26 February 2018 | by Laura Sehl


Collaboration is Key: Developing the International Cybersecurity Workforce

Adam P. Henry is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales Canberra and an Australian chapter lead for the Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance (CWA). He will be speaking at CyberNB’s CyberSmart Summit 2018 to share Australia’s cybersecurity workforce development agenda.  Canada and Australia are similar global cybersecurity ecosystems, creating a great opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other. CyberNB spoke with Henry to discuss his hopes for the outcomes of the upcoming CyberSmart Summit.

CyberNB: What is the role of the ACCS and what type of activities are taking place?

Henry: The ACCS is the largest interdisciplinary research centre for cybersecurity research and teaching in Australia. We have nearing four years of operation under our belts. The Centre drives new paradigms in educating the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and researchers.

CyberNB: What kind of cybersecurity training is available through the ACCS?

Henry:  The Centre offers key education and training programs ranging from professional development courses to Ph.D. level degrees to develop the cybersecurity workforce.

At the undergraduate level, the Bachelor of Computing and Cyber Security delivers an important balance between the “hard” skills of programming, system and networking management, and the “soft“ skills of teamwork, communication, problem-solving and decision making. ACCS offers five unique Masters Degrees in cybersecurity and two Ph.D. programs, providing subjects not offered elsewhere in Australia. Our courses provide a more extensive range of topics than at most leading Universities overseas.

CyberNB: How closely does the ACCS work with the national government of Australia?

Henry: The ACCS has been involved in key government working groups and initiatives by providing policy and strategic advice. In November 2017, the ACCS held the inaugural Cyber Security Education International Academic Conference and Public Policy workshop supported by the Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Public Policy Workshop included leading industry and government experts working together to try to solve key cyber issues. This type of engagement and collaboration with Government is essential to developing solutions to cybersecurity issues.

CyberNB:  How does the ACCS manage to draw together the many different disciplines at the University of New South Wales to discuss cybersecurity?

Henry:  Cybersecurity is all about collaboration and cooperation, it intersects all areas of our lives and the different disciplines within the University recognize the importance of this. Areas such as the University of New South Wales Law faculty benefits from the expertise of Engineering, IT and Humanities, and vice versa.  The ACCS builds on close working relationships with both domestic and international industry partners and government, including UNSW’s unique half-century relationship with Defence.

CyberNB: You were recently at the NICE conference in Dayton, Ohio. Why did you attend that particular conference and what did you learn at that event?

Henry: The NICE conference was an opportunity to see firsthand the developments in cybersecurity education in the United States. I participated as an Adjunct Lecturer to develop relationships with stakeholders and hear from industry experts.

The NICE framework builds on about 10 years of effort, consultation and expertise in the development of work roles and the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s) required. Australia has not yet developed effective framework to base both educational and work role requirement.  The framework effectively demonstrates that many of University degrees currently do not link to the required KSA’s of most required work roles. I would like to see the NICE framework implemented in Australia, as there are many benefits to both the cybersecurity ecosystem and the economy.

CyberNB: We appreciate your willingness to travel around the world to attend the CyberSmart 2018 Summit in Fredericton, New Brunswick! The summit theme this year is international collaboration in cybersecurity workforce development. Why do you believe international collaboration is important in developing the cybersecurity field?

Henry: Thank you for the opportunity! I think international collaboration is essential to solving this global issue. You just have to look at cyber incidents like WannaCry last year to see how it affects all corners of the globe. We need to work together in all aspects of cyberspace, especially addressing the skills crisis and workforce development issues.

CyberNB: What are some of the key messages you hope delegates will take away from what you will share about your work at the centre?

Henry: First, I hope delegates will understand the importance of academic research and collaboration with public and private partners. Second, I hope to provide an understanding of some of the nuances involved in developing a cyber workforce and the necessity to align tertiary cyber courses to industry requirements.

CyberNB: What do you hope to take away from attending the CyberSmart Summit?

Henry: I look forward to hearing about other nation’s experiences, both successes and lessons learned. We need to learn from each other and adapt together. The speaker list is great and I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

CyberNB is a Special Operating Agency of Opportunities NB.

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