Australia’s Data61 teams up with UK’s CyLon to ‘accelerate’ cybersecurity

By Stephen Easton

Monday April 4, 2016

The CSIRO’s number-crunching arm, Data61, wants to make Australia a “regional powerhouse in cybersecurity” in partnership with Cyber London, a British start-up incubator focused on the growing field.

One object of the partnership is to “align Australian interests which can create the scale and momentum for development of a vibrant cybersecurity industry” according to Data61 CEO Adrian Turner (pictured, right).

The agency has signed an memorandum of understanding with Cyber London, which is described as “Europe’s first cybersecurity accelerator and business incubator” and has adopted the futuristic abbreviation “CyLon”.

The agreement will yield a new CyLon accelerator program based in Australia, education programs to improve “cyber skills and governance” as well as “reciprocal landing pads to enable cyber innovation to be showcased to both buyers and investment capital in each nation”.

Data61 states the purpose of the MoU is to facilitate the sharing of “expertise, resources and capital” to boost growth of the industry in both nations.

Not that the cybersecurity industry is small or lacking investment; it has become a new growth area for massive defence industry companies like another of CyLon’s partners, BAE Systems. What is does need is a pipeline of new and creative ways to counter the constantly changing approaches of threat actors.

The two organisations will work on “mutually reinforcing programs” over the next few months. One of CyLon’s founders, Grace Cassy, said the organisation was “delighted” to work with Australian state and federal governments “to build a regional powerhouse in cyber security” out of Australia’s industry.

Data61 says the partnership dovetails with the federal government’s upcoming Cyber Security Strategy, and the establishment of the new Cyber Security Growth Centre.

The project also has the support of the UK Government, which recently funded a £250,000 business accelerator program run by CyLon.

UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Board of Trade president Sajid Javid said Australia and the UK were “ideally” placed to work together on cyber security due to “shared history, values and co-operation around issues of security”.

“This agreement lays the foundation for more formal collaboration and will provide both Australian and UK companies with an enhanced environment for research, innovation and to accelerate the development of new cyber technologies and ideas,” said Javid, who was scheduled to visit Data61 in Sydney on Friday and take part in a Cyber Roundtable with senior members of the Australian Government and business leaders.

Instead, the minister was heading home early amid heavy criticism of his decision to travel to Australia rather than stay in the UK and deal with heavy job losses from a massive contraction of the nation’s steel industry.

Top image: UK Consul General Nick McInnes, left, with UK High Commissioner Menna Rawlings and Data61 CEO Adrian Turner.

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