Tom Nurre Jr.
Angelo State University was selected to work with the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) to operate a pilot Regional Security Operations Center (RSOC) to provide cybersecurity support to Texas local governments. The DIR made the announcement in April.
“We are excited to partner with ASU in expanding cybersecurity services to on-premises facilities in the West Texas region,” said Amanda Crawford, DIR’s executive director and chief information officer for the state of Texas. “We have received exceptional proposals from several public universities in Texas, but ASU’s proposal has convinced us that they will hit the ground running and lay the foundation for the future success of this program throughout Texas.”
“Angelo State is proud to partner with the DIR on this initiative,” said ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr. “It aligns perfectly with our vision to be an innovative leader for the region, state and globe. This program will enable ASU to become a leader in the region and nurture a cyber/technology community of practice with a variety of units and groups, each with their own unique needs. Our primary goal is to develop a cybersecurity center of excellence that is not just a regional center, but one for the state of Texas as well.”
Senate Bill 475, passed in the 87th Legislative Session, created the RSOC to provide “boots on the ground” support to nearby local governments in need of assistance with major cybersecurity incidents. The RSOC will also provide network security infrastructure that local governments can use and provide hands-on experience for university students to empower tomorrow’s cybersecurity forces. The RSOC can also provide real-time network security monitoring; network security alerts; incident response; and cybersecurity education services. Eligible customers include counties, local governments, school districts, water districts, hospital districts, and regional state agencies.
DIR’s vision – codified by state leadership during the 87th legislative session – is to work with other public universities to establish additional RSOCs statewide to serve local institutions and protect the state from cyber threats. This vision aligns with a state-wide approach to cybersecurity that increases threat protection and cyber maturity across Texas through collaboration and partnerships.
ASU’s delivery strategy is to leverage existing cybersecurity academic programs at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Security Studies, Department of Computer Science and several other departments, as well as existing staff and infrastructure, to expand local expertise, expand ASU facilities and the Improve infrastructure and resources to expedite the establishment of the RSOC. ASU will also provide an ongoing pipeline of quality interns to grow the RSOC while students gain hands-on experience in offensive and defensive cyber operations and cyber intelligence support.
The RSOC initiative is also the second major cybersecurity project for which ASU has been selected. In August 2021, the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) at the University of Texas at San Antonio selected ASU to help pilot a new cybersecurity program in San Angelo that would eventually be deployed statewide to empower communities of every Greatness to help increase cybersecurity .
Funded by a $1.67 million grant from the National Security Agency, CIAS will work with multiple communities during the two-year grant, beginning with ASU and the City of San Angelo, to develop a community-wide K- 12 Cybersecurity Program to support local industry and government to become more resilient to cyberattacks, and support local academic institutions to develop cybersecurity programs for students by helping to create Centers of Academic Excellence.
As part of this program, ASU hosted the first City of San Angelo Youth Cybersecurity Workshop and Expo for middle and high school students in April – and co-hosted the community-wide event Concho Valley Cyber Security Roundup, featuring informative and interactive presentations for corporate, nonprofit Organizations, government agencies, healthcare facilities, schools, educators and seniors.
Tom Nurre Jr. is a news and information specialist in the ASU Office of Communications and Marketing.