As the latest state to formally establish its own task force, North Carolina aims to improve its cybersecurity posture with technical assistance and incident coordination between state and local agencies.
North Carolina is the latest state to formally establish its own cybersecurity task force, centered on protecting the state’s information technology networks and critical infrastructure.
The task force, which was formed in 2018 but officially launched on March 16 by an executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper, includes representatives from the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT), Department of Emergency Management, National Guard and the Local Government Information Systems Association Cybersecurity Strike Team.
The task force helps state and local agencies with incident coordination, resource support and technical assistance. In the executive order, the state’s public and private sector Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources departments are asked to work with the members of the task force to identify vulnerabilities in their systems and report significant cybersecurity incidents.
The measures will allow NCDIT and the other members to shore up systems at risk, limit the impact of future threats and give state officials a more realistic picture of what types of incidents they will likely face in the future, State Chief Information Officer and NCDIT Secretary James A. Weaver said.
In his announcement, Gov. Cooper stressed the need for a reassessment of the threat landscape in light of rising cybersecurity attacks in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
"It’s more important than ever for us to work together proactively to prevent these crimes and respond quickly when they occur and this Task Force is helping us do that," Cooper said.
The announcement of the North Carolina task force comes on the back of several other states launching cybersecurity programs.
Last fall, the governors of Kansas and Missouri announced a bipartisan, multistate initiative to highlight the expanding base of security-related operations and improve national security missions in the area.
In October 2021, Gov. Doug Ducey launched Arizona’s Cyber Command Center to better coordinate statewide cybersecurity operations. Later that month, Utah launched its own task force to bolster its cyber capabilities and response; the task force created a cross-sector cybersecurity advisory committee to promote cybersecurity awareness, identify assets and resources, share information and promote best practices.
Most recently, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a joint cybersecurity initiative that will feature a data sharing hub and bring together federal, state, county and local governments as well as critical infrastructure partners to improve the statewide cyber posture.