North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed a bill into law that will unify the states approach to cybersecurity. Burgum, a former Microsoft executive said that having a comprehensive plan in place will improve the state’s defenses.
“This important investment in 21st century critical infrastructure recognizes the increasingly digital world in which we live and the growing nature of cybersecurity threats,” Burgum said. “A unified approach to cybersecurity strengthens our ability to protect the state network’s 252,000 daily users and more than 400 entities from cyberattacks.”
With the new law, the Information Technology Department (ITD) will be able to create a statewide definition of cybersecurity and build a framework that will influence all public information systems. With the new system, agencies and offices that were previously responsible for their own cybersecurity will have to rise to a new standard and the unified front will make it more difficult for cyber adversaries to be successful.
North Dakota is also considering a dedicated cybersecurity office. Governor Burgum supports the creation of such an office and wants to add significantly to the state tech budget.
Burgum says that creating a more comprehensive approach to cybersecurity and technology in state government will come alongside efforts to train local students in tech skills. In a statement on the bill’s passage, he noted North Dakota State University’s new cybersecurity education focus in its Ph.D. program. Bismarck State College was also recently designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
“The jobs of today and tomorrow involve significant emphasis on technology skills, and providing training and resources for our students and workforce in computer science and cybersecurity will also benefit us as a state as we continue to lead the nation in our cybersecurity approach,” Burgum said.