State and local governments have increasingly become targets of cybersecurity attacks. This year cybersecurity attacks on Baltimore and Lincoln County, North Carolina reportedly will cost those government entities $18.2 million and as much as $400,000, respectively to recover from the attacks. Last year, Atlanta spent more than $7 million to recover from a ransomware attack. A report by cybersecurity firm Coveware shows that governments paid almost 10 times as much money on average in ransom as their private-sector counterparts over the second quarter of 2019.

Recognizing this risk, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a new program to help cities and towns develop strategies to prevent cyberattacks. “The more capable the public realm becomes, the greater the challenges and the greater the risks associated with trust,” Baker said. “We need to do things to help.”

During the first Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week, at the state’s third annual Cybersecurity Forum capstone event, Governor Baker introduced an expansive cybersecurity program, including statewide workshops for municipalities to work together to enhance their cybersecurity capabilities, which will be lead by the MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative.

Governor Baker discussed the “smart” future – a world of smart buildings, autonomous cars and smart communities that is not too far away, and emphasized that states and municipalities need to be prepared. “We have a long way to go in the public sector to digitize our assets. I don’t think that’s a really big surprise to anybody in this room,” Baker said at a recent State House event, addressing a group of 200 executives from the private, public, and R&D sectors.

Baker’s Cybersecurity Program complements a similar program led by the National Governors Association (NGA), announced in July, in which the NGA will collaborate with cyber-related state agencies to help improve cybersecurity strategies in the public sector across the nation. Massachusetts was one of seven states selected by the NGA for the first phase of this program, to help develop an action plan and identify key priorities in cybersecurity.

Cyberattacks continue to be a major risk for private companies as well. Coveware reported that the average size of private companies targeted by ransomware in the second quarter of 2019 was 925 employees. . McAfee Labs reported that ransomware attacks grew by 118% in the first quarter of 2019. Government entities and private companies alike should conduct risk assessments to develop appropriate security measures to protect them from the risk of cyberattacks.

This cybersecurity program is just another example of how Massachusetts continues to lead the way for other states on privacy and security matters. Check out other Massachusetts initiatives discussed on the blog:

 

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Photo of Michael R. Bertoncini Michael R. Bertoncini

Michael R. Bertoncini is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He practices labor and employment law, with a particular emphasis on labor relations, employment law counseling and litigation, and data privacy and security law.

In labor relations matters…

Michael R. Bertoncini is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He practices labor and employment law, with a particular emphasis on labor relations, employment law counseling and litigation, and data privacy and security law.

In labor relations matters, he regularly counsels clients on the practice of positive employee relations, negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of organized clients, represents clients in labor arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board proceedings, and counsels clients with respect to rights and obligations under collective bargaining agreements and applicable labor and employment laws. He also has extensive experience in advising organizations responding to corporate campaigns and negotiating neutrality agreements.

Mr. Bertoncini’s privacy and data security practice focuses on advising clients on complying with HIPAA and other state and federal privacy and data security laws. He regularly reviews and develops policies and procedures, written information security plans and integrated compliance programs to assist clients in meeting their obligations under privacy and data security laws. Mr. Bertoncini has represented clients in investigations of alleged data breaches and advises them on their reporting obligations in the event of a data breach. He also conducts workplace training programs on HIPAA compliance and related privacy and data security topics.

Before joining Jackson Lewis, Mr. Bertoncini was Deputy General Counsel for a hospital system that is the largest fully integrated community care organization in New England. He was responsible for all of the system’s labor and employment law matters, and was involved in its acquisition by a private equity firm as well as its growth from six to ten hospitals in a twelve-month period. His three years as in-house counsel for this large health care system give Mr. Bertoncini a keen understanding of the impact of labor and employment law issues on clients’ business operations.

In addition to his labor relations and privacy experience, Mr. Bertoncini has extensive experience in conducting internal investigations and counseling clients on whistleblower and retaliation matters, as well as negotiating executive agreements, both employment and separation agreements. Mr. Bertoncini also represents clients in the litigation of employment matters. His litigation experience includes matters before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. He has appeared before United States Courts of Appeals and District Courts, Massachusetts and New York state courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Mr. Bertoncini is a frequent speaker and trainer on labor and employment law topics for various organizations including Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Council on Education in Management, Lorman Education Services, the Boston Bar Association, and several chambers of commerce.

While attending Boston College, he received the John A. McCarthy, SJ Award for the most distinguished Scholar of the College thesis.