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Cyber Security Vision for Ireland - “The Engine and the Ecosystem”



Cyber Security Vision for Ireland

“The Engine and the Ecosystem”.


The Vision is to make Ireland a global, cyber security leader with skilled talent, technological innovation and research that will provide a safer, digital environment by utilising tomorrow’s skills today, for the benefit of all our Citizens.


This will improve many aspects of Irish life, most importantly: an economy secured by design, with new and resilient jobs in digital business, manufacturing, operational technology, the environment, online safety and regulation. The collaboration of organisations in academia, research, government and especially indigenous industry will enhance our self-determination and democracy.


It is vital that we enhance our technical capacity to preserve and protect the State we have created. Research, innovation and skills development interconnected to industry, all feed into this goal of Ireland’s independence from a cyber security standpoint.


Leveraging indigenous technology and skills through collaboration is the cornerstone of this Vision.

By treating Ireland as a shared island, it will also contribute to further improving community relations and National Defence.


Each of these three pillars of national cyber security need continuous reinforcement, namely:

1. People and skills

2. Infrastructure

3. Regulation


Work in Progress

Participation

Participants in this process need to be conscious that the work in progress is for the greater good of Citizens, the Country and its global ambitions.

The current components underpinning the Vision are shown below, already happening, others will materialise as more people participate:

  • Cybersecurity Awareness for All - in every organisation, workplace, association, club and charity.

  • Cyber Skills – defined by the latest version of cyber frameworks and identifying the needs of both cyber companies and general business.

  • Learning and Development – that complements college courses and is accelerated, dynamic, developmental and leads to filling the gaps and career progression.

  • Supporting local businesses – meeting the needs of SMEs and supporting indigenous software and service companies, through;

    • Risk Management

    • Software Research & Development

    • Security Operation Centres

    • Cybersecurity as a Service

    • Adopting the Circular Economy Philosophy.

  • Primary and Secondary School Students – cyber education at school and through youth groups, coder dojos and encouraging careers from an early age.

  • Cyber Reserve – creating the Irish version of a reserve force drawn from all sectors that can be called up, to deal with the increasing threat levels.

  • Job creation – building on all of the interconnected components to create jobs for the unemployed, career changers and those who would like to move into a career in cyber from their current employment.

Learning & Development

Significant planning and training work has started with the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE) in Dundalk. The plan is to provide both Cyber Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) training on site and online. The target audience is the public sector, manufacturing and SMEs. This audience needs support and typifies the under-declared demand across the entire country.


This initiative brings some of the component activities above together and starts the Engine for the cybersecurity ecosystem.


Future plans include the following training activities for;

  • Students - primary, secondary and college

  • Manufacturing and SME Employees people who need to improve their businesses security position

  • General Employees who are interested in careers in cybersecurity

  • Unemployed people who are interested in careers in cybersecurity

  • People who would like to make a career change

  • Organisations who are keen to shape the cyber skills future


Training Security Operation Centre (TSOC).

A key part of the AMTCE plan is to provide a Training Security Operation Centre (TSOC). The Centre will use indigenous cybersecurity solutions. It can provide skills training services to local organisations. This Centre will be the first of its kind in the Republic.


Other Education and Training Boards (ETB)

Initial conversations have started with several ETBs around the country who have expressed an interest in the work in Dundalk.


Updates

Since the first drafting of this document and after the Think Tank meetings held in Leinster House, there has been progress. Several of the suggested topics in this document are already running and operational.


  • AMTCE - the Cyber Awareness programme has started. The official launch for their Cyber Programme has been set for 15TH June, with a full PR campaign.


  • Cyber Workshop has been held in Drogheda with representatives from Enterprise Ireland, Chambers of Commerce, Skillnet Ireland and IDA. Brokers Ireland ran on 3rd May a webinar and other events were planned with Dublin Chamber, German Irish Chamber, FinTech Corridor and University of Galway and the local Chamber.


  • The EU Cyber Solidarity Act and the Cybersecurity Skills Academy have been launched. The Act brings forward concrete measures that will allow the EU to respond to threats and attacks; and the Academy aims at reinforcing our skills base so that we have the people we need for this purpose. Further initiatives include the establishment of a Cyber Reserve and Public/Private Security Operation Centres (SOC). These are all considered as part of the European Cyber Shield. This aligns well with the Vision and will be a useful source of future funds with Government support.


  • An initiative in collaboration with National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is planned in the future to perform a risk assessment on all Irish organisations starting from government departments to the private sector. The risk assessment aims to have a better idea about the cybersecurity posture of entities by looking at their publicly exposed digital assets. NSSC to act as facilitator using the results and work on mitigation/remediation actions to start strengthening the national cybersecurity posture and resiliency. Needless to mention that the indigenous technologies will play essential roles in this work package.


Future Collaboration

The collaboration within the ecosystem will involve the following entities but is not limited to:

  • AMTCE, Dundalk

  • Dundalk Institute of Technology

  • Technological University Dublin

  • Technology University of Shannon

  • Enterprise Ireland

  • Fintech Corridor

  • IDA

  • MTU

  • 4Securitas

  • Edgescan

  • Meptagon

  • TCS

  • Cyber Ireland

  • Chambers of Commerce

  • Queen's University

  • National Cyber Crime Bureau

  • Defence Forces Cyber Security Centre

  • Northern Ireland Cyber

  • National Cybersecurity Centre

  • South East Technological University

  • Operational Technology (OTSec) Group in EngCORE research centre in SETU

  • Skillnet Ireland

  • Zero Days

Friends in the International Cyber Community.

A quick summary of those organisations who would support the improvement of the Irish ecosystem is worth capturing. In recent months, the following organisations have volunteered support and materials.

  • ENISA, Estonia – access to cyber ranges and training handbooks.

  • CCDCOE, Estonia - access to cyber ranges.

  • Agenise per La Cyber Sicurezza Nazionale, Italy - strategy and materials

  • Cybexer, Estonia – access to cyber ranges and materials.

  • Boston College – US insights and development of cyber education for finance and insurance. They have links to all of the US Federal agencies and CISA.

  • Infosec UK – training materials and links to the Department of Work and Pensions.

  • CompTIA UK – certification for new materials and access to their Cyber Reach programme.

  • MoD UK – access to Veterans Programmes.

  • Cyber Leadership Institute, Australia.


Conclusions

This Vision of creating one single initiative where everything moves in cooperation within the ecosystem, strengthens the nation's cyber posture and the economy. Public money will be spent in a more structured manner. It reduces isolated groups being funded without having a clearly aligned strategy, the fund must persist and survive in time. The Engine should become the orchestrator of the public funding structure.


The ultimate objective of this initiative is to increase; cybersecurity skills, public awareness, support job creation and the indigenous cybersecurity industry by creating an interconnected ecosystem.


Ultimately, the outcomes will feed into a Government Cybersecurity Strategy plan and become the base of the national cybersecurity action plan and framework.


Finally, it is our key objective to make Ireland a global leader in the cybersecurity field.


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