Kansas Gets 17 Critical Cybersecurity Recommendations

A task force formed to assess gaps and possibilities in the cybersecurity posture of Kansas has made 41 key recommendations.

Seventeen of the recommendations included in the Cybersecurity Task Force’s final report have been identified as “critical priorities.”

The task force was set up in August 2021 and issued an interim report in October. This was followed by a final report that was released in December. 

“Important to us was to provide the governor with actionable recommendations that can increase the cybersecurity posture of Kansas and grow its cybersecurity workforce,” said the task force’s co-chairs, Mike Mayta and Jeff Maxon. “After meeting with stakeholders, we feel confident in the potential that Kansas possesses.”

Topping the list of critical recommendations is the need to identify both a short-term cybersecurity governance model to continue the work of the task force and a long-term sustainable cybersecurity governance model to support a whole-of-state approach.

The task force found Kansas needs to perform state assessments of current computer science and cybersecurity workforce development and education capabilities in and available to Kansas, as well as of the state’s cybersecurity capabilities. 

Kansas was also advised to create a cyber-incident and disruption response plan and to ensure there are mechanisms in place to test it annually with partners throughout the state. The task force recommended that an advisory body be formed from appropriate agencies and stakeholders to develop such a plan. 

Another critical recommendation was to create a cybersecurity position “such as a Cyber Navigator or Cyber Liaison” in state government to “focus on communicating, coordinating, and collaborating with public and private cybersecurity partners.” 

To ensure the state has access to the best cybersecurity talent, the task force advised Kansas to partner with higher education institutions to develop a talent pipeline through work-based learning opportunities. The state was also advised to identify salary differences between public and private cybersecurity jobs “and see if and where the public sector can raise wages to be more competitive.”

Kansas governor Laura Kelly said: “These cybersecurity recommendations put Kansas on a path to be proactive in securing our data while also growing our workforce.”