cybersecurityThree organizations are banding together to provide rural telecom providers with NTCA CyberWise, an educational program that includes best practice insights for the development of cybersecurity practices and risk-management programs. The three organizations are NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute for Hometown Security. NTCA will make the rural telecom cybersecurity program available to its membership, which consists of 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies.

Rural Telecom Cybersecurity
CyberWise has four components:

  • Program participants will receive sector-specific guidance and industry best practices focused on the needs of small communications network providers in concert with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework.
  • The NTCA Cybersecurity Bundle, a comprehensive guide designed to help telco executives, board officers and operational staff develop a risk-management approach to cybersecurity, will be updated and distributed to program participants for free and available on the NTCA website for a nominal fee.
  • Three half-day, complimentary educational workshops will be held in conjunction with regional NTCA events in 2018, featuring detailed training regarding cyber risk assessment and mitigation, threat response and recovery strategies, and how to create and sustain a culture of awareness.
  • NTCA will develop a recognition program for staff of small telecom companies who have achieved the education needed to serve as a Cyber Risk Manager for their company. To be eligible for recognition, participants must attend one in-person training and two educational webcasts to be offered throughout 2018.

The rural telecom cybersecurity risk-management programming will be featured at the 2018 NTCA Telecom Executive Forum to be held March 11-13 in Monterey, CA; the IP Vision Conference & Expo that will be held April 23-25 in New Orleans and the NTCA Cybersecurity Summit, which is set for October 21-23 in Dallas.

Small rural operators face different dynamics than big carriers and often have comparatively less personnel. The program aims to confront that challenge. “NTCA’s members remain engaged and motivated to improve their company’s cybersecurity posture, although the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and other industry resources are expansive and can be overwhelming,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield in a press release. “To that end, we are thrilled to receive this award to help bridge the gaps in education and awareness of cybersecurity risk management principles and empower our members to take action.”

Image courtesy of flickr user Defence Images.