Western Sydney University will receive $745,920 of funding from the federal government to establish the Cybersecurity Aid Centre, to train and support small businesses with cyber incident response. Funded through the Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Grants Program, the centre will be located in Parramatta and led by Western Sydney University, in partnership with four leading NSW cybersecurity businesses: Secolve, Emergence, Gridware and DCEncompass.
The project will enhance cybersecurity resources through the development of a Cyber Suite and Toolkit for Small Businesses — a hotline for assistance with cybersecurity incidents. The project will also integrate applied support with learning and skills development for Western Sydney University students. The training centre will provide cyber incident response support for small businesses experiencing data breaches, ransomware or email business compromise, and will host training seminars throughout NSW.
Liberal Senator for Western Sydney Marise Payne said the Cybersecurity Aid Centre will enhance businesses’ security and cyber capabilities, which will help ensure Western Sydney’s economic prosperity and development as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This latest investment is part of the Australian Government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 and complements our $1.2 billion Digital Economy Strategy, which will be part of this year’s Federal Budget 2021–22,” said Payne.
Project lead Professor Alana Maurushat said the centre will deliver new programs to upskill small and medium enterprises and students with the latest skills in the technology and psychology of cybercrime. Professor Maurushat added that the centre will enhance cybersecurity knowledge and capacity across Western Sydney and will provide a hub for industry and students to connect and learn from each other.
“Tackling cybercrime is a high priority. Businesses need a resource centre that will help them when a cybersecurity crisis arises, as well as help to build resilience and awareness around cybercrime and the kinds of behaviours, technologies and change management practices they need to adopt to protect themselves,” said Professor Maurushat.
Cybersecurity expert and Secolve CEO Laith Shahin said the initiative is an example of industry partnering with the education sector to support local businesses.
“Using industry expertise to upskill students is one of the most effective methods of combating the growing incidence of cybercrime, and to raise awareness among business of the resources available to assist them in mitigating and preventing cyber attacks,” said Shahin.