Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced the formation of the Governor’s Cybersecurity Task Force, which is tasked with providing recommendations to improve business, government, and personal cybersecurity defenses and enhance the educational pipeline for cybersecurity workforce needs. The task force will also identify cybersecurity assets, resources, and public-private partnerships across Idaho.

“Through the Idaho National Laboratory, the State of Idaho is home to unique and world-leading capabilities in countering cyber-attacks and engineering solutions to the cybersecurity challenges facing our state and nation,” said Gov. Little in a statement. “We’ll need increased resources, partnerships, and active collaboration between a broad range of organizations to successfully protect from ever-growing cybersecurity threats, and I’m confident my Cybersecurity Task Force is up to the task.”

A press release from Gov. Little’s office noted that the governor has directed the task force to “examine and propose new ways to ensure Idaho’s election infrastructure remains secure, transparent, and resilient from new and evolving threats.” Gov. Little has directed the task force to meet four times between August and November of this year and it is expected to provide a set of recommendations to the governor’s office in early 2022.

“I’m also asking the task force to find new ways to protect Idaho’s election infrastructure because fair and free elections are a hallmark of Idaho’s proud representative democracy and the expectation of every Idahoan,” Gov. Little said.

In addition to its other work, the task force will also explore opportunities to raise awareness, inform and educate potential victims of cybersecurity threats, including citizens, businesses, critical infrastructure operators, and state and local government.

The task force will be led by Idaho Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Associate Laboratory Director Zach Tudor. The task force includes cybersecurity experts from the private and public sectors and academia.

“Cyber-attacks are now ubiquitous in modern society. Without the proper procedures and infrastructure in place, all Idaho citizens, businesses, and organizations are potentially at risk,” Director Kealey said. “Through collaboration and partnership between the more than 200 Idaho businesses that offer cybersecurity products and services, and public sector organizations like Idaho National Laboratory and Idaho higher education institutions, Idaho has the opportunity to advance cybersecurity initiatives and innovations to defend against these critical global threats.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs