Craftco of Sheridan garnered top honors in the annual Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Business. Wyoming Roofing of Sheridan was awarded second place and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum third place during the 2020 Virtual Wyoming Cybersecurity Conference Oct. 5-7.
A panel of judges reviewed 10 official entrants from throughout the state, said Laura Baker, director and co-founder of the nonprofit Wyoming Cybersecurity Alliance (CWA). Entrants included a home-based business; a nonprofit; a sole proprietor retail store; a labor contractor; a bed and breakfast; a chain hotel; and a scientific professional services company.
“Wyoming is the only state that does this,” Baker said of the competition offered through the Made Safe in Wyoming program. “The number of entrants has grown each of the three years the free competition has been offered. We had a 90 percent completion rate for the competition, which is also the highest we have ever had. We had a few more companies that went through the competition process, but didn’t officially enter, waiting for next year’s event.”
Baker said the goal of the competition is to make participants feel empowered in making decisions about their cybersecurity. Four goals of the competition are to:
- Increase the adoption of cybersecurity best practices.
- Reward business owners and celebrate success when adoption happens.
- Change the culture and psychology of adoption of cybersecurity practices.
- Create community cybersecurity mentors.
To date, 36 businesses and organizations have been helped by the program.
Brad Orr, a purchasing and estimating manager at Craftco, said the company’s cybersecurity situation has been improved through the program.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” Orr said.
Orr said Craftco, which was started in 1981 by Billy and Marva Craft, has a vision of becoming the premiere custom metalworking company in America.
“If our cyber goes down, that’s a problem,” Orr said.
Kelly Hahn, Wyoming Roofing’s office and human resources manager, said from her first meeting with Baker, she was put at ease.
“I was not experienced or technologically very savvy,” Hahn said. “I was in and out of technology. But I was definitely not current. And Laura just let me know that was okay and that we would get there together and work on it. And that we could tailor it to what our company needs.”
For the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, participation in the Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition was a means to enhance the company’s cybersecurity in an innovative way, said Brian Briggs, museum exhibits curator and network administrator.
“The opportunity that we found was unparalleled for an institution of our means and scale,” Briggs said. “We would not have thought this possible a year ago and the strides in advancements we’ve made have not only added to the capability of the institution, but really changed the projected course of the institution. The staff members here have a new appreciation and a comfort level with security that they have not felt before.”
Baker said that overall, the competition achieved its goal to make participants feel “empowered.”
A final survey of those tasked with cyber leadership for their small business in the competition, said they:
- Feel they have an improved product or service for their customers or stakeholders.
- Have created relationships to support their ongoing cybersecurity efforts.
- Can maintain their cybersecurity program going forward.
- Achieved their security goals.
- Feel others will recognize their effort.
The 2019 competition was free to small businesses due to Wyoming sponsor companies. Those companies include Team Networks (Casper), Campbell County Health (Gillette), IECA (Casper), Ptolemy Data Systems (Sheridan) Sweetwater Technology Services (Rock Springs), EvnTec (Evanston), DigeTekS (Casper & Buffalo), First Federal Bank & Trust (Sheridan), Cheyenne State Bank (Cheyenne), Wyoming Financial Insurance (Rock Springs), and Lunavi (formerly Green House Data, Cheyenne).
“We couldn’t run the program without the support of these community minded companies,” said Baker.