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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

Leading the Way in Cybersecurity

Ransomware. Cyber bullying. Phishing. Hacking. Data leakage. You don’t need to be an expert in cybersecurity to know that as technology advances, so do the risks to our businesses, our personal identities and finances, and our children.

95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error, and the average cost of a data breach is over $4 million. Damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

The statistics are frightening. As South Dakotans, we treasure our way of life, including the freedoms and conveniences we have in an interconnected world. And our way of life must be protected. I am glad to report that South Dakota is leading the way in cybersecurity.

State entities such as the Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Fusion Center and the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications (BIT) work daily with our federal partners to evaluate threats that affect South Dakotans and our businesses and ensure that information is properly disseminated. Locally, through our collaboration with the Office of Consumer Protection, we inform, alert, educate, and assist our citizens in all matters related to cybersecurity.

But we need to think even bigger. When I first became Governor, I said that I wanted to help bring the next big industry to our state. With the threats that our state and our nation face from cybercriminals, I know that cyberresearch is that industry. And we have a huge advantage over other states because we have Dakota State University (DSU).

For decades, DSU has focused on making their computer science and cybersecurity programs among the best in the nation. The school offers a special focus on the development, application, implications, and impacts of computing, information technologies, and cybersecurity in all areas of our lives. These programs are producing graduating classes of well-qualified cyber professionals that are being tapped by leading intelligence agencies and federal contractors. DSU is also home to the Madison Cyber Labs (MadLabs), a cyberresearch and development hub that explores and advances technology applications, workforce development, business expansion, economic growth, and policy improvement.

DSU is one of America’s most technologically advanced universities, and we are investing $90 million in state, local, and private dollars to equip DSU to expand their cyber programs even more. This funding will allow all South Dakota high school students to take cybersecurity classes for college credit, double the number of computer science graduates coming out of DSU, and build a second cyber lab in Sioux Falls. This new lab will attract high-profile, top-secret defense contractors and create hundreds of jobs for our graduates – which will come with a starting salary of $100,000.

Our priority is not only to give our kids the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century marketplace, but also to create jobs that allow them to stay in South Dakota after graduation. No one should have to choose between a great job and the way of life South Dakota has to offer, and with these historic investments in the cybersecurity industry, our kids won’t have to.