In the face of increasing ransomware attacks, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced the creation of a bipartisan cybersecurity task force to protect the state’s digital infrastructure.

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In a press release, Gov. Kelly’s office said the task force is charged with developing a “comprehensive plan to address potential cybercrime, and protect essential services that Kansans and businesses depend on.”

“As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, it’s critical that we prevent disruptions in essential public services, and protect Kansans’ privacy, economic activity, and public safety,” Gov. Kelly said. “Through this bipartisan, collaborative effort, with partners from both the private and public sectors, we will develop a plan to protect our digital infrastructure and improve cybersecurity statewide.”

Specifically, the task force will:

  • “Facilitate cross-industry and cross-government collaboration to share best practices and mitigate cybersecurity risks related to critical infrastructure and protected systems;
  • Identify opportunities to improve the overall cybersecurity posture across all levels of government within Kansas;
  • Identify partnerships and avenues to maximize and leverage existing cybersecurity resources within the state;
  • Develop a framework for coordinated information sharing, response, simulation, testing, and mutual assistance between the government and private sectors;
  • Develop a coordinated and collaborative State of Kansas Cyber Response Plan;
  • Recommend appropriate and cost-effective safeguards to reduce, eliminate, or recover from identified threats to data;
  • Recommend resources and possible methods to accomplish the recommendations identified above.”

Within the next 90 days, the task force is required to submit an initial report to Gov. Kelly. The report must detail recommendations and proposals for the task force’s initial work. Following the first report, the task force must submit a comprehensive report and recommendations by Dec. 5, 2021.

The task force includes:

  • State Chief Information Technology Officer,
  • State CISO,
  • The Adjutant General of the Kansas National Guard;
  • The Attorney General;
  • The Secretary of State;
  • Representative from the Kansas Department of Emergency Management;
  • Director of Kansas Criminal Justice Information System;
  • Director of the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center;
  • Representatives from municipal governments;
  • Representatives from the Regents institution;
  • Representatives from critical infrastructure;
  • Representatives of county governments; and
  • Representatives from the state legislature.
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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