March 6, 2023
The National Minority Supplier Development Council and Industry Workforce Solutions, Inc. have partnered once again to launch the second cohort of the CyberReadyMBE® program. The program gives minority business enterprises (MBEs) the tools to implement cyber controls and practices to become a stronger, more resilient company.
The program kicked off in February with another successful Cyber Summit, an impressive lineup of experts who laid out the state of cybersecurity in today’s supply chain.
This 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 participants clamored to the session’s chat section to flood the panel 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’s being provided free to the certified MBEs of NMSDC.
“A CyberReadyMBE® designation is recognized by our NMSDC corporate members, and you can align your cyber readiness with the Dept. of Defense guidelines,” Lisa Miller, NMSDC’s vice president of strategic partnerships, programs, conferences, meetings and events, told the summit attendees. “At the end of the day, that is what we really want — more contract opportunities for our MBEs.”
The course 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 Fourman, who guides small business owners through designing a workforce and company processes that support the kind of cyber 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 cyber 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, senior director of strategic alliances and programming for the NMSDC, 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 a CyberReadyMBE® Designation, recognized by government and corporate entities as a badge of cyber hygiene.Enrollment for Cohort 2 is open until April 30. Learn more and register at inwsinc.com.