The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the state of Maryland and Montgomery County, Maryland, have renewed their partnership in support of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), a collaborative hub where industry, government and academic experts work together to solve pressing cybersecurity challenges.
Leaders from the three organizations — Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio, Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kevin Anderson and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich — signed a five-year agreement extending their partnership yesterday at the NCCoE in Rockville, Maryland.
The NCCoE, which was established in 2012, helps businesses secure their information technology systems with practical solutions based on industry standards, best practices and commercially available technology. The center also collaborates with researchers and technology vendors to provide guidance on industry-specific challenges such as securing health care data, protecting financial transactions and safeguarding critical infrastructure.
At the event, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves called the NCCoE “an ideal place and way for federal, state, and local governments to join forces and tackle tough cybersecurity issues.”
Graves also announced the launch of the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Community of Interest (COI). “This initiative will help to make sure that NIST’s guidance is both meaningful and practical for smaller companies and other organizations to put into use,” he said. “Beyond benefiting the NCCoE and its participants, this new community of interest promises to improve the return on all of NIST’s investments in cybersecurity research, standards, guidelines and practices.”
Also at the event, NIST Director Locascio thanked the state of Maryland and Montgomery County, Maryland, for their commitment to the NCCoE and singled out the companies that are part of the center’s National Cybersecurity Excellence Partnership. They have “provided NCCoE with tremendous resources and infused creativity into the cybersecurity solutions now available and in use by many companies, government agencies and other organizations,” she said.
One goal of the renewed partnership agreement is to better address the needs of companies and institutions in the state and county, with a particular focus on small businesses. With that goal in mind, the agreement signed yesterday calls on the state and county governments to expand their efforts to facilitate the NCCoE’s relationships with Maryland-based companies. In addition, the new community of interest announced yesterday offers smaller companies multiple ways to collaborate with and take greater advantage of NCCoE’s capabilities and solutions.
The agreement also aims to strengthen the NCCoE’s connections with local public schools and academic institutions throughout the state. These relationships are key to the NCCoE’s efforts to support the development of a skilled cybersecurity workforce, which it does in part through student internships.
Organizations interested in working with the the NCCoE, the State of Maryland and Montgomery County on cybersecurity issues should reach out with an email to [email protected].