CAMBRIDGE – Today, Sept. 13, at the state’s first-ever Cybersecurity Forum, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced the creation of the “Cybersecurity Growth and Development Center at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative” – a new public center that will aim to connect the cybersecurity ecosystem and train new cybersecurity workers across the Commonwealth.
To advise and steer the center, MassTech will convene a Cybersecurity Strategy Council made up of leaders from both the private and public sector.
The Commonwealth’s first Cybersecurity Forum took place at several locations across Cambridge and was attended by more than 200 cybersecurity-focused leaders from the Commonwealth’s roster of companies, top-tier academic research institutions, and local, state and federal officials.
“Massachusetts is home to many of the world’s leading innovative companies, accelerators and educational institutions, as well as an economically competitive climate prepared to host the world’s emerging cybersecurity industry,” said Governor Baker, in a statement.
“Creating the Cybersecurity Growth and Development Center at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the Cybersecurity Strategy Council will ensure the state serves as a committed partner with businesses, colleges and universities, and the public sector to continue developing a talented workforce and to expand our cybersecurity ecosystem,” said the Governor.
As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s economic development strategy to support emerging sectors, the Cybersecurity Growth and Development Center will work with the private sector to provide business development support, help existing cybersecurity firms grow in Massachusetts, oversee programs to increase the cybersecurity talent pipeline in the state, and collaborate with businesses to help inform the Commonwealth’s cybersecurity strategy.
The new Cybersecurity Growth and Development Center will focus on the development of talent, leadership and ecosystem initiatives, and will shape projects with the help of a special Cybersecurity Strategy Council composed of advisors from industry, academia, and government.
“In order for the Commonwealth to prepare for and withstand cyber threats, we need a strong pipeline of workers that are trained in cutting edge tools and techniques being utilized today,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The participation of our Workforce Skills Cabinet and private sector leaders, along with leaders from our universities, will ensure that we are preparing students ready to make an immediate impact the minute they head into the workforce.”
The Forum was a direct result of the Baker-Polito administration’s trade mission to Israel last year and will raise the Commonwealth’s profile as a state as a national cybersecurity leader with global impact.
The goal of the Forum was to further solidify a coordinated strategy focused on talent, ecosystem growth, and global leadership and to cement the Commonwealth’s commitment as a strategic partner with the cybersecurity community.
Since last December’s trade mission, five companies have opened or relocated their American Headquarters to Boston, representing hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in Massachusetts.
Governor Baker was introduced by Steve Conine, the co-founder and co-chairman of Boston-based online retailer Wayfair, who outlined the importance of a strong regional cybersecurity ecosystem for a major publicly traded company.
“At Wayfair, we are thrilled to see Governor Baker working to continue to make Massachusetts a place that grows and cultivates top talent for critical pieces of our future economy,” said Steve Conine, co-founder & co-chairman of Wayfair.“Cybersecurity is critical as we work on building a trusted, durable and nationally known retail brand. Initiatives like this help ensure Massachusetts is a top destination for talent. Cybersecurity professionals will be an important part of the technology workforce at Wayfair, and a critical piece to the broader technology ecosystem.”
Colonel Joseph Morrissey of the Massachusetts National Guard also provided remarks on plans for a cyber-intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) group under the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Joint Base Cape Cod.
“We are excited for future opportunities and the challenges associated with standing up these new cyber missions,” said Col. Joseph Morrissey, commander, 202nd Cyber Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group, Massachusetts Air National Guard. “As we set out to recruit and train to fulfill our federal taskings, we have an eye on how to effectively use these missions to better serve the citizens of the Commonwealth and continue to build enduring relationships with all our interagency partners.”
“These events showcase the global cybersecurity leadership that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has at its disposal, from R&D, to startups, to scaled organizations”said Tim Connelly, Executive Director/CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “These connections have helped grow our roster of cyber firms. The new Center housed at MassTech will build on this solid foundation and help supercharge an already dynamic sector of our economy.”
The Forum will conclude this evening with a Capstone presentation and panel on “Meeting the Cybersecurity Workforce Challenge,” and include a keynote by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s President Rafael Reif and a panel discussion featuring Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta and executives from Massachusetts-based cybersecurity firms Black Duck Software, Cybric, iboss, and Rapid7.
The closing panel will be moderated by Housing & Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash and feature a discussion and Q&A with the leaders of the four mid-day ‘cyber treks,’ at leading firms in the area, including Akamai, Draper, Google, and IBM Security’s Cyber Range.
Governor Baker and many of the attendees from today’s forum will also participate in an event tomorrow Thursday, September 14, hosted by Harvard Business School and Israel’s Tel Aviv University called the “CEO Cybersecurity Forum.” The Harvard Forum will feature participation from representatives of Israel’s world-class cybersecurity business and research sectors.