Things are looking good for Australia's cyber security strategy

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Things are looking good for Australia's cyber security strategy

[Blog post] AISA abuzz with chat of what the future holds.

If last week's AISA national conference was anything to go by, the Australian government appears to have properly listened to stakeholders during its review of the nation's cyber security strategy.

It is now readying departments to assist in bringing together individuals, industry and government to make Australia safer, secure and a centre of global innovation as it prepares to release the strategy publicly.

That’s the key message I took from the annual AISA conference last week, which this year had a theme of 'trust in information security'.

The theme hit home with the audience, which spent most of the conference chattering about the imminent policy publication.

Lynwen Connick, first assistant secretary of cyber policy and intelligence at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, gave a sneak peek into her role in the policy review.

She covered most if not all of the topics that the Communications Alliance, AISA, AIIA and ISACA outlined in their submissions to government throughout the consultation period.

Issues raised included the need for businesses to focus on basic cyber hygiene, such as having a functional and reactive patching process; as well as, in my opinion, the real issue at hand: creating a foundation of education and professional development that can be recognised globally to try and address the skills shortage that we face here in Australia.

These two elements of strategy - getting the basics right and making the professional marketplace for security experts comparable to other jurisdictions such as the US, UK, Europe and Canada - will make sure aspirations of building Australian into a global innovation hub can be met.

The targets are set high by government, and without the solid foundation that cyber security provides, it may well present itself on the global stage as a house of cards, something that could tumble down under the strain of sustained cyber attack.

A key aspect to becoming that global hub for innovation - a pet interest of our new Prime Minister - is that we are trusted and trustworthy to manage data, build robust and dependable systems and ensure availability of services that are not affected by simple cyber security issues that should be managed.   

The fact that Connick highlighted basic cyber hygiene as an issue just weeks after both Kmart and David Jones were hacked due to apparent lack of patching their ecommerce platform shows how on point she is.

Connick wrapped up by arguing the only way for us to get started on this journey to a more secure future is to raise awareness about cyber issues everywhere in Australia.

User education is the key to slowing down the rise of successful breaches, an epidemic that is now reportedly costing Australians over $1bn in ID theft every single year.

Again, by transforming into an active agent of change within the Australian security marketplace and taking real ownership of these problems, AISA can develop into more than simply a networking organisation.

I came away from the conference excited for what the future holds. I heard firsthand that the Australian government has listened to consultation and is willing to cooperate with industry and individuals on making the changes needed to raise us up as a global player.

We now wait with bated breath to see the publication of the new cyber security policy and from there, the real work starts.   

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Tony Campbell
Tony Campbell has been a technology and security professional for over two decades, during which time he has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, published technical books and worked as a technical editor for Apress Inc.

He was was the co-founder of Digital Forensics Magazine prior to developing security training courses for infosec skills.

He now lives and works in Perth, where he maintains a security consulting role with Kinetic IT while continuing to develop training material and working on fiction in his limited spare time.

Read more from this blog: Unpatched

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