16 May 2023 – The model is a win-win for all, as it offers students real hands-on experience and provides the local community dedicated cyber-related services.
The Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics was established in 2021, bridging the gap between education and workforce entry by giving students practical ‘in the field’ experience while also providing local community organizations with free cybersecurity assessments and services. The consortium currently consists of approximately twelve universities. These universities currently are primarily US-based but are rapidly expanding internationally.
Faculty instructors train students to provide services like risk assessments, incident response plans, penetration testing, ransomware training, NIST and CMMC certifications, and tabletop exercises. The Global Cyber Alliance has developed, in conjunction with consortium members, a dedicated portal for clinic clients to access the GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit for Mission-based Organizations. This portal provides customized information and resources, as well as direct access to free tools and resources that enable them to take positive action to implement recommendations associated with essential cyber hygiene gaps identified through the student-led risk assessments.
The cybersecurity clinics typically serve under-resourced organizations that could not otherwise afford these services at market rates. Each cybersecurity clinic consortium member operates independently, and while all clinics serve under-resourced organizations, each serves different communities (or members of a specific vulnerable community). A wide umbrella of organizations benefit from services, and clinics pick a mission best suited to the needs of their immediate communities. Teams of students are typically assigned to a single client, and they work under the supervision of the instructors to develop actionable recommendations that address the client’s unique threat profile. The teams usually work with the client over the course of the semester (3-5 months) or sometimes longer.
A win-win model
“We are grateful that GCA has developed this custom toolkit for our growing network of university-based cybersecurity clinics to share with their clients, as a resource for public interest organizations like hospitals, non-profits, city governments, small businesses and other community organizations to continue to grow their cybersecurity resilience,” says Ann Cleaveland, Executive Director of the University of California, Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. “We are grateful to Craig Newmark Philanthropies (CNP) for helping the Consortium to develop and share these kinds of educational resources for cybersecurity clinics,” she added.
Global Cyber Alliance Capacity & Resilience Director Brian Cute said, “As an inaugural member of the consortium we are proud to deliver focused resources to further support the needs of the communities served by consortium members. The clinic model offers students real hands-on experience and provides the local community dedicated cyber-related services. It’s win-win for all involved.”
About the Global Cyber Alliance
The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) is an international, cross-sector effort dedicated to eradicating cyber risk and improving our connected world. At GCA we build programs, partnerships, and tools to make the connected world safer and more secure for all.
Learn more at www.globalcyberalliance.org