Case Study: Community Security Initiative of New York

NY Community Security Initiative

The Community Security Initiative of New York is a non-profit organization charged with improving the physical security of 2,600 Jewish organizations in the tri-state NY area. I was asked to develop the cybersecurity program for this very diverse collection of groups that spans from large Jewish Community Centers, health/social service providers, day schools, and synagogues.

In the beginning, I focused on providing cybersecurity audits to raise the awareness of cybersecurity risks and how to mitigate them. Later, I began a monthly newsletter to explain cybersecurity concepts in non-technical language, knowing that I would lose my audience if I descended into jargon.

Later, I started to provide cybersecurity training lectures to our organizations, recognizing that 80% of data breaches were caused by human elements in the organizations. As this program developed, I negotiated a contract with a major cybersecurity education provider to provide both education and phishing simulations to our member organizations.

In the course of my work ransomware victimized a number of these organizations and I was instrumental in consulting with them and aiding their recovery from the attack and making recommendations to further harden their sites against this and other malware attacks.

In late 2022, New York State initiated a Hate Crimes Grant program that offered funds specifically for cybersecurity purposes up to $50,000 per application. Our assessments were critical to the grant process and resulted in gaining $1.8 million in grants for our member organizations.

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