Collaboration is Key to Strong Cyber Security Framework in Australia

Collaboration is Key to Strong Cyber Security Framework in Australia

by February 21, 2017

Experts who attended the inaugural National Fintech Cyber Security Summit share the view that collaboration between Australian authorities and the private sector would build a strong information protection industry locally.

With cyber threats growing more damaging and more sophisticated, it is imperative that the industry should reduce dependency on overseas providers for the protection of Australia’s critical information.

Held by CSIRO’s Data61 and fintech hub Stone & Chalk, in conjunction with partners KPMG and the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC), the summit seeks to address cyber security issues within Australia.

The summit’s objective was to also provide an opportunity for the fintech industry to take the lead in cybersecurity innovation and to open up dialogue between research, government, industry and startups.

It also opens up collaboration opportunities for the purposes of establishing a fintech cyber security capability in Australia.  The summit follows the  ustralian government’s cyber security strategy, formally announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in April 2016.

Cyber security

Cyber security, source Blue Coat Photos via:

Mr Turnbull intends to establish a fintech-led cyber innovation hub that incubates innovative tech start-ups focused on addressing current and future cyber security challenges.

A report titled Startup Secrets: How Australia Can Create New Businesses with Fintech and Cyber Security Industry Collaboration and produced by the organisers of the summit, added that with both supply and demand-side organisations helping to create and nurture cyber startups, there is opportunity to collaborate on commercialisation projects.

These include high potential startups and scale-ups in the immediate term and research organisations for the longer term.

“Cyber security doesn’t have geographic boundaries. It is a team sport and we need to pull together and lift the scale of our ambitions to create an industry and work faster. Let’s pull together, aim higher and work faster,” said Adrian Turner, CEO of Data61.

One way the industry can collaborate is for corporates to create their own innovation programmes to include startups.  However, corporates have challenges interacting with startups because there is a culture of “you think you are ready”.

While there is a strong desire to work with them, the corporation is not set up to engage with these startups in a concerted way by identifying a problem and helping with a solution.

This sentiment is shared by Daniella Traino, Cyber Security Business Lead at Data61, who believes corporates must recognise the many ways to collaborate and not be so internally focused.

“Partner with incubators and research and development organisations to create solutions and problem definitions together,” she says.

She further noted that organisations can innovate internally, but they often spend a lot of money doing this and are prone to failure.

The commercial success of financial services would encourage the cyber security indstry, said experts. According to Stone & Chalk’s Alex Scandurra, it would be worthwhile considering what elements of cyber security can be considered a common platform that can be used across industries, rather than trying to compete for resources Australia doesn’t have.

With the skills shortage, universities can play a big part, such as training future cyber security experts, engineers and business leaders, said Ben Rubinstein, senior lecturer with the Department of Computing and Information at the University of Melbourne.

The industry could also utilise university research and development capabilities. Large companies, particularly in financial services, require advanced research across cryptography, blockchain technology, quantum cryptography, and machine learning and data science, said Rubinstein.

The National Fintech Cyber Security Summit is Phase One of a three-phased program to help develop Australia’s cyber security industry. Phase one was completed in May with the inaugural National Fintech Cyber Security Summit.

For phase two, a national fintech and cyber security design challenge will be held. The design challenge will seek to attract leading cyber startups and researchers from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Phase three, the final phase, will be the launch of the Cyber Security Innovation Lab where startups and researchers can work alongside larger corporate and government organisations to create and commercialise new ideas in cyber security and fintech.