RIT to get funding from Google for cybersecurity program
Rochester Institute of Technology is getting help from Google to train students and provide cybersecurity services for local community organizations.
RIT already does research and provides degree programs in cybersecurity, and now the university will receive $500,000 in funding from Google to train new cybersecurity professionals while also providing services for the public good.
RIT is the first university to get support from a $20 million Google Cybersecurity Clinics fund that Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced last June.
Maab Ibrahim is the cybersecurity lead at Google.org, which is the web search company’s philanthropic organization. She said RIT’s cybersecurity clinic will deploy teams of students to provide free assessment services and other resources to nonprofits, small businesses, school districts and other organizations that she said could be devastated by a cyberattack.
“Hospital systems and emergency response systems getting taken offline, and of course, local governments, this is really disruptive to everyday student life, but also to these community organizations who are in need of so much support,” Ibrahim said.
She said this program aligns with Google’s goals.
“Cybersecurity is key to everything we do,” Ibrahim said. “It's built into Google's products from day one. And this initiative is just one way for us to ensure that community organizations are also receiving the types of protections that we as a company believe are incredibly important for our users.”
RIT President David Munson said the local university likely was picked first for this program in part because of its long association with Google.
“I think RIT was somewhere at the top of the list because we’ve actually had the longest-standing degree program in cybersecurity in the nation," Munson said, "and we’re very well-known for educational programs, increasingly well-known for our research programs, and then the creation of this ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute has really put us on the map.”
Ersin Uzin, executive director of RIT’s cybersecurity institute, said the expansion of their cybersecurity clinic through the Google partnership “will give students real-life experiences and an opportunity to sharpen their skills while also helping their community.”