By Krista Montie and Gill Thomas
In celebration of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) launched an international series of half-day workshops to bring the GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit for Small Business directly to small business owners through in-person training sessions.
The workshops are designed to engage local communities in a collaborative effort to help small businesses improve their cybersecurity posture and empower not only the session attendees but also create “cybersecurity champions” who can take the resources from the training and leverage it to further educate their stakeholders and communities.
The first workshop was held in Providence, Rhode Island and was conducted in partnership with the Tech Collective, the Rhode Island Joint Cyber Task Force, and the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance. The event kicked off with opening remarks from Rhode Island Lt. Governor Daniel McKee, who stressed the importance of small businesses to the economy and the need for ensuring that measures are in place to help protect this sector from ever-increasing cyber risks. Joe Devine, the Executive Director of the Tech Collective, and Lt. Eric Yelle with the Joint Cyber Task Force also addressed the audience in support of cybersecurity awareness and practical action.
The training session was conducted by Adnan Baykal, GCA’s Global Technical Officer, and Douglas Tondreau, the Lead Information Technologist for the Digital Forensic Center at the University of Rhode Island. Adnan and Douglas walked the attendees through key elements of the toolkit with hands-on exercises and non-technical explanations of how the tools in the toolkit can help them raise their cyber preparedness. Topics included two-factor authentication, preventing phishing and viruses, backup and recovery, and how to protect your brand and reputation.
The second workshop was held in Barnsley, UK with the kind support of the Digital Media Centre, Yorkshire Cyber Security Cluster, and Bob’s Business. Taking on a similar format to the Rhode Island event, Bob’s Business CEO Melanie Oldham welcomed everybody, and there were remarks from Mastercard Regional Security Manager Isabel Gilbert and Lead Security Analyst Derek Pillar stressing the importance of cyber hygiene among small businesses. The training session was conducted by GCA’s UK Executive Director Andy Bates and assisted by co-hosts.
Both workshops were extremely well received, with attendees indicating that they left the sessions with a better understanding of how cyber threats impact their companies and with new skills that can immediately be applied to improve their cybersecurity. Just as important, the workshops also served to build bridges for the attendees with local organizations and individuals in their communities who can serve as resources for the small businesses in furthering their cybersecurity journeys.
GCA will be conducting more workshops throughout the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. If you are interested in serving as a co-host for a workshop in your community, please let us know by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author, Krista Montie, is the Communications Manager at the Global Cyber Alliance.