Record Entrants for 2021 Cybersecurity Competition for SMBs

Thanks to Partnerships with

Economic Development Agencies

LARAMIE – Only a month and a half into Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses shows 11 entrants, the highest number seen at this stage in the past 4 years.

“I attribute the increased number of early registrants to economic development agencies promoting the free competition,” said Laura Baker, Co-Founder of the Competition and of CyberWyoming.

The Wyoming Women’s Business Center featured Baker in Common Sense Security Tips for Small Businesses in January and February, prompting a few extra businesses to take advantage of the free service.

“Cybersecurity is a scary term for many of our micro-enterprise clients, so it was important to demystify the term and teach the basics. CyberWyoming helped us show our clients that cyber security really comes down to using your common sense online,” said Christine Langley, WWBC Business Counselor and COVID-19 Director.

Langley continued, “As an added bonus the CyberWyoming Competition offers small businesses guided learning and implementation support – exactly what woman-owned businesses need to be successful.”

And then there’s Sheridan’s Winning Streak…

The Sheridan Chamber of Commerce also took an interest in keeping up the Sheridan-area winning streak which included 4 winners in three years of the competition.  The winners included First Federal Bank & Trust, First Northern Bank of Wyoming, Craftco, and Wyoming Roofing.

“I am proud that Sheridan businesses have been named winners of the Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition every year since it began. While I hope Sheridan continues its winning streak, I’d like to challenge small businesses in every community throughout the state to register TODAY for this year’s competition!” said Dixie Johnson, CEO of the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce.

Ptolemy Data Systems of Sheridan is taking their community’s winning streak so seriously that Jesus Rios, CEO, has offered free antivirus software (up to 10 seats) and a free firewall for 1 year to be raffled off between all the Sheridan companies that enter the competition.

Ptolemy Data Services Building in Sheridan

“We want to support CyberWyoming’s core mission and encourage ‘main street’ Wyoming businesses to make sure they are properly protecting their data,” said Rios. “A breach in security to a small business could be financially catastrophic and hard to come back from,” he continued.

About Registration and the Competition

Competition registration continues through May, but statistically those that enter early have a better chance of winning and can work the project at a more leisurely pace.  Winners speak at Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Conference in October.

In 2020, Craftco, Wyoming Roofing, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum were the top three winners.  The participants were a mixture of purchasing agents, HR managers, and curators, and not technical people.

“It’s been an awesome exprience. I know where to go if I need help and I’ve learned a ton along the way,” said Brad Orr, Craftco.

The 2021 competition is a larger and broader field of participants than in previous years including small healthcare clinics, construction companies, financial services, yoga studios, and massage therapists.

“We are grateful to see a more participants this year because we added new features to the competition and hired staff,” said Patrick Wolfinbarger, Co-Founder of CyberWyoming.

In 2021, the competition includes working webinars which are 30 minutes of content and 45 minutes of working one-on-one or in a small group with a mentor to complete a task to take back to their business.  Any Wyoming business can register for the webinars is at www.cyberwyoming.org/events/, but mentoring is reserved primarily for the competition participants.

The April 29 webinar features fun phishing trainings for offices and tips for writing a phishing policy.  The webinar features Tory Smith of the FBI and one-on-one mentoring with past competition participants to write a policy. This webinar is sponsored by Microsoft.

Both the webinars and competition are free due to a donation from Microsoft, grant funding from the Department of Workforce services, and sponsorship from First Federal Bank & Trust of Sheridan, Campbell County Health, Wyoming Financial Insurance, EvnTec of Evanston, Sweetwater Technologies of Rock Springs, Factory IT of Jackson, Team Networks of Casper, IECA of Casper, DigeTekS LLC, Ptolemy Data Systems of Sheridan, and Manufacturing Works of Wyoming.

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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