Optus Business injects AU$3.5m in cybersecurity research centre

Optus will provide AU$2.1 million in cash and AU$1.4 million worth of expertise for development and training to the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre over the next seven years.

Optus Business has announced that it will be investing AU$3.5 million into the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC), made up of AU$2.1 million in cash and AU$1.4 million worth of staff.

The Optus staffers will provide the CSCRC with cybersecurity expertise while they work on developing solutions and providing training and guidance "to help bridge Australia's cyberskills shortage" for the next seven years.

"Cybercrime is a persistent and growing threat. By working together, we can build an ecosystem to maintain a resilient, secure, and trustworthy cyber capability in Australia," Optus Business MD John Paitaridis said.

According to CSCRC chair David Irvine, the centre has received AU$139 million in commitments now, with this round the largest after it was launched by the government in September with an investment of AU$50 million over seven years following Australia's AU$240 million Cyber Security Strategy.

"Optus Business is one of 25 CSCRC industry, research, and government partners who are collectively investing more than AU$89 million to develop Australia's cyber capabilities," Optus added.

The industry-led CSCRC will initially focus on critical infrastructure security and cybersecurity as a service (CSaaS), Optus explained.

The telco has been focused on cybersecurity, a year ago opening its Advanced Security Operations Centre (ASOC) alongside Trustwave, offering managed cybersecurity services to enterprise and government customers.

Optus Business had added cybersecurity prevention, detection, and monitoring capabilities to its government and enterprise managed security services portfolio in September last year, with the solution running on the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform.

It additionally co-invested AU$8 million alongside La Trobe University in Melbourne in order to form a cybersecurity degree and digitise the university and its Sports Park, and similarly co-invested AU$10 million with Macquarie University in May to establish a cybersecurity hub that will provide research, degree programs, executive and business short courses, professional recruiting opportunities, and consultancy services to the private sector and government agencies.

In May this year, Optus also launched an online cyber education program for secondary school, university, and TAFE students in partnership with LifeJourney International.

The program provides free online courses, enabling them to experience a day as an Optus cybersecurity expert.

"Addressing cybersecurity continues to get more complex in the increasingly sophisticated threat landscape; it's a constant challenge for Australian organisations to keep up with the expertise, capabilities, and resources needed to stay ahead of all these threats," David Caspari, VP of Optus Business, said at the time.

"Having the right resources to analyse, decipher, and respond to cyber threats is critical and the significant global shortage of cyber in the workforce to meet these needs.

"To effectively combat today's cyber threats, we cannot do it alone. Industry, academia, and government must come together to share knowledge to comprehensively understand our cybersecurity defence in Australia."

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