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Why GENEDGE’s Cybersecurity Program is a Triple Win for Virginia

GENEDGE continues to lead the way in securing Virginia’s Defense Industrial Base against unrelenting cybersecurity threats. 

In 2018, GENEDGE launched the DEFENDCUI-VA Program to help Virginia’s defense contractors meet the new cybersecurity requirements in the DFARs. The program is funded by Virginia and a $1.4M grant from the Department of Defense. Since the program started, GENEDGE has helped dozens of government contractors improve their cybersecurity posture, but DEFENDCUI-VA has also generated other important benefits for Virginia. The program has been a real win-win-win for the Commonwealth.

Win 1:  Improving Cybersecurity for Virginia’s Defense Companies

So far this year, the DEFENDCUI-VA program has helped more than 20 companies assess and mitigate their cyber vulnerabilities. The program is on track to work with at least 45 more by the end of 2019. Participating companies are typically lower-tier small businesses, without large IT budgets, but still required to meet DOD requirements for protecting sensitive data, such as DFARS 7012. To alleviate some of the expense, the DEFENDCUI-VA grant covers 80% of the costs of working with professional cybersecurity service providers. Failure to meet cyber requirements may disqualify companies from winning government contracts, so the stakes are high for businesses in the defense sector.

Win 2:  Supporting Virginia’s Cybersecurity Providers

The DEFENDCUI-VA program has partnered with a few world-class cybersecurity service providers based in Virginia to deliver superior support for a small businesses budget. These partner companies understand how to engage with small businesses and focus on cost-effective solutions to meet the DFARS requirements. The program uses a “Virginians helping Virginians” approach to ensure each dollar spent on the program remains within the Commonwealth.

Win 3:  Cybersecurity Training and Jobs for Virginia’s Rural Communities

The DEFENDCUI-VA program is adding to the existing demand for more cybersecurity professionals in Virginia. Since cybersecurity is well suited for remote support, GENEDGE is working with the GO Virginia Program, which provides cybersecurity training to students or professionals looking for a new career in the Blue Ridge region. It’s a great partnership, with DEFENDCUI-VA’s assessments providing valuable entry-level work for the GO Virginia interns, which deepens the cybersecurity resource pool for Virginia. In fact, a cybersecurity service provider recently hired six interns from the Waynesboro area to support the DEFENDCUI-VA program. You can read more about it here.

GENEDGE continues to leverage creative solutions, from Virginian companies, to secure information for defense contractors so they can remain competitive by meeting new cybersecurity requirements. At the same time, DEFENDCUI-VA is providing valuable training opportunities and access to jobs that will expand Virginia’s cybersecurity resource pool and allow residents in rural areas to stay in the communities they love. 

It’s a win-win-win.

There are still some openings available for 2019. To get more information about the DEFENDCUI-VA program, please visit the program page at https://www.genedge.org/program/virginias-defend-cui-program/ or contact Dave Bartlow, Program Manager, at bartlow.dave@genedge.org or 904-687-3148.

By Dave Bartlow, Progam Manager for DEFENDCUI-VA, GENEDGE 

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