For Immediate Release
March 2, 2023
Leo Ruiz, email@example.com, 305-987-8437
Bridgewater State University Launches First-of-its-kind Cybersecurity Program in Massachusetts
Innovative new Cyber Range and Security Operations Center to give students real-world training while providing local businesses and governments crucial resources to guard against cyberattacks
March 2, 2023 – With businesses and government agencies facing growing threats and demand for cybersecurity workers higher than ever, Bridgewater State University announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity, further establishing itself as a leader in cybersecurity education and combining a faculty of top cyber experts with state-of-the-art facilities. The bachelor’s degree program, which is under review by the state Board of Higher Education, may begin welcoming undergraduate students as early as this fall and will be supported by two groundbreaking centers created to give students hands-on experience in this expanding field: The Cyber Range opening in Fall 2023, and the Security Operations Center (SOC) set to open later this year.
The state-of-the-art SOC is designed to be an on-campus facility offering real world, hands-on experience; staffed 24/7 by cybersecurity experts with assistance from BSU students. Through a partnership with CyberTrust Massachusetts, a consortium of statewide cybersecurity experts transforming cyber education and training through experiential learning environments, the SOC will provide much needed technical support to local businesses and municipalities, which often lack the staffing and funding to protect themselves against cyberattacks.
“As a center of excellence in cybersecurity, Bridgewater State University is a proud member of CyberTrust Massachusetts,” stated Frederick W. Clark, Jr., President of Bridgewater State University. “We look forward to our continuing collaboration with CyberTrust in growing the talent pipeline in this critical, emerging sector and in helping protect municipalities, other government entities, non-profits and small businesses against a growing array of cyberthreats.”
“Infrastructure like this will make Massachusetts a national leader when it comes to cybersecurity,” said Peter Sherlock, CEO of CyberTrust Massachusetts. “It also provides efficient and cost-effective support to small towns, businesses, and nonprofits.”
The Cyber Range is a cybersecurity training space, designed to develop hands-on training through simulated cyberattacks, data breaches, and other cybercrimes. The 1,900 square foot facility will feature 24 “seats,” a large video wall, and command center. Through simulated “stress-tests,” participants will navigate scripted cyberbreaches in real-time, dealing with demanding situations that mirror efforts required to mitigate a cyberattack. The Cyber Range will additionally serve as a resource to the community for municipalities, government agencies, or outside organizations hoping to renew certifications and qualifications.
The creation of the Cyber Range and SOC was funded through a $2 million federal grant secured by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), intended to enable students to apply, hone, and elevate their cybersecurity skills, and serve as a resource for the Commonwealth to provide training to municipalities, state agencies, law enforcement, and other entities. On February 24, 2023, Senator Markey visited the Bridgewater campus to speak with faculty and students of the cybersecurity program and tour the site of the planned Cyber Range.
“Massachusetts is not just the Bay State, we are the Brain State. It is imperative that Massachusetts students and professionals have access to the top-of-the-line training needed to grow our local and national cybersecurity workforce,” said U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey. “I am glad to fight for funding for Bridgewater State University to deliver affordable, accessible, world class education for students and municipal officials, who will now be better prepared to protect critical cyber infrastructure and also access top notch positions in the cybersecurity field.”
Global cybercrime costs are expected to grow by 15% per year, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. With the launch of this program, the resources behind it, and partnerships stemming from its development, Bridgewater is uniquely suited to meet this growing demand and position itself on the vanguard of national cybersecurity education.
“There are currently over 20,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in Massachusetts and over 750,000 nationally. We believe this program at BSU will set the standard for the state and potentially serve as a national model for the rest of the country. No other program can provide this level of immersive education and training, ensuring students are on the cutting edge of cybersecurity defense,” said Steve Zuromski, Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Bridgewater. “Just like pilots use flight simulators, our students will have access to a one-of-its kind facility that will give them hands on real-world training they need to immediately enter the workforce and get a job.”
The program would create the first undergraduate degree in cybersecurity in the Massachusetts state college system, increasing access to affordable, applicable careers in the computer science and governance fields. BSU currently offers a cybersecurity and digital forensics minor as well as a master’s certificate in cybersecurity and cybercriminology. Different than other cybersecurity certificate programs, the BSU program adds cybercriminology to focus on the investigative side of cybercrime. Students will graduate with the skills, experience, and knowledge to compete in the growing global markets that demands highly skilled cybersecurity professionals that can adapt and grow as the industry’s needs expand.
“This program is unique, in that it doesn’t just focus on the technical aspects of the job,” said Dr. Enping Li, professor in the Computer Science Department at Bridgewater State. “Unlike other universities, we’re strongly emphasizing ethics and the relationship between cybersecurity and the criminal justice system. This program is for burgeoning professionals, taught by professors with real-world cybersecurity experience.”
Additional funding for the Cyber Range included $250,000 from the Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant, supported by the MA Executive Office of Education Skills Capital Program; and $711,500 from the MassCyberCenter. The federal earmark covered 67.5% of the funding for the cyber range, with the additional 32.5% ($961,500) coming from the additional funding.
About Bridgewater State University
For more than 180 years, Bridgewater State University has been transforming lives, helping all of our students get an outstanding education, begin rewarding careers and lift up their families. BSU is a safe, diverse, inclusive, welcoming community where all students and employees can find a home.
As the 10th largest university, public or private, in Massachusetts, Bridgewater provides a wide range of academic programs and innovative learning experiences inside and outside the classroom. The University grants approximately 2,500 degrees and certificates each year.
Bridgewater State University provides all these opportunities while continuing to offer one of the most affordable degrees in all New England.