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by David Braue

Government policy paying off as IBM joins Australia’s cybersecurity-centre rush

Jun 28, 20163 mins
Data and Information SecurityGovernmentInternet Security

The Coalition government’s strategy of private-sector outreach continues to pay off as IBM Australia becomes the latest in a string of companies establishing dedicated Australian cybersecurity centres to support their global cybersecurity efforts.

The new IBM National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), to be housed in Canberra, will be led by established cybersecurity expert Kevin Zuccato – a cybersecurity consultant who previously spent 30 years with the Australian Federal Police in areas including organised crime, fraud, and money laundering including a role as director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre and subsequent positions as Assistant Commissioner Intelligence and Assistant Commissioner Support Capability.

The company’s investment in the new centre – one of a dozen such sites globally – will bolster its growing team of 7000 security specialists, which includes the X-Force Research cybersecurity team.

IBM’s security team will also help drive what the company calls “a shift from cyber hygiene to cyber resilience and enablement” – code for a more proactive cybersecurity posture that combines global threat sharing, technology partnerships with IBM’s existing Gold Coast-based Australian Security Development Lab, and involvement in 24/7 emergency-response teams that provide rapid response to new developments as they happen.

“Robust cyber security defences are crucial to the future success and prosperity of the Australian economy,” IBM Australia and New Zealand managing director Kerry Purcell said in a statement. “To capitalise on digital innovation, we must ensure our digital infrastructure is secure and continuously evolving to stay ahead of today’s highly organised cyber criminals.”

The NCSC will provide “a destination for government and organisations to proactively collaborate on strategy and policy,” he continued. “The NCSC will drive a culture of innovation and openness, essential if we are to tackle this growing issue for every organisation.”

IBM’s investment has been “directly aligned with the agenda” set out in the Coalition government’s Cyber Security Strategy, which was launched earlier this year as a multi-pronged effort to unite public and private-sector cybersecurity resources to jointly raise the bar for cybersecurity practice in Australia.

The announcement comes just days after NEC Australia launched its own cybersecurity centre in Adelaide, investing $4.38m in a Global Security Intel Centre that will consolidate the broad cybersecurity skills that company has built up over years providing a range of managed services to a range of government agencies.

Those investments follow similar recent commitments from other security vendors, including cybersecurity investments from the likes of Symantec, CSC Australia, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Victoria’s Oceania Cyber Security Centre, and the federal government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

“To overcome the growing volume and sophistication of cyber attacks, and the global shortage of skilled security professionals, organisations and government need to partner, draw greater insights from data and share information,” Zuccato said in a statement. “I look forward to working with IBM, our clients, partners and government to build Australia’s cyber security resilience.”