UW–Whitewater: New partnership increases cyber resiliency in Wisconsin

WHITEWATER, WI: September 29, 2023- A new collaboration between the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs Division of Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will bolster cybersecurity in the state.

A memorandum of understanding signed on Sept. 15 by WEM Administrator Greg Engle and UW-Whitewater Chief Research Administration Officer Carl Fox allows the UW-Whitewater and WEM to work together to strengthen the state’s Cyber Response Team (CRT) Training Program.

“It is vital to build partnerships and share best practices when it comes to the cyber domain,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and the governor’s chief cybersecurity advisor. “The state’s Cyber Response Team plays an integral role in assisting local communities to respond and recover from attacks on information systems and communications networks.”

The CRT, which is administered by WEM, is a voluntary group of general members and cyber incident responders. The agreement seeks to close the gaps between general members and incident responders.

“This new partnership is a step towards resiliency against growing cyber threats in our state,” said Engle. “Working together will not only invest in cybersecurity education, but it will also encourage the continued growth of the Cyber Response Team.”

The CRT and WEM will also be supporting the university’s cybersecurity program and cyber research projects. The projects look at current and future states of preparedness throughout Wisconsin. There will also be joint outreach efforts to inform and educate both the public and private sectors about cybersecurity threats and mitigation strategies.

“Cybercrime is a formidable threat to today’s businesses. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, organizations must create more impermeable systems and be ready to defend their business from cyberattacks,” said Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, director of the Cybersecurity Center for Business at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater College of Business and Economics. “Through this collaboration with WEM, we aim not only to educate today’s professionals in cybersecurity, but to arm tomorrow’s IT leaders to thrive in the face of adversity.”

Specific collaborative efforts between UW-Whitewater and WEM include:

  • The university providing faculty and/or graduate students, facility space, and existing equipment for the CRT Quarterly Training Program.
  • The CRT and WEM employees will assist the University with identifying and promoting public-sector placement opportunities in support of UW-Whitewater’s Cybersecurity Program. Public-sector placements will be co-facilitated by the WEM Cybersecurity Preparedness Coordinator and the University.
  • Under the supervision of university faculty, the WEM Cybersecurity Preparedness Coordinator will assist in supporting UW-Whitewater’s cybersecurity program institutional review board-approved academic research efforts through program-aligned activities. Those will include data collection, analysis, writing, and other traditional peer-reviewed activities consistent with research or experimental design.

Learn more about the Wisconsin CRT, including information on how to apply for membership, at https://wem.wi.gov/response-teams/#crt.

The Cybersecurity Center for Business (CCB)’s mission is to offer leading-edge and innovative cybersecurity education, research, outreach services and opportunities to organizations and learners in Wisconsin. More information about the UW-Whitewater’s CCB and cybersecurity programs is available at https://www.uww.edu/cobe/ccb