What to know about Gov. Walz’s “Cybersecurity Awareness Month” proclamation:

The Quote: Tarek Tomes, Commissioner of Minnesota IT Services

“There is a shared responsibility between the teams that protect state systems and the people who access them to keep those connections secure. MNIT works hard every day to protect the systems that Minnesotans rely upon, and October is a time when we can share best practices to help everyone understand how they can keep themselves safe.”

Read the full details in the news release below. Release has been edited for length.

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Saint Paul, MN – On October 1, 2020, Governor Tim Walz proclaimed October 2020 “Cybersecurity Awareness Month” in the State of Minnesota. The proclamation, in conjunction with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, recognizes that the need to create secure environments, protect Minnesotans’ private data, and practice good cyber habits is a constant priority in our increasingly digital world. Cybersecurity is one of the most critical functions that Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) provides in the executive branch, and it functions best when everyone, individual citizens and our state agencies, works together.

“Now more than ever, Minnesotans are making digital connections online to socialize, work from remote locations, and take classes and trainings,” says Commissioner of Minnesota IT Services, Tarek Tomes. “There is a shared responsibility between the teams that protect state systems and the people who access them to keep those connections secure. MNIT works hard every day to protect the systems that Minnesotans rely upon, and October is a time when we can share best practices to help everyone understand how they can keep themselves safe.”

The State of Minnesota works with citizens and private sector partners along with state, federal, and local units of government to help secure Minnesota’s IT systems. Throughout Cybersecurity Awareness Month, MNIT will share cybersecurity tips on social media to generate public awareness about staying safe online. MNIT will also educate state employees about cybersecurity best practices and reporting procedures through an internal messaging campaign.

“One of the critical messages for Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October is to consider all of the devices that you need to protect,” adds Rohit Tandon, Chief Information Security Officer at MNIT. “Our cyber environment at the state includes the devices, systems, software, and so much more. In your home, you should ensure that any technology or device that connects to the internet is secure with a strong password, protected connection, and regularly updated software.”

While October is the dedicated month for cybersecurity awareness, MNIT places a year-round priority on protecting state data. Find more information about how MNIT secures the state on the agency’s public website.