Minority Supplier Council Expands Cybersecurity Training

Minority Supplier Council Expands Cybersecurity Training

July 15, 2022
The launch comes on the heels of a successful pilot program implemented with the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council last summer.

In order to help companies increase their cyber abilities and resiliency, The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) recently announced it will extend critical cybersecurity training to its 15,000+ minority business enterprises (MBEs) across 23 regions beginning this summer.

CyberReadyMBE is a five-week program developed by Industry Workforce Solutions (IWS) to provide pathways for cybersecurity to become integrated into corporate and public-sector supply chains.

The move is part of a nationwide effort to strengthen the nation’s supply chain and give businesses the infrastructure they need to compete effectively in the global marketplace.

“We are proud to offer this innovative program to our certified-MBEs, to not only meet basic cybersecurity standards to protect themselves and their partners but more so to give them a competitive edge when they bid on contracts,” said Ying McGuire, CEO,  of NMSDC, in a statement.. “Being certified has first-mover advantages, and we hope programs like this will show other MBEs the value of NMSDC certification.”

The launch comes on the heels of a successful pilot program implemented with the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council last summer. Now, the partners are ready to launch the program on a national scale. The first session, which starts Sept. 13, begins registering certified MBEs on July 18. Four subsequent sessions will be offered over the next year to ensure all the MBEs can achieve the designation.

The program kicks off with a cyber summit in which participants will hear from industry experts about their risks, followed by four instructor-led sessions, then onto a gap assessment with the goal of helping MBEs stabilize their systems, thereby increasing their opportunities with NMSDC corporate partners and federal agencies.

When complete, the MBEs will hold a CyberReadyMBE designation, recognized by the entire NMSDC corporate member network. The program concludes with a virtual recruitment fair attended by corporate sponsors and supporters to help MBEs cultivate relationships with corporate and governmental entities.

The U.S. Department of Defense and corporations recognize that small businesses have a crucial role in the nation’s efforts against cybersecurity attacks. Using their standards as a model, the program is aligned with the NIST NICE Cyber Framework and the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which are required for all entities doing business with the DoD.

 “We consulted with academic researchers, cybersecurity experts, corporations, and government agencies to build a program that aligns with national standards of cybersecurity,” said Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan, president of IWS.

“The result is a pathway for MBEs to increase their cybersecurity capabilities and resiliency. In addition to giving them the tools to be compliant with the standards outlined by the U.S. Department of Defense, the program will also help MBEs address their unique risks and gaps and provide guidance on addressing them.”

The program is sponsored, in part, by Bank of America, GE, and Truist. It is backed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, which counseled IWS and NMSDC on the tools MBEs need to effectively and safely compete for business in the corporate and government realms.

Brent Voigtschild, corporate operations department director at Naval Surface Warfare Center shared that NAVSEA is in constant need of qualified and prepared companies who can support the critical needs of the U.S. Navy.

“This program gives MBEs access to federal opportunities that they previously couldn’t access because of their cyber immaturity,” Voigtschild said. “This program not only helps the MBE join the global supply chain ecosystem but it strengthens the entire country’s ability to compete globally        

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