COLLABORATION

RMIT gets Australia cyber ready with new centre

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One in three Australian adults were affected by cybercrime last year.

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has launched a new cybersecurity innovation centre, joining efforts nationwide to lift the country’s cyber resilience and prevent cybercrime.

The Cyber Ready Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) will be powered by Amazon Web Services and will focus on cloud-based cybersecurity solutions, enabling students to tackle real-world cyber issues with the latest cloud computing approaches.

“We are delighted the Cloud Innovation Centre will develop in-demand skills to tackle real problems, and most importantly, deliver proactive solutions to protect Australians and the global community,” RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said.

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Working within the RMIT Activator, a dedicated CIC team will connect students, researchers, government leaders and subject matter experts to solve cybersecurity challenges and boost Australia’s cyber resilience.

They will also work with experts across various fields, including RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, Health Transformation Lab and RMIT Online.

Students will receive opportunities to build actual prototypes that address cyber threats. Challenges will be defined by government, industry and the community, covering everything from cyber policies to training programmes, security protection and control systems.

The focus of their education will be on enhancing awareness, literacy, and enablement across three information security pillars – confidentiality, integrity, and availability. And the prototypes built will be made publicly available for the global community to access.

2019 has seen a record number of cybersecurity headlines in Australia, with up to 23,000 businesses reporting some kind of cybercrime. The latest national data show cybercrime affected one in three Australian adults in 2018, with cybersecurity incidents costing local businesses up to AU$29 billion every year. 

A major problem is the lack of cybersecurity talent in the country. According to the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network’s Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan, the country will need an additional 17,600 skilled cybersecurity professionals required by 2026.

In fact, the skills gap is already costing Australia more than AU$400 million in annual revenue.

RMIT hopes to help fill the gap with the new centre.

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“Working closely with governments, industry, and partners around the world, RMIT is focused on closing skills gaps and making a positive contribution to our communities in a time of constant change,” Bean said.

AWS Country for Public Sector in Australia and New Zealand Iain Rouse said the centre also enhances the firm’s long-term partnership with the university.

“Our experience in accelerating digital innovation through the global AWS Cloud Innovation Centre program will help the community deliver innovative projects to tackle cybersecurity challenges in Australia and around the world,” he said.

The Cyber Ready CIC will launch by mid-2020.

It will join a global network of Cloud Innovation Centres dedicated to accelerating public sector innovation that are also powered by AWS.

These include California Polytechnic State University Digital Transformation Hub, Arizona State University Smart City CIC, Munich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) Digital Transformation Lab, CODE University of Applied Sciences Better Future Lab, Sciences Po School of Public Affairs Public Innovation Lab, Busan Metropolitan City CIC, Swinburne University of Technology Data for Social Good CIC, as well as University of British Columbia Community Health and Well-Being CIC.