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Champlain College Cyber Consultation Expansion

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $756,000)

The Champlain College Cyber Consultation Expansion (CCE) project will utilize currently employed and newly hired students throughout the spring, fall, and summer terms at the Champlain College Leahy Center for Digital Investigation to assess and help protect the data of up to 30 new clients throughout Vermont over the next 36 months. Champlain College’s Leahy Center will use this funding to work with statewide and local organizations such as municipalities, schools, nonprofits, and small businesses with the mission of reducing their risk of data breaches and exposure to cyberthreats while also training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

        Throughout the nation, the frequency of cyberattacks is on the rise. Budget-constrained organizations like municipalities, school districts, nonprofits, and small businesses are unprepared and underfunded to keep pace with these threats, which leads to more successful attacks that result in the exposure, exploitation, and costly recovery of valuable information. These attacks range from illicit grade changes by students to fraudulent bank transfers to ransomware breaches where the attackers get to name their price for a decryption key.

        For many small departments and agencies, the cybersecurity systems, practices, and policies were set years ago and are contained in legacy systems that are known to contain numerous vulnerabilities. Additionally, these small organizations do not have the budgets to hire and maintain cybersecurity companies or professionals to protect the data they house. Even for those entities with larger budgets, the nationwide supply of cybersecurity experts falls far short of the demand making it difficult to find and hire such talent. Core to the mission of the CCE project is preparing future generations of cybersecurity experts for this exponential growth industry. Further, it is critical to the Vermont economy to attract students to stay in Vermont post-graduation, as we deepen our cybersecurity roots in Vermont. Utilizing teams of students led by expert cybersecurity faculty and staff, the Leahy Center will assess risks and vulnerabilities, make recommendations, and help implement necessary changes to ensure the security of these organizations and the valuable data they are entrusted to protect and provide valuable training to the nation’s future cybersecurity professionals in the process. Outcomes additionally include converting a third of the new clients served to paying clients, ensuring sustainability of the project beyond the term of the grant.

Date Created: July 26, 2022