University joins forces with tech giant for major cyber initiative

University joins forces with tech giant for major cyber initiative

RMIT and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have launched an innovative new centre to build Aussie skills for cyber resilience.

The Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) program – a global initiative powered by AWS, brings the expertise of public sector organisations together with the innovation and technology resources of the US tech giant.

According to the Australian Government’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy discussion paper, cybercrime affected one in three Australian adults in 2018, with cyber security incidents costing Australian businesses up to $29bn every year.

The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network’s Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan also highlighted Australia’s skills shortage, with an additional 17,600 skilled cyber security professionals required by 2026.

‘A positive contribution to our communities’

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said the CIC will tackle these challenges by connecting students, researchers, government, and subject matter experts who will collaborate to identify solutions.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

AWS Country Director for Public Sector in Australia and New Zealand Iain Rouse said the agility and scalability of the cloud presents “almost limitless opportunities” for educational institutions address these real-world challenges.

“Innovation is in our DNA, and today, AWS is powering some of the most exciting innovations in the education sector locally and globally,” Rouse told The Educator.

“As we move towards an increasingly digital economy, there is a pressing need for governments, businesses, and citizens to have access to solutions to keep data secure”.

‘Meeting the growing cybersecurity challenge’

Rouse pointed to data from the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network’s (AustCyber) Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan which also highlighted Australia’s skills shortage this year.

“We need an additional 17,600 skilled cyber security professionals by 2026 to meet the growing security challenge that comes with more devices coming online every day,” Rouse said.

Rouse said that in addition to addressing Australia’s cyber resilience and skills shortage, RMIT’s AWS-powered Cyber Ready CIC aligns with the Australian government’s goal of being a smart cyber nation by 2025.

“Through the RMIT CIC, AWS and RMIT will build and train Australia’s future workforce to address the cyber security skills gap and develop cloud-based security solutions to build the nation’s cyber resilience,” he said.

“This will see us connect industry, government, researchers and students to deliver cloud-based solutions that utilise emerging technology to protect Australians and the global community”.

Beyond technology, Rouse said CIC’s have access to some of the methods used across Amazon to drive innovation.

Rouse said AWS’ “working backwards process”, in which the company starts with the desired outcome and then builds the steps it needs to take to get there, provides CIC’s with a unique ability to gain new perspectives when considering challenges, and to “think big” when solving problems.

“This launch reaffirms AWS’s commitment to growing the CIC program all around the world, enabling valuable collaboration opportunities among public sector organisations, where the common language is using cloud technology to innovate and respond to real-world challenges,” he said.