Rhode Island releases state cybersecurity plan

Rhode Island is the latest state to put together a statewide cybersecurity plan.

In the first of two expected reports, the Rhode Island Cybersecurity Commission provided an assessment of the state's cybersecurity infrastructure and made recommendations to enhance the resiliency of operations in the executive branch agencies.

The report found several deficiencies that could lead to security problems, such as a lack of consistent information sharing across state agencies and between government and the private sector; limited funding for best practices; the inability to integrate cybersecurity into core missions; and minimal awareness of security education and training resources for employees.

Initial recommendations included:

  • Establish a strategic leadership role for cybersecurity that is integrated into the Homeland Security mission for the state and is directly accountable to the governor.
  • Improve statewide executive branch cyber hygiene, skills training, risk management and technology deployment.
  • Upgrade the state's existing Cyber Disruption Team to create a more enhanced cybersecurity response, outreach and training.
  • Expand the Rhode Island Fusion Center to better integrate existing state and federal law enforcement, intelligence, defense, emergency response, and critical infrastructure protection operations.
  • Improve the Rhode Island National Guard's connectivity with U.S. Cyber Command and the 24th Air Force.

Based on the Cybersecurity Commission's recommendations, the state has already begun to strengthen network security by deploying sensors, putting 24/7 monitoring in place and conducting a real-time threat analysis.

"We all need to work together to maintain the security of our cyberspace,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said. “Rhode Island has already begun to strengthen the security of our networks and engage law enforcement, academia and the private sector in this critical mission. Together, we are developing a strong ecosystem to create jobs and to improve the safety of Rhode Island."

A more-specific cybersecurity plan for the state is due to be released Dec. 1.  Other states that have released cybersecurity plans include Maryland, Texas, California, Virginia and Idaho.

Read the Rhode Island report here.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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