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DTMB hosts roundtable discussion with White House National Cyber Director Harry Coker, Jr., K-12 schools to promote cybersecurity

LANSING, Mich. – On April 16, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) convened a roundtable discussion with White House National Cyber Director Harry Coker, Jr., state cybersecurity professionals, and members of Michigan’s K-12 education community to promote cybersecurity and discuss ways to better protect local districts’ digital environments.

The event was designed to provide Director Coker with an opportunity to talk to K-12 representatives about the issues they are facing when it comes to cybersecurity, as well as learn more about the efforts underway in districts across Michigan to keep school and student data safe. The event also helped raise awareness in Michigan of no- and low-cost tools available to local and intermediate school districts to improve their cybersecurity posture, particularly protective domain name service (PDNS), a critical and easy to use cybersecurity service made available at no-cost to public schools.

“I’m pleased to be in Michigan because the Biden-Harris Administration understands the unique threat on K-12 school districts. Today, it has been tremendously valuable to hear from those on the front lines about their challenges first-hand and to share the many resources available to them from the federal government and our partners,” said Director Coker. “It is absolutely necessary that we shift the responsibility of defending cyberspace off the shoulders of schools and school administrators and onto organizations that are best positioned to reduce risk. We are here to help - help schools with resources that can provide protection in the short-term and help alleviate the larger challenges that put them at risk in the long-term.”

According to an annual report published by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), the complexities of shifting between in-person, virtual, and hybrid schooling have been met with an increasingly complicated and evolving cyber threat landscape, where K-12 schools have become primary targets of cyber threat actors. Yet the study found that 81% of K-12 survey respondents said they struggle with a lack of sufficient funding to adequately tackle cybersecurity.

“We see K-12 schools as one of the most targeted sectors across the MS-ISAC for the data they hold and the known resource constraints they have,” said Karen Sorady, vice president of MS-ISAC Strategy and Plans, Center for Internet Security. “It’s a pleasure to join with the Office of the National Cyber Director and the State of Michigan to broaden awareness among this critical infrastructure subsector of the resources available to help them increase their cybersecurity posture.”

DTMB is aiming to connect schools with available state and federal resources through the Cybersecurity Resource Hub online at The hub features resources for the K-12 community, as well as for resources aimed at keeping students and parents safe online.

“Cybersecurity is a team effort, and our number one priority is keeping our networks and data safe, secure and private,” said Laura Clark, chief information officer for the State of Michigan. “We are grateful to Director Coker and our federal partners for taking the time to travel to Michigan and talk one-on-one with our K-12 community. We have to work together to collectively strengthen our defenses when it comes to combatting the threat actors exploiting our digital environments.”

Additional resources currently available to K-12 schools

  • PDNS from the MS-ISACMalicious Domain Blocking and Reporting (MDBR) is the MS-ISAC’s no-cost PDNS offering. It is a cybersecurity service made available at no cost to U.S. state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) government organizations, including public K-12 schools, that is highly effective in preventing computers from connecting to known malicious sites online. MDBR can be implemented in an organization’s IT environment in less than 15 minutes.
  • Cybersecurity services offered by the MS-ISAC – The MS-ISAC offers free membership to public K-12 schools and districts, which allows members access to numerous other no- and low-cost services to assist in securing their IT environments. Learn more about joining the MS-ISAC ..
  • Cyber Advisory Services Program (CASP) – CIS is offering a new program, CASP, for under-resourced SLTT organizations, including K-12 schools, that provides access to cybersecurity experts for the purpose of helping these organizations navigate the challenges of cybersecurity and enhance their cyber posture.
  • CIS industry page for educational institutions – CIS has launched a new page on to guide educational institutions, including K-12 schools, in meeting the various challenges they face—aligning common pain points with available solutions and cybersecurity best practices.


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