By Teni Agbesanwa, MS-CC Program Coordinator
In 2004, the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to providing people with online safety resources by emphasizing the importance of taking the proper steps to enhance cybersecurity on university campuses, workplaces, and homes.
See Yourself in Cyber
This year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month’s campaign theme is "See Yourself in Cyber" and represents that cybersecurity is ultimately about people, which means seeing yourself in cyber no matter your role.
According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) website, “this year’s campaign theme demonstrates that while cybersecurity may seem like a complex subject, ultimately, it’s really all about people.” Through this campaign, the CISA will highlight the key actions people should take, including enabling multi-factor authentication, using strong passwords, recognizing and reporting phishing, and keeping your software up to date.
Approaching Cyberinfrastructure Holistically
This theme resonates strongly with our collective efforts within the MS-CC community to promote advanced cyberinfrastructure capabilities at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and other minority serving institutions (MSIs).
The MS-CC approaches cyberinfrastructure holistically. Having the right technology and tools is one aspect of cyberinfrastructure and cybersecurity, but the people aspect is an equally important factor. Training and retaining your IT workforce is part of what contributes to the success of cyberinfrastructure and cybersecurity.
For the past year, the MS-CC and Internet2 conducted a stakeholder alignment survey to better understand the shared challenges of cyberinfrastructure by a diverse set of minority serving institutions, and we used the survey data to help us prioritize which areas to focus our community engagement work on.
Cybersecurity and workforce development were two of the highest-ranked priorities by 238 respondents representing 121 HBCUs, 46 Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs), 59 TCUs, 6 MSIs, and 6 instutitions with different classification than the above.
The MS-CC, in collaboration with Internet2 and AIHEC, launched a free series of cybersecurity workshops, thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation for a Center of Excellence Demonstration Pilot grant (award # 2137123).
Cyberinfrastructure and Cybersecurity Workshops
The cybersecurity workshop series provide hands-on learning experiences for information technology leadership and staff from HBCUs and TCUs focused on strategies and tactics to improve their institution’s cyberinfrastructure and cybersecurity posture. They provide hands-on learning opportunities and documented best practices for campus infrastructure, along with networking opportunities among peers, cybersecurity professionals, and leadership from regional and national organizations.
We held workshops at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC., in June 2022, and Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Mont., in August 2022. Our next workshop for this year is at Jackson State University in Jackson, MS, Nov. 1-2, 2022. We are also working on scheduling additional workshops in the southeastern United States for early 2023, including at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C.
Seeing Yourself in Cyber with the MS-CC
The MS-CC is committed to increasing access to cyberinfrastructure resources, enhancing collaboration among researchers and cyberinfrastructure professionals, and fostering professional and career development for students, faculty and staff from minority serving campuses.
As you reflect on this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month’s theme of seeing yourself in cyber, we invite you to join the MS-CC and help create a vibrant community of practice where peers can collaborate and support one another, and build a coalition to advocate for their needs as a community.
Learn more about the MS-CC, get involved, and join us virtually on the last Thursday of each month at noon ET for our monthly MS-CC All Hands meeting.