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New Workshops at the MSU SBDC Cybersecurity Center

With COVID-19 ongoing, many have had to increasingly rely on digital methods to store information, communicate with employees, and conduct their work. Whether this means more reliance on computers at the office or at home, businesses have opened themselves to countless new security risks.

To help ease the burden on small and growing businesses, the Mississippi Small Business Development Center has partnered with Mississippi State University to create the MSU SBDC Cybersecurity (SCS) program. The Director, Dr. Drew Hamilton, will oversee the project and the Team Lead will be Chip Templeton who is also the Director of the MSU SBDC. Also assisting in the project are DeMarcus Thomas and Melissa Hannis. They are offering a wide variety of services, workshops, and training materials to help small businesses find their footing in a delicate new environment, including business counseling.

“The core of our program is to build knowledge with our clients,” Templeton said. “The best way to solve a problem is to make sure it doesn’t have to happen in the first place.” Clients can register for business counseling with the MSU SBDC Cybersecurity team regarding a variety of topics. Common threats such as ransomware, phishing, email spoofing, and brute force attacks are just a few of the topics the staff at MSU SBDC Cyber Security is happy to help train small businesses in combating.

Following the North Star CCM from the ASBDC, the national association for small business development centers in the U.S., Templeton’s team will be using the Cybersecurity Maturity Model as a focus in much of its training and instruction. The model consists of five levels, correlating to the sensitivity of information and the rigor involved in protecting it. With each level, we will instruct companies in a total of 171 practices that can be used to strengthen the safety of their data.

For those looking for immediate hands-on instruction, MSU SBDC Cyber Security is currently hosting a series of workshops to help teach businesses the principles of CMM level 1. Workshop dates and times can be found at

“By letting businesses come to us,” Templeton said, “we hope to reduce the risks that can come with investing in cyber security.”

Obtaining effective cybersecurity, especially in the highly online environment the pandemic has put businesses in, can come with an overwhelming amount of choices and directions.

Different issues can call for different solutions, and making the wrong decision can lead to more money being spent down the road that could go to other parts of one’s business. Through thorough education in the various aspects of cyber security and individual counseling, MSU SBDC Cyber Security hopes to make these decisions safer, easier, and more effective for small businesses throughout the state.