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Two new initiatives announced by MDEC to strengthen Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem

Two new initiatives announced by MDEC to strengthen Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem

Last month, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC),
the lead public sector agency for driving the digital economy in Malaysia, announced
two strategic initiatives under the MDEC Talent programme, Platform for Real
Industry Driven Project Exchange (PRIDE), to strengthen Malaysia’s
cybersecurity ecosystem.

Three partnership agreements were signed by MDEC with the
UK's Protection Group International (PGI), the
Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU), and security solutions provider Tecforte.

A cyber training academy will be built at APU, which will be
a replica of part of PGI’s UK Cyber
Academy
. It is aimed towards increasing the numbers of Malaysian cyber
security professionals through training and certification, as well as  act as a regional training centre, reskilling
people and supporting programmes across the Asia-Pacific region.

The Academy will host the UK Government Communications
Headquarters (GCHQ) certified Security Operations Centre-Incident Responder
(SOC-IR) as the first showcase of the Centre in academic institutions to
encourage practical skills building and enhance students' employability to the
cybersecurity industry.

PGI is contributing
to the pilot by installing some of its Cyber Training infrastructure at the
academy. PGI will deliver the GCHQ certified SOC-IR training to around 70
Malaysian delegates in four sessions.

The trainees will primarily be university lecturers (Premier
Digital Tech Institutes of Higher Learning), Malaysia Managed Security Services
Providers (MSSP), Government agencies (such as Cyber Security Malaysia), and
Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) enterprises. PGI will also
train two Malaysian trainers so that the new facility will be self-sufficient.

In addition, PGI has committed to sharing knowledge and best
practice and provide ongoing support and advice to MDEC’s efforts to build
Malaysia’s cyber security industry.

In December 2016 MDEC's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Datuk
Yasmin Mahmood led a mission to the UK, resulting in three signed agreements
with PGI, Future Cities Catapult and the University of Salford to develop and
upscale cybersecurity skills capacity in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region.
This also further strengthened bilateral digital industry ties with the United
Kingdom.

HE Vicki Treadall
CMG MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, said, “In June
2016, the UK and Malaysia signed an MoU to jointly promote the adoption of
digital economy solutions. Our tech partnership has since grown in breadth and
depth, extending to new areas of cyber security and smart cities. The
partnership formalised today adds a new dimension to our collaboration as we
see the UK tech industry and Malaysian academia joining hands. I am confident
that the programme will help address the gap in cyber skill set necessary for
the development of the tech sector, as well as encouraging cyber research
between the UK and institutions in the region.”

Mr Sebastian Madden
from PGI said, "Today's agreement with MDEC and APU is a
significant step towards establishing a Far East version of PGI's Cyber
Academy. It will act as our regional training hub and provide an alternative
delivery option through which all our international clients can access PGI's
high-quality, UK government certified, cyber security skills training. We are
very excited about the potential for this partnership, which plays a major role
in the PGI Cyber Academy's international expansion. We are proud that our Cyber
Security training will play a role in bringing economic benefits to Malaysia by
enabling its digital economy and helping it's talented young graduates access
well-paid cyber security roles around the world."

Datuk Dr Parmjit
Singh, CEO of APU who witnessed the agreement received by Professor
Ron Edwards, Vice Chancellor of APU, commented, "APU is mindful of the
need to rapidly develop a sustainable talent pool to meet the immediate
cybersecurity talent shortage, I am happy to that the University will also host
the live SOC learning platform to drive and facilitate more quality research
and innovation development."

Meanwhile, Tecforte launched its Community Outreach Program,
ELITE (Elevating IT Education), Cybersecurity Education Program in Malaysia in
partnership with APU. ELITE aims to provide University students with
industry-like experience in cybersecurity operations to ensure career readiness
and employability.

Through the ELITE initiative, an on-campus security
operation centre (SOC) will be set up, using Tecforte’s Security Information
& Event Management (SIEM) technology. Students will receive hands-on experience
in performing real-time security monitoring, fortifying network defence with
global threat intelligence, and launching faster and more accurate response on
cybersecurity incidents in Cybersecurity Operations Center by June 2018.

These new initiatives re in line with national Digital
Economy objectives and are expected to enable the local cybersecurity services
companies' capabilities to expand to the ASEAN cybersecurity services market.

During the official document exchange ceremony held at APU, MDEC Chief Executive Officer Datuk Yasmin
Mahmood cited the strong growth potential of ASEAN’s digital economy which could
add US$1 trillion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next 10 years.
Malaysia’s own digital economy has been contributing nearly 18% of the country’s
GDP. However, rising cyber threats and risks could impede trust in the digital
economy and affect its resilience.

Rapid technological evolution is making threat monitoring
and response more difficult, especially with the rise of encryption, multi-cloud
operations, proliferation of the IoT and the convergence of operation
technology (OT) and IT.

"In addition, the increase in trade, capital flows and
cyber linkages across ASEAN countries imply that the cyber threat landscape
will generate even greater complexity in the future, further escalating the
region’s cybersecurity challenge," added Datuk Yasmin explaining the
rationale for these two new initiatives.

"This is a market driven continuous innovation
strategy, focusing on collaboration between industry, academia and government,
to deliver the relevant outcomes for Malaysia's Digital Economy journey. These
moves will help to identify gaps and pilot critical skillset development within
academia, and up-skill cybersecurity industry talent to produce high income
professionals," concluded Datuk Yasmin.

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