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Cybersecurity knows no boundaries and that is why cross-jurisdictional actions need to come into play as more people, companies, and governments become more digitally enabled.

So, as states and entities within their physical borders face the growing threat of cyberattacks, the National Governors Association (NGA) will work with seven competitively selected states and territories on strategies to enhance statewide cybersecurity.

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Staff from the Homeland Security and Public Safety division of NGA Solutions: The Center for Best Practices will partner with Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Washington and the territory of Guam to develop action plans to advance and refine key priorities in cybersecurity.

Participants from governors’ offices, state information technology departments, homeland security agencies, National Guard units and others will work collaboratively to improve interagency coordination and collaboration. NGA staff will offer technical assistance to states and territories for overall cybersecurity governance. Targeted strategies to support the critical infrastructure and localities across the states also are key focus areas.

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The new partnerships are part of NGA’s commitment to providing states with the tools to navigate the fast-changing realm of threats and attacks against the integrity of systems in the public and private sectors.

In a separate initiative last month, NGA said it was advising six competitively selected states on strategies to improve cybersecurity operations and communications around elections. NGA also is working with states and private-sector partners to ensure there are enough trained cybersecurity professionals to meet future demands, a topic that will be explored in more depth during the association’s Summer Meeting later this month in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At the National Summit on State Cybersecurity in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana, in May, NGA staff joined officials from all 50 states to address common cybersecurity challenges.

“We see governors and states as the front line of cybersecurity,” Jeff McLeod, director of NGA Homeland Security and Public Safety, said at the summit.

This work follows from NGA’s Meet the Threat Initiative in 2017, where 38 governors signed NGA’s Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity, pledging to prioritize and support a core set of principles for strengthening state cybersecurity.

The NGA Workshops to Enhance State Cybersecurity will run from July to December. They are supported by NGA’s Resource Center for State Cybersecurity, which is co-chaired by Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana.

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