Michigan State Senator Sean McCann has introduced Senate Bill 737, which would establish a 24/7 security operation center (SOC) for Michigan’s higher education institutions.

Sen. McCann said in the press release that the implementation of the SOC is intended to help public universities address the rapidly evolving threats that can damage and interrupt critical operations in Michigan. Specifically, the SOC would provide cybersecurity threat detection, prevention, and response capabilities for participating organizations.

“I am grateful to have worked closely with the Michigan Association for State Universities (MASU) on the development of this critical bill,” Sen. McCann said. “More and more, we are seeing institutions deal with escalating cyber-threats that could cause costly, dangerous, and exploitative damage to the critical operations of our higher education institutions and the sensitive information they maintain. This bill will create a constant hub to prevent, defend, and respond to cyberattacks on our public universities.”

If the legislation is passed, the Michigan Security Operations Center (MiSOC) would work with Merit Network, an independent nonprofit corporation governed by Michigan’s public universities, as the established network operator for higher education in the state of Michigan, to monitor and respond to network intrusions in novel and cost-effective ways.

Following initial implementation costs, Sen. McCann’s office said the SOC operational costs are expected to be funded with dues from participating members.

“The Chief Information Officers at Michigan’s public universities are very excited about the potential for one-time seed funding to establish a center that will serve as a national model for cyber-defense, research, and training,” said Rob Thompson, chief information officer and associate vice president for Computing and Information Technology at Wayne State University. “This state investment will protect privacy, prevent crime, and lower costs at public universities. Once the center is up and running, these vital cybersecurity services will be made available to public schools, community colleges, municipalities, and libraries throughout the state.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs