Apr 28 2016

Colorado Aspires to Establish National Cybersecurity Intelligence Center

The Centennial State’s leadership is focusing the spotlight on the need for unity, clarity and education on IT security.

Cybercrimes are top of mind for everyone in this day and age where breaches of major government agencies and businesses seem to pop up in daily news stories.

Colorado has decided to take a stand on the frontlines of cyberwarfare. Governor John Hickenlooper is actively campaigning for the state’s legislature to fund what he is calling the National Cybersecurity Intelligence Center.

In his State of the State address earlier this year, Hickenlooper outlined his vision. “As we see it, this Center can be the country’s foremost authority on cybersecurity research and development, training and education,” the governor told the legislature. “It will provide real time response capability for businesses to detect, prevent, remediate and recover from threats and hacks.”

The center is envisioned as a partnership between the state, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the private sector at large. The proposal is for the center to be a training ground for state and local government officials, college students and business owners. Hickenlooper especially wants mayors and governors to understand the implications and risks of cybersecurity for their agencies and constituents.

“Most governors and mayors are woefully ill-informed of the scale and magnitude of threats, how many different points of weakness there are, and the consequences if you’re breached,” Hickenlooper said in an article from Statescoop. He added that the driving force behind the center was having a place where local and state officials can receive realistic and pragmatic education about the complex world of cybersecurity.

State House Greenlights Funding for the Center

While cybersecurity is something that many people can probably rally around, it doesn’t come cheaply, and given Gov. Hickenlooper’s national ambitions, it’ll require collaboration with numerous stakeholders to pull off.

But there are signs that the center is on a good path to reality. The Colorado House Appropriations Committee approved spending $8 million to renovate the building that will eventually house the center, reports the Gazette. The bill will go before the full House and then ultimately need to pass the state’s Senate before it becomes a reality. But the progress is encouraging nonetheless.

If Colorado forges ahead with its ultimate cybersecurity vision and plan, it could firmly establish itself as a center of excellence for other states and the nation at large.