Town schools get cybersecurity training grant

Marblehead schools are among the 177 municipalities and public school districts across the state that received a cybersecurity training grant from Gov. Maura Healey’s administration, which will aid in the detection and avoidance of cyber threats.

The grant will provide training to school employees, and is funded by $250,000 in capital IT authorizations from the 2022 General Governmental Bond Bill, said the Executive Office of Technology Services & Security in a statement. The 2023 Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program is “designed to support local government efforts to improve overall cybersecurity posture through comprehensive online end-user training, evaluation and threat simulation.”

Communities like Marblehead that received the grant will get licenses for end-user training, assessment, and phishing simulation procured by the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security, the statement said.

“Our administration is committed to providing communities across Massachusetts with the resources they need to defend their technology against potential cyber threats,” said Healey in the statement. “We are thrilled to see municipal leaders from across the Commonwealth prioritize cybersecurity by providing this vital training to their employees. Our administration will continue to advocate for resources to further support our partners in municipal government to meet the needs of the constituents they serve.”

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said the grant program is an “important resource” that is crafted to fit into the “hectic and busy schedules that municipal officials, teachers, and administrative staff have.”

The training program begins with an initial cyber strength assessment to measure baseline cybersecurity awareness, according to the statement. After the initial assessment, participants will be faced with periodic assessments to build their “good cyber hygiene habits” and increase awareness of tactics used to get access to municipal government systems. At the end of the program, participants complete a final cyber strength assessment to measure their progress.

“This grant program is a critical component to ensuring that our local government technology is resilient, secure, and remains accessible to the constituents we serve,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Jason Snyder. “Municipal officials from across the Commonwealth are demonstrating their leadership on cybersecurity by participating in this important program and I thank them for their partnership in this initiative.”