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New statewide cybersecurity program launched to assist defense manufacturers

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

UTICA, N.Y. — Mohawk Valley Community College’s (MVCC) Advanced Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) and FuzeHub are working together to help New York’s defense manufacturers strengthen their cybersecurity protocols and meet federal compliance standards.

The newly announced NY MEP cybersecurity-assistance program is designed for New York’s small- to medium-sized manufacturers that serve the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) supply chain.

FuzeHub is an Albany–based nonprofit organization responsible for assisting small to medium-sized manufacturing companies in New York.

AIM and FuzeHub are NYSTAR-supported New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP) centers, serving small- and mid-sized manufacturers in the Mohawk Valley region and statewide.

The NY MEP cybersecurity-assistance program is supported by funding from NYSTAR, Empire State Development’s (ESD) NYS Division of Science, Technology & Innovation. 

Through the program, participating organizations will receive technical and self-assessment training to help them meet DoD cybersecurity requirements in the standards of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). Achieving compliance in cybersecurity is “increasingly critical” to maintaining contracts with the DoD.

“New York’s manufacturers have a longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with the Department of Defense. But to continue doing business with the DoD, these contractors need to be up to speed on cybersecurity best practices,” Elena Garuc, executive director of FuzeHub, said. “The NY MEP cybersecurity-assistance program will give those manufacturers the know-how to ensure they remain protected from malicious actors, in good standing with the government, and able to do the important work of ensuring our nation’s safety.”

 

Program elements

The NY MEP cybersecurity-assistance program offers several elements. They include group membership with “exclusive access” to cybersecurity guidance and online self-assessment training. The 320-member cohort is open to applications from small- to medium-sized manufacturers that are part of the DoD supply chain. Qualified manufacturers can join the group at no cost.

The program also offers funding for a personalized cybersecurity-risk assessment. Of the 320 cohort manufacturers, 67 will be eligible for a risk-assessment grant up to $6,000. Either AIM, the Manufacturing and Technology Enterprise Center (MTEC), Twinstate Technologies, or one of their subcontractors will perform the assessment.

Workshops on the basics of cybersecurity are also available. They’ll include presentations by industry and academic experts. Participants will get exposure to different types of threats and to the consequences of being underprepared to defend against cyber criminals, as well as the federal government’s expectations for members at every level of its supply chain.

The program will also include webinars on current and emerging cybersecurity topics, such as learning about the unseen enemies, protecting against internal threats, industry standards and requirements, and more.

“The NY MEP cybersecurity assistance program is launching at a critical time, with cyber threats on the rise amid the pandemic and the Department of Defense’s third-party certification audits underway,” Cory Albrecht, AIM director, said. “AIM is proud to be working with FuzeHub to help supply-chain manufacturers be fully compliant and proactive in their approaches to data security.”

 

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