2021 Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses Begins

LARAMIE – On Feb 1, Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses officially began with six early entrants across the state. 

The competition is built for those small businesses who do not have information technology help and want to create a cyber leader in their office.

Registration continues through May, but statistically those that enter early have a better chance of winning and can work the project at a more leisurely pace.

In 2020, Craftco, Wyoming Roofing, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum were the top three winners and spoke at Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Conference.  The participants were a mixture of purchasing agents, HR managers, and curators, and not technical people.

“It’s been an awesome experience,” said Brad Orr of Craftco, “I know where to go if I need help and I’ve learned a ton along the way.”

The 2021 competition is proving to be a larger and broader field of participants than in previous years including small healthcare clinics, construction companies, financial services, yoga studios, and massage therapists.

“We are gratified to see a higher number of participants this year because we added new features to the competition and hired staff,” said Patrick Wolfinbarger, Co-Founder of CyberWyoming.

In 2021, the competition includes working webinars which are 30 minutes of content and 45 minutes of working one on one or in a small group with a mentor to complete a task to take back to their business.  Registration for the webinars is at www.cyberwyoming.org/events/

The first webinar is about roles and responsibilities between a small business and their internet service provider (ISP).  Small business owners are often shocked to find out that their ISP does not secure their internet as a general practice. 

The content features Jason Jenkins of Silver Star Communications and Dave Berry of Range, both Wyoming companies.

In 2021, CyberWyoming hired a UW student, Cooper Eaton of Pinedale, as a Cybersecurity Business Counselor Intern.  Eaton will be trained in the competition methodology, which follows the NICE (National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education) standards for an IT Auditor.  Eaton was hired in part by a Workforce Development Training Fund Internship Grant through the Department of Workforce Services.

Both the webinars and competition are free due to a donation from Microsoft, grant funding from the Department of Workforce services, and sponsorship from First Federal Bank & Trust of Sheridan, Campbell County Health, Wyoming Financial Insurance, EvnTec of Evanston, Sweetwater Technologies of Rock Springs, Factory IT of Jackson, Team Networks of Casper, IECA of Casper, DigeTekS LLC, Ptolemy Data Systems of Sheridan, and Manufacturing Works of Wyoming.

To participate in the competition, business owners or managers should contact info@cyberwyoming.org to get a copy of the intent to participate form and make an appointment to discuss how to become cyber secure.  CyberWyoming is responsible for monitoring efforts to meet best practices and helping the business owners document their progress.  The final step is submitting the documentation to the judges, chosen by local economic development agencies.

Information about Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses can be found at www.cyberwyoming.org/competition.

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