BT launches Sydney cybersecurity centre

The BT cybersecurity R&D centre will provide more than 170 jobs across cybersecurity, machine learning, data analytics, big data engineering, cloud computing, and software engineering, the NSW government said.

Telecommunications provider BT and the New South Wales government have announced the launch of a global cybersecurity research and development (R&D) centre in Sydney.

The NSW government's Jobs for NSW invested AU$1.67 million in support of the centre, the state's Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said, with BT making a AU$2 million investment in capital infrastructure.

"This facility is a major boost for our economy, and will be a real-time nerve centre protecting large enterprises, industries, governments, and even nations from cyber attack," Kean said.

BT will also make a "multimillion investment" in order to employ cybersecurity specialists, Kean added.

According to BT, the cybersecurity hub expands on its already existing security operations centre (SOC) in North Sydney, and will provide 172 new jobs over the next five years, including 38 graduate positions.

"The hub is BT's first cybersecurity R&D facility outside of the United Kingdom, and will employ highly qualified cybersecurity specialists," BT said on Monday.

"The areas of expertise in the new hub will include cybersecurity, machine learning, data science analytics and visualisation, big data engineering, cloud computing, data networking, and the full life cycle of software engineering."

Kean said the NSW government -- which also invested in a startup hub in July, and handed out AU$10 million to incubators and accelerators and AU$3 million in direct grants to startups while providing AU$96 million to the Jobs for NSW initiative -- is hoping the centre's opening will attract and retain IT talent in the state.

"This operation will help keep Australia's best cybersecurity talent here in NSW, and nurture our next generation of specialists to ensure we remain a regional leader in this fast-growing industry," the minister said.

"I'm confident job opportunities offered by BT will also act as an incentive for Australian citizens currently working overseas to come back home and bring their highly valuable skills with them."

BT has 14 SOCs worldwide, which develop, provide, and deploy managed security services for customers across 180 countries.

BT had in May told ZDNet that it was undertaking much of its ongoing development on its new cybersecurity platform -- the Assure Cyber Platform system -- out of its Australian R&D arm.

BT's Assure Cyber Platform makes use of both a computerised element, which uses learning algorithms to sort through the data and learn from it, in addition to a human element in order to combine creative attention to detail with the "relentless efficiency" of computers.

"At least for now, you can't replace people," BT Global Services chief architect for Asia, the Middle East, and Africa Matt Allcoat told ZDNet at the time.

"People have an uncanny knack to spot odd things ... so we have a load of visualisation software that we put on the front of the data lake, and it allows human operators to literally visualise on big screens what this thing is."

BT at the time also took the wraps off its Dynamic Network Services portfolio comprising three offerings: Bandwidth on demand; on-demand virtual services; and on-demand software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN).

The first stage enables customers to turn up and down the speeds they're using at will under consumption-based pricing, BT said, which is aimed at aiding the increasing uptake of cloud solutions.

The second phase will see "purely virtual" products, cloud service nodes, and technologies launch by mid-2018, with such network services able to be switched on and off as and where needed by companies, and will be charged via hourly usage, BT told ZDNet.

The final piece of the puzzle involves provisioning on-demand virtual networks, with BT kicking off its SD-WAN suite with the release of Nokia's Agile Connect product, to be joined by Cisco intelligent WAN (IWAN) products in the future.

BT said it is able to extend its virtual networks not only over its own infrastructure, but also over the top of any other carrier.

To match these new network offerings, BT said it was focused on improving its security services.

Earlier this month, BT then announced its new cloud-based "business-platform-as-a-service" offering, which is aimed at speeding up the time it takes businesses to go to market with digitised services.

BT said the new platform, labelled the BT Personalised Compute Management System (PCMS), allows customers to access, purchase, and bring their own digital services to market within around 12 weeks.

It utilises BT's "cloud of clouds" solution, which connects customers to cloud collaboration apps, security services, third-party datacentres, customer datacentres, and third-party cloud services including Cisco, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, HPE, Salesforce, Equinix, Google, and IBM Softlayer.

PCMS contains a global catalogue of services with localised sales channels, allowing customers to buy online in their own currency, contract terms, taxation laws, and language, BT explained.

The platform currently has more than 45 digital business support processes, including customer management, product management, user authentication, order management, and billing solutions.

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