Business Continuity Management / Disaster Recovery , Critical Infrastructure Security , Cybercrime

How One University Is Beefing Up Cyber Defenses, Programs

Steve Zuromski, CIO at Bridgewater State University, on New 'Cyber Range' and SOC
How One University Is Beefing Up Cyber Defenses, Programs
Steve Zuromski, CIO, Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts (Image: BSU)

Educational institutions - public and private - are prime targets for ransomware and other cyberattacks due to their open nature and possession of sensitive information, requiring continuous investment in cyber defenses and strong security practices, said Steve Zuromski, vice president and CIO at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

His own university is no exception, Zuromski said. "We're always being attacked now but thankfully, we've been able to thwart those attacks. However, it's something that we all have to pay attention to - nobody is immune to cyberattacks."

At Bridgewater State University, efforts to bolster cybersecurity at the institution are multifaceted. They include a new "cyber range," which is slated to open in early 2024. It features a cybersecurity simulator that allows students and other cybersecurity professionals "to experience real, live fire attacks but in a safe virtual environment, so that they can learn how to defend, protect and recover," Zuromski said in an interview with Information Security Media Group.

The university received $4.5 million through federal and state funding to build out the facility, he said. In addition to the cyber range, the university is partnering with the state to open up a new security operation center on the school's main campus. "That SOC is going to be used to monitor municipalities in the area, and our students are going to be working in the SOC alongside seasoned cybersecurity professionals," he said.

In this interview with Information Security Media Group (see audio link below photo), Zuromski also discussed:

  • Cybersecurity challenges in the education sector;
  • Ways to help bridge the cybersecurity skills shortage;
  • Other efforts at the university, including new academic programs, to help address cybersecurity challenges.

Zuromski leads IT and security at Bridgewater State University, which currently has about 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. He has over 20 years of experience in IT and has been a leader in bringing the enterprise cyber range and expanded cybersecurity educational programming to the university while working with local and state officials to help foster an advanced cyber ecosystem for the state of Massachusetts.

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