2022 Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses Begins Feb 1

LARAMIE – On Feb 1, the 2022 Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses officially begins with five early entrants across the state. 

“We all like to be recognized for tackling a topic that many may be uncomfortable with,” said Patrick Wolfinbarger, Co-Founder of CyberWyoming.  “That’s what this competition is all about, providing the support to tackle information security and cyber risks.

The competition targets small businesses who do not have information technology help and want free, one-on-one, on-the-job, human based training to manage their security risks.

Registration continues through May 15, but statistically those that enter early have a better chance of winning and can work the project at a more leisurely pace.  Judging reports are due Aug. 15and participants are judged on the categories of problem solving/innovation, information security, culture/learning, planning, progress, thoroughness, and presentation.

In 2021, Bighorn Airways and Frontier Asset Management won first and second place, respectively while the Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne and Wyo Support tied for third. All spoke at Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Conference in October.  Individuals representing their companies were a mixture of financial officers, general managers, and some IT providers.

“I’m here to tell you that cybersecurity is amazing and everyone should do it.  Five years ago, you would not have heard me say this,” said Penny Rader of Bighorn Airways.  Rader went on to say that Bighorn Airways had to be NIST 800-171 compliant, but the NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] “doesn’t speak English in any way”  so she had to find like-minded people that would “in some crazy way embrace what was coming and what needed to be done.” 

This need led Rader to work with her IT provider, PDS [formerly Ptolemy Data Systems], Wyoming Manufacturing Works, the SBDC’s PTAC Division, the Department of Workforce Services, her intern Coen Rader, and enter CyberWyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition to get the help she needed.  “The Cowboy State rocks again!” she said.

The most coveted prize is speaking at Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Conference as a top winner.  In 2022, Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Conference will be combined with the University of W Blockchain Stampede and WyoHackathon in September.  The Stampede touts 800 in person attendees and 5000 worldwide electronically.  “It is going to be a great year to win because of great exposure,” said Wolfinbarger.

The competition is free due to community minded companies and organizations including: Campbell County Health, Capitol Communications, Cheyenne State Bank, DigeTekS, EvnTec, Factory IT, First Federal Bank & Trust, First Interstate Bank, Gannett Peak Technical Services, Hub Insurance, IECA, K2 Technologies, PDS, Sweetwater Technology Services, Team, and Wyoming Manufacturing Works.  A donation from Microsoft, grant funding from the Department of Workforce services, and collaboration with Casper College’s Cybersecurity program also made the competition possible.

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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