber Training
Abington Public Schools
School only
250
Acton-Boxborough Regional School District
School only
900
Town of Agawam
Town only
225
City of Amesbury and Amesbury Public Schools
Town and School
550
Town of Amherst
Town only
370
Town of Ashland and Ashland Public Schools
Town and School
600
Town of Auburn
Town only
150
Town of Bedford and Bedford Public Schools
Town and School
647
Belmont Public Schools
School only
450
Town of Berlin
Town only
226
Town of Boylston
Town only
292
Town of Braintree and Braintree Public Schools
Town and School
1000
Town of Brewster
Town only
160
Town of Bridgewater
Town only
175
Town of Burlington and Burlington Public Schools
Town and School
800
Town of Carlisle and Carlisle Public Schools
Town and School
25
Town of Carver and Carver Public Schools
Town and School
300
Southern Worcester County Regional School District
School only
218
City of Chelsea and Chelsea Public Schools
Town and School
1200
Town of Danvers and Danvers Public Schools
Town and School
925
Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School
School only
20
Dedham-Westwood Water District
Town only
15
Frontier Regional and Union 38 School Districts
School only
5
Town of Eastham
Town only
75
Town of Easton
Town only
150
Town of Edgartown
Town only
100
Framingham Public Schools
School only
1600
City of Gloucester
Town only
345
Town of Granby and Granby Public Schools
Town and School
200
Greenfield Public Schools
School only
53
Town of Halifax
Town only
100
South Shore Regional Vocational Technical School District
School only
100
Town of Holbrook and Holbrook Public Schools
Town and School
150
Town of Holden
Town only
173
Town of Holliston and Holliston Public Schools
Town and School
112
Town of Hopkinton and Hopkinton Public Schools
Town and School
120
Freetown-Lakeville Regional School District
School only
400
Town of Lancaster
Town only
94
City of Leominster and Leominster Public Schools
Town and School
1554
Town of Leverett
Town only
150
Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District
School only
164
Lincoln Public Schools

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