The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and Industry Workforce Solutions have partnered once again to launch the second cohort of the CyberReadyMBE program. The program gives minority business enterprises (MBEs) the tools to implement cybersecurity controls and practices to become a stronger, more resilient company.
The program kicked off in February with another successful Cyber Summit led by an impressive lineup of experts who laid out the state of cybersecurity in today’s supply chain.
The summit came with a new element that participants had been awaiting – a panel discussion made up of the program’s alumni. Hearing directly from MBEs who had been through the journey and could speak to the benefits of the program, the nearly 150 summit attendees flooded the session’s chat section with questions.
“This has enhanced the learning and the entire experience for MBEs,” said Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan, president and CEO of Industry Workforce Solutions.
CyberReadyMBE is a virtual program designed to take minority business enterprises through 17 cybersecurity controls required to do business with most major governments and corporations in today’s risky digital environment. It is free to NMSDC-certified MBEs.
“A CyberReadyMBE designation is recognized by our NMSDC corporate members, and you can align your cyber readiness with the Department of Defense guidelines,” said Lisa Morris, NMSDC vice president of strategic partnerships, programs, conferences, meetings, and events. “At the end of the day, that is what we really want — more contract opportunities for our MBEs.”
The program provides a combination of required and optional sessions that are led by instructors, including Chris Golden, who worked on designing the very rules the Department of Defense uses to vet their suppliers; and Jan Foreman, who guides small business owners through designing workforce and company processes that support the kind of cybersecurity defenses demanded in today’s supply chain.
Sandra Cardenas of Advanced Foam and Packaging, enrolled in the program because her company already had a defense contract but in order to align with their cybersecurity standards, she needed the templates, checklists, and guidance that CyberReadyMBE provides.
“In the gap assessment, everything is explained in detail,” she said. “I used it to put together my security system. Now I have a plan. Now, we can show that we have a working procedure.”
Jetheda Hernandez, NMSDC senior director of strategic alliances and programs, praised the MBEs for embarking on a journey to cyber resiliency, thus ensuring their future economic vitality. Outlining the next steps in the process, including joining the MBE Slack Community, completing all the modules, and attending the session with corporate suppliers, she emphasized the need to commit to the final step, a gap assessment that will lock in CyberReadyMBE designation, recognized by government and corporate entities as a badge of cyber hygiene.
Enrollment for cohort two is open until April 30. Learn more and register at inwsinc.com.