Cybersecurity Focus

Cybersecurity Focus: Removing barriers, creating opportunities

September 6, 2023

Featured in the INFLDiCOTA June 2023 Issue

Industry Workforce Solutions prepares minority businesses to enter large supply chains by addressing their cyber readiness and connecting them to buyers.

National security is of dire importance, now more than ever. Companies that do not have industry-recognized cyber controls in place put all of us at risk. All businesses, in every sector, have a critical role to play to combat the issue: to protect their data and the data of their clients. To compete, a company must demonstrate cyber hygiene.

To address this national crisis, and diversify the supply chain, Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan launched Industry Workforce Solutions (IWS) in 2020. Industry Workforce Solutions’ flagship program, CyberReady, prepares minority and women-owned companies with the tools to compete for contracts in large federal, state, and corporate arenas. The program is offered directly to companies or in collaboration with corporations who are working to secure their supply chain.

Gonzalez-Gaboyan’s past effort while working on cyber- security with prime contractors in the defense industry led her to understand barriers for companies, the lack of cybersecurity controls, access to resources needed to obtain them, and how these issues are preventing minority and women companies from being able to compete. She also realized a pipeline was needed between minority, women-owned companies, and the buyers.

The professionals at Industry Workforce Solutions have backgrounds in cyber risk assessments, defense contracting, and workforce development – providing all sides necessary to build a cyber- safe company fully qualified to join the supply chain with no limitations.

“The most important part of what we do is the end result for minority and women-owned businesses,” she said, “which is allowing them to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with businesses of every size, and in every sector, ready and able to participate in the supply chain”.

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) partnered with Industry Work- force Solutions to bring access to the CyberReady program to their members. It leveraged its base of minority business enterprises and the corporations that support them and offered the program free to its certified MBEs. To date, hundreds of NMSDC’s members have begun a journey to cyber readiness.

The CyberReady program is self-paced, offering face-to-face time with the instructors via virtual online sessions, followed by a cyber gap assessment allowing companies to identify their gaps and a pathway to close those gaps. The program is full cycle – from awareness, to readiness, to opportunities – for a company.

Driven by a desire to get into federal contracting, many of the companies who have engaged with IWS are achieving the full CyberReady Designation, which serves as a badge of compliance. Justice Cassel, of the Silicon BlackGroup (SBG) enrolled in the Cyber- Ready program. He recently went as far as achieving the full CyberReady Designation.

The program is aligned with the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and other assessment tools used to determine a company’s level of cybersecurity. “As SBG’s Cybersecurity Product Lead and professional with over 12 years of industry experience, I know security – and can attest, the CyberReady Designation is a true difference-maker. Industry Workforce Solutions is a verifiable CMMC- ready program that levels up the playing field to ensure minority companies are qualified to compete for federal contracts”.