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DSU to join Cybersecurity Clinic Consortium

June 10, 2024

Dakota State University has been selected to receive $1 million in grant funding and wraparound support from Google’s Cybersecurity Clinics Fund to establish the Dakota State University Cybersecurity Clinic. The funding from Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm, is part of a $25 million collaboration with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics.

Cybersecurity clinics at higher education institutions provide free digital security services to under-resourced organizations, similar to how law or medical schools offer free community clinics. The new DSU Cybersecurity Clinic will give Dakota State University students the opportunity to learn cybersecurity and AI skills in an effective, hands-on manner while simultaneously helping to protect vulnerable organizations and critical infrastructure, such as local small businesses, hospitals, schools, and energy grids, from cyber-attacks.

According to the World Economic Forum's 2024 Global Risks Report, cyber insecurity remains one of the top 10 global risks over the next 10 years. Currently, there are nearly 450,000 open cybersecurity jobs available in the U.S, including over a thousand in South Dakota, and demand for cyber professionals is projected to grow 32% by 2033. To ensure that communities, critical infrastructure and businesses big and small across the U.S. are secure, we need a skilled, diverse and AI savvy cybersecurity workforce.

“Dakota State University is thrilled to join the prestigious consortium of universities and non-profits dedicated to bolstering community cybersecurity. With this new award, we will enhance support for our existing partnerships and forge new collaborations,” said Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, Vice President for Research & Economic Development at DSU.

“Our full-time staff and faculty will guide students in this vital process, leading the way in establishing the new Cybersecurity Clinic at Dakota State University. Together, we aim to safeguard our communities and drive innovation in cybersecurity for South Dakota,” she stated. 

The DSU Cybersecurity Clinic will enhance cybersecurity for small businesses, local and state governments, and critical infrastructure partners by identifying vulnerabilities and recommending actionable, low-cost improvements. In addition to providing assessments and implementing strategies to improve security, the clinic also focuses on education, offering training sessions to teach best practices and raise awareness about cybersecurity threats. This approach ensures that organizations not only strengthen their defenses but also build lasting knowledge to maintain and advance their security measures. All services and educational resources are offered at no cost, supporting a safer digital environment for various sectors.

“Google's transformative investment is catalyzing cybersecurity for the public good,” said Ann Cleaveland, co-founder and co-chair of the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics and Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. “We congratulate the recipients and applaud these awards, which propel forward the vision of the Consortium to establish a cybersecurity clinic in every U.S. state by 2030."

Dakota State is one of 15 new clinics set to launch in 2024 at higher education institutions across the country, thanks to a collaboration from Google and the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics.  In addition to $1 million in Google.org funding, the tech company is offering DSU volunteer mentorship from Google employees, Google Titan Security Keys, and scholarships for the Google Career Certificate in Cybersecurity.  Learn more on Google’s blog and the Consortium’s website

The announcement builds on Google’s 2023 support for 10 clinics, part of a combined commitment to launch 25 Google-supported cyber clinics nationwide by 2025. With the latest round of funding, Google.org has now committed more than $25 million toward creating the diverse and AI- and digital-security savvy workforce needed to protect critical U.S. infrastructure from cyberattacks.

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