This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2017
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, 804-225-4260,

Governor McAuliffe and Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson Jointly Recognized as One of the SANS Institute’s 2017 “Difference Makers” Award Winners

~Award recognizes their work on cyber security~

RICHMOND – The SANS Institute has recognized Governor Terry McAuliffe and Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson jointly as one of their 2017 “Difference Makers” Award winners for their work on cyber security. The “Difference Maker” Awards have been presented annually since 2011 to those whose innovation, skill, and hard work have resulted in real successes in information security.

Since the beginning of his administration, Governor McAuliffe has been committed to improving cyber security across the Commonwealth. During his time in office, Virginia has expanded cyber security apprenticeships, created partnerships to strengthen cyber security employment, provided additional educational opportunities, and offered scholarships to Virginians across the Commonwealth. Additionally, under Governor McAuliffe’s leadership, Virginia partnered with the SANS Institute to offer CyberStart, a free online game that provides high school juniors, seniors, community college, and college students interested in a cybersecurity career, with a tool to learn basic cyber security skills and test their cyber aptitude.

“I am honored to receive this award and I want to thank the SANS Institute for recognizing the success we have achieved to make the Commonwealth a global leader in cyber security,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This sector is an essential component of the 21st century economy and Virginia is home to one of the highest concentrations of cyber professionals in the country. I am proud of my administration’s work to implement educational programs which will provide a pipeline of highly trained, industry-ready cyber workers who will continue to expand our footprint in this industry.”

“Since day one of the Administration, we’ve worked diligently to secure the Commonwealth'’ networks and build a comprehensive cyber ecosystem. It is an honor to have our work recognized by SANS,” said Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson.

“The leadership shown by Governor McAuliffe and Secretary Jackson was remarkable,” said Alan Paller, National Program Manager, U.DS. CyberStart and Director of Research, SANS Institute. “They were the catalysts enabling CyberStart to make the transition from the United Kingdom to the United States.  And their public education program created opportunities for 2,000 Virginians, both urban and rural, to demonstrate often hidden talent for success as cybersecurity professionals.” 

Learn more about the 2017 “Difference Makers” Award here.

About the SANS Institute:

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Its programs now reach more than 165,000 security professionals around the world. A range of individuals from auditors and network administrators, to chief information security officers are sharing the lessons they learn and are jointly finding solutions to the challenges they face. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners in varied global organizations from corporations to universities working together to help the entire information security community.