The Cyber Readiness Institute introduced Apple as a new co-chair Tuesday, the first time the non-profit small to medium-sized business cybersecurity advocacy group has announced a new co-chair since its founding in 2017.

CRI provides educational tools and toolkits for SMBs who often lack the resources or understanding of modern cybersecurity defense. They partnered in past projects with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, where previous CRI managing director Kiersten Todt was recently named chief of staff.

Apple joins founding co-chairs Microsoft, MasterCard, PSP Partners and the Center for Global Enterprise.

Center for Global Enterprise president Chris Caine, who is currently heading the search for Todt's replacement, said he had "no doubt that our work with them will bring to us new areas of attention for us to look into, as well as for them to look into," though specific new projects had not been discussed.

Instead, he said, the most immediate impact of the Apple announcement might come from the public awareness it would draw to the need for SMBs to pursue cybersecurity.

"It makes a very strong statement that the premise of CRI is both meaningful and relevant to the marketplace and the environment we find ourselves in today regarding cybersecurity," he said. "That's number one. Number two. It dramatizes that we have organizations who have a wide reach, who have authority in the area, and want to evoke change among small and medium businesses, to make them more secure and make them more trusted members of global value chains."

CRI has expanded its services over the last year to include a certification program for cyber leadership, as well as a pilot program in cooperation with the state of Hawaii to train businesses to handle the Department of Defense's new cybersecurity standards for contractors.