Cyber Readiness Institute Partners with U.S. Department of Commerce to Help Countries in Central Asia Advance Cybersecurity and Digital Trade


NEW YORK, [July 11, 2023] – The Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) to build cybersecurity capacity and resilience for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and other organizations in the Central Asia countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. As Central Asian organizations join with the U.S. and other economies to advance digital trade in the region, governments and other stakeholders are working to build trust in their digital economies by developing the skills needed to operate securely.  

Since March 2022, CRI has partnered with CLDP to provide ten in-person and virtual cybersecurity workshops and training sessions Workshops and webinars have focused on cybersecurity fundamentals and raised awareness on CRI’s Core Four Issues: passwords, software updates, phishing, and secure file sharing. CRI has launched similar efforts in Australia and Hawaii.  

CRI and CLDP have now teamed-up and translated CRI’s Cyber Readiness Program and website into Russian. The Cyber Readiness Program and website resources will provide businesses, NGOs, universities, and government agencies in Central Asia with access to free resources to educate individuals about cybersecurity fundamentals. These cybersecurity resources also outline a practical set of behaviors and action steps that organizations can use and implement immediately to help avoid the most common cyber threats.  

“CRI is excited to work with the U.S. Department of Commerce to make our resources available in Russian-speaking Central Asian countries,” said Karen S. Evans, Managing Director. “Cybersecurity is a global issue in an interdependent world where companies rely on small businesses as critical partners.” 

The Cyber Readiness Program is a self-guided program that is available online and developed with input from leading security experts at global companies and feedback from SMEs. The program and accompanying CRI resources are focused on the role of human behavior in cybersecurity and are designed to be practical resources that are easy to understand and built for a range of organizations including SMEs and solo entrepreneurs.  

Cristen Bauer, Legal Advisor at CLDP, adds that, “cybersecurity is a vital building block of digital trade, and in order to build trust in this ecosystem, we must ensure that digitally enabled goods and services are reliable and secure. But the reality is that there are urgent cybersecurity challenges and capacity building gaps in Central Asia. It is essential that we bring practical, actionable cybersecurity solutions that people in Central Asia can implement right now. This is why we are delighted to partner with the Cyber Readiness Institute to make their cybersecurity resources available for organizations and individuals in Central Asia.” 

In March 2023, CLDP and CRI announced the launch of a Regional Cyber Champions Network for Central Asia, which is a multistakeholder network of cybersecurity experts, anchor institutions, and global partners who are working to strengthen cybersecurity resilience in the region. 

About CLDP 

CLDP is a legal technical assistance office within the United States Department of Commerce. Created in 1992, CLDP’s mandate is to work with emerging economies to improve the policy, legal, and regulatory conditions for trade, investment, and commercial activity. CLDP has been tasked by United States Department of State and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to provide technical assistance to facilitate trade and economic connectivity in and among the countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), and between Central Asia and other countries and regions of the world. CLDP’s work furthers the goals of the U.S. – Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and the C5+1 Diplomatic Platform. To carry out its task, CLDP facilitates regional and bilateral technical assistance and leads regional working groups on key trade issues, including one on Digital Trade. In early 2022, CLDP launched the U.S. – Central Asia Digital Trade Working Group , and the Group seeks to promote international best practices, remove digital trade barriers, and foster the necessary legal and regulatory environment that will allow digital trade to develop and thrive across the region. Areas of focus include, cross-border data flows, e-transactions, e-payments, e-signatures, cybersecurity, data privacy, e-commerce logistics, and digital tax. The Working Group meets regularly and has developed more than 35 regional digital trade recommendations. For more information, contact Cristen Bauer, Legal Advisor, and Melinda Zanner, International Program Specialist,  

About Cyber Readiness Institute 

Launched in 2018, the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) is a non-profit initiative that convenes business leaders from across sectors and geographic regions to produce free cybersecurity tools for small and medium-sized businesses. Its mission is to advance the cyber readiness of these SMBs to improve the security of global supply chains. CRI’s tools and resources focus on human behavior and emphasize employee education and awareness. 

The Institute is housed within the Center for Global Enterprise, a New York-based non-profit applied research organization. CRI was co-founded by former IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano and executives from Mastercard, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and PSP Partners as a follow-up to the work of the President’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity (2016). Member companies include Apple, Mastercard, Microsoft, and Principal Financial Group. ExxonMobil and PSP Partners are founding members that continue to support the objectives and programs of CRI.