The university has launched a new program known as CyberArch to help businesses and communities address one of today’s most critical challenges.

Cybersecurity touches nearly every aspect of modern life, and individuals, small businesses, large corporations, government agencies and non-profits are increasingly threatened.

In this challenging environment, our state has emerged as one of the nation’s leading cybersecurity hubs, with more than 115 cybersecurity firms, the Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon, the state-owned Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center—which is scheduled to open in 2018—and leading universities that are advancing cybersecurity through their research and instruction.

Along with Georgia Tech, UGA is one of only two universities in the state to be designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. UGA’s campus-wide Georgia Informatics Institutes are a hub for research and instruction related to big data. The GII administers our undergraduate certificate program in informatics, and our department of computer science offers a graduate certificate program in cybersecurity and also houses UGA’s Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy.

In addition to fostering cybersecurity through instruction and cutting-edge research, UGA has a statewide public service and outreach network that makes this institution uniquely positioned to promote security and economic vitality.

Hart County and Griffin/Spalding County were chosen as pilot communities for the CyberArch program through their participation in the university’s Archway Partnership, a nationally recognized program that addresses community-identified needs. Later this month UGA faculty, staff and students will hold their initial meeting with business and civic leaders in Hart County to identify community priorities and explore ideas for promoting a culture of data security. A similar meeting is planned for January in Griffin.

CyberArch builds on existing Public Service and Outreach programs related to cybersecurity, including the CyberStrength program offered through the university’s Small Business Development Center. In addition, UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government provides technical assistance and security audits for local governments and regional commissions and offers training that helps chief information officers and other government employees proactively address vulnerabilities that put sensitive data and infrastructure at risk.

The work of our faculty, staff and students in Hart and Spalding counties has the potential to become a national model for bringing research-based cybersecurity expertise to communities. It also demonstrates how the synergy among our teaching, research and service missions complement each other to benefit our state and nation.