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Wyoming cybersecurity competition offers new services

Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses
Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses(AP)
Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 12:12 AM CST
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LARAMIE, Wyo. (Release) - Celebrating its fourth year starting on Feb., 1, the free Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses is offering new services called Working Webinars for past and current participants.

Volunteers from past competitions will act as peer mentors in the Working Webinars and help current participants make risk tolerance decisions that are right for their business.

Planned Working Webinar topics include:

· Where does my internet service provider’s security responsibility start and stop?

· Getting the most security out of your computer’s operating system

· High tech, medium tech, and low tech ways to manage passwords

· Speed security mentoring from your non-technical security team members

· Creating fun security awareness and training programs for your company

· How do I choose the best antivirus software for my business?

Working webinars are partially sponsored by the Microsoft TechSpark program.

Companies participating in the webinars will leave with policies, tools, and a better understanding of how to manage their risks.

The competition encourages a human-centric approach to cyber leadership in small businesses that don’t have full time technology help, thus peer-to-peer mentoring is important.

“Coming from the Cheyenne Frontier Days extended family, volunteer spirit is always at the core of our efforts and to help another person to become a leader in cybersecurity for their organization is such a worthy goal is what it’s all about. As someone who found quality mentorship last year in the program, I’m so excited I have the opportunity to pay it forward in a similar way,” said Brian Briggs, Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. The museum is a third place winner of the 2020 competition, and 2021 volunteer mentor.

In addition to a peer mentor, the competition offers cybersecurity business counseling services from CyberWyoming. Cybersecurity business counseling services help establish a cyber leader in the office who may not be technically inclined, but is provided the tools and support to be successful in protecting the company.

“We have had office specialists, marketing managers, and HR managers take the lead on cybersecurity in some offices with great success,” said Laura Baker, Executive Director of CyberWyoming, “You do not have to be technical at all.”

The competition winners speak at the Wyoming Cybersecurity Conference, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6-8.  In addition, winners and participants will be featured in statewide press releases and on CyberWyoming’s website.

To enter the competition, email info@cyberwyoming.org or download the application on www.cyberwyoming.org’s website.  Final entries are due to the judges on Aug. 31 and CyberWyoming helps participants write up the reports.  The judges are recruited via economic development agencies throughout the state and are unknown to CyberWyoming’s staff that helps businesses reach their goals.

All small businesses, nonprofits, and home based businesses are welcome to enter.  “Our small businesses today are Wyoming’s economic future,” said Baker.

While there is no entry fee, participants in the competition should be prepared for possible financial outlays to upgrade software, purchase hardware, and purchase cyber related services from attorneys, insurance agents, or IT professionals.

“In last year’s competition, one retailer only spent about $60 to upgrade the business’s antivirus software,” said Baker, “Cybersecurity can be inexpensive when you look at it from a leadership standpoint.  Business owners lead their team every day so helping them learn to lead their same team in cybersecurity gives them the power to manage their risks.”

Winners in 2020 were Craftco of Sheridan, Wyoming Roofing LLC of Sheridan and Gillette, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum.  Winners in 2019 were First Northern Bank of Buffalo, Laramie Reproductive Health and Laramie’s Historic Railroad Depot.  Winners in 2018 were First Federal Bank & Trust of Sheridan, Language I/O of Cheyenne, and Wind Hosting of Lander.

CyberWyoming is a nonprofit organization that founded the Made Safe in Wyoming Program. The program helps business owners develop and implement best practices to become cyber secure through partnerships with Wyoming technology companies, law firms, insurance companies, education, and more.

“We don’t actually sell hardware or software and we don’t sell insurance or legal services related to cybersecurity,” Baker said. “Since we are a nonprofit organization, we consider ourselves a non-biased third party here to give you tailored advice on the cyber risks you can avoid. Some things you can do in-house and others you may need to consult an expert, but it is a fallacy that it is going to cost more than purchasing home-use equipment at a box store.”

To participate in the competition, business owners or managers should contact info@cyberwyoming.org to get a copy of the intent to participate form and make an appointment to discuss how to become cybersecure.  CyberWyoming is responsible for monitoring efforts to meet best practices and helping the business owners document their progress.  The final step is submitting the documentation to the judges, chosen by local economic development agencies.

The 2021 competition is free to small businesses due to Wyoming sponsors including First Federal Bank & Trust of Sheridan, Campbell County Health, Wyoming Financial Insurance, EvnTec of Evanston, Sweetwater Technologies of Rock Springs, Factory IT of Jackson, Team Networks of Casper, IECA of Casper, DigeTekS LLC, and Ptolemy Data Systems of Sheridan.

“We couldn’t run the program without the support of these community minded companies,” said Baker.

Information about Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses can be found at www.cyberwyoming.org/competition.

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