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Governor Dayton Opens National Cybersecurity Summit During “Cybersecurity Awareness Month” in Minnesota

10/24/2017 10:06:36 AM

National summit returns to Minnesota for its seventh year, bringing together industry, government, and academic interests to improve cybersecurity

Governor Dayton has proclaimed the month of October as “Cybersecurity Awareness Month” in Minnesota, highlighting the importance of strong cyber defenses for Minnesota

Last session, Governor Dayton proposed a $27 million investment to keep Minnesotans, and their data, safe and secure online; on average, state systems face over 3 million attempted attacks each day

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today welcomed representatives of industry, government, and higher education to Minnesota for the seventh-annual “Cyber Security Summit” at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The State of Minnesota is a founding member of the summit, which brings people together to work to improve the state of cyber security on both a domestic and international level.

“Strong cybersecurity is critical to protect our citizens, our businesses, and our governments from online attacks,” said Governor Dayton. “I am proud that Minnesota has been a leader in cybersecurity, but we must do more. As those threats increase in volume and sophistication, we must invest in upgrades, technology, and talent to keep Minnesotans safe and secure online.”

Governor Dayton has also proclaimed October to be “Cybersecurity Awareness Month” in the State of Minnesota, to draw attention to the need for greater awareness and action around this critical issue. On average, malicious cyber-attackers probe Internet-accessible State of Minnesota IT systems over 3 million times each day to find vulnerabilities. These attacks aim to disrupt government services, steal citizens’ private data, or use government resources to conduct illegal operations.

“We must all must recognize state government’s crucial responsibility to protect and defend its citizens in cyberspace,” said Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) Commissioner Thomas Baden. “We have a shared responsibility to act in defense of Minnesotans' private data and the services they rely upon. We must work together to make needed investments in order to protect the people of Minnesota.”

During the last legislative session, Governor Dayton recommended a $27 million investment as part of a broader package to consolidate the State’s data centers and equip the State's cybersecurity team with additional staff, tools, and services that it needs to combat cyber-attacks. None of that $27 million, however, was funded by the Minnesota Legislature.

Further demonstrating Minnesota’s commitment to cybersecurity, in July 2017 Governor Dayton joined the Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity at the National Governor’s Association (NGA) Summer Meeting. The three main pillars of the compact include efforts to build cybersecurity governance, prepare and defend the state from cybersecurity events, and grow the nation’s cybersecurity workforce.

Minnesota IT Services secures and manages systems at over 1,300 locations across Minnesota, and every day, it faces threats originating from over 150 countries. Fortunately, our state has not yet experienced a major attack that has exposed Minnesotan’s private data, but more must be done to keep Minnesotans safe and secure online.

While Minnesota IT Services will continue the fight to protect citizen’s personal information and keep state systems running, Minnesotans can visit the MNIT website to learn how to keep your personal information secure online.

To read Governor Dayton’s proclamation for “Cybersecurity Awareness Month,” click here.

Governor Dayton’s Proposals for Stronger Cybersecurity
Over the last three years, Governor Dayton proposed historic investments to improve the State of Minnesota’s cybersecurity programs across state government. These investments would have allowed the state to protect against many of our most pressing threats through investments in critical upgrades, technology, and talent to keep Minnesotans safe and secure online. Unfortunately, the Legislature has not agreed to the Governor’s proposed funding to enhance the state’s cybersecurity.
To see details on the $27 million in cybersecurity investments Governor Dayton proposed this past legislative session, click here.
Securing the State Against Online Threats
Minnesota has developed a five-year strategic cybersecurity plan for the management, control, and protection of state systems and data to protect the privacy of all Minnesotans. This plan was vetted by private sector cybersecurity leaders in Minnesota who all agree the plan must be implemented as soon as possible. The plan includes building a strong foundation for state cybersecurity, providing guidance across state and local government, bolstering the state’s cybersecurity workforce, and establishing a new security and response center.

The state cybersecurity plan to solidify our cyber-defenses must be funded and implemented aggressively. Unfortunately, the Legislature did not fund Governor Dayton’s new budget proposals this session to improve the State of Minnesota’s cybersecurity defenses.
For more information, visit the State of Minnesota’s cybersecurity webpage.
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