Macquarie University and Optus will jointly launch a new $10 million cyber security centre to tackle the critical global shortage of peopletrained to protect information technology and communications systems.
Managing director of Optus Business John Paitaridis said about half a million more cyber security jobs needed to be filled worldwide and most organisations lacked the expertise to tackle a cyber security breach.
Macquarie and Optus will each contribute $5 million to the new centre, called the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub, which will provide training (including degree courses), undertake research, offer consultancy services and act as a cyber security think tank.
Mr Paitaridis said Optus, whose parent SingTel last year purchased the US cyber security firm TrustWave for $810 million, intended to grow its cyber security workforce.
He said it was a key strategic priority for Optus, as well as for the whole information industry. Each cyber security breach in an organisation cost an average of $3 million, with an estimated annual cost of half a trillion dollars globally.
The new centre will offer executive programs and short courses in the field, as well as building it into degree programs.
“Cyber education is a top priority for the industry,” Mr Paitaridis said.
David Wilkinson, Macquarie University’s deputy vice-chancellor for corporate engagement and advancement, said there were huge job opportunities in the field.
“If anyone asked me what is the profession of the future, top of the list would be cyber security. I can’t think of an industry or an organisation to which it’s not relevant,” he said.
He said that, for the university, it was much more than a computer science issue. It also had economic and behavioural dimensions, and was linked to the university’s existing expertise in security and defence studies, intelligence, policing and criminology.
The university will draw on academic staff from various disciplines for the new centre, including science and information technology, business and economics, and security studies and criminology.
The Optus workforce will use the centre to build their skills. The company said it would also offer this opportunity to its enterprise and government customers.
Professor Wilkinson said Macquarie university planned to offer the services of the cyber security hub to other business and government organisations.
It was working on a membership structure for groups to join the hub, with each level of membership carrying a certain level of benefits.