AustCyber’s year in review by Michelle Price

AustCyber team

Wait, what? 2018 is ending?? But we’re only getting started!

What a massive 12 months! This year we have achieved significant wins in delivering our mission to help grow Australia’s cyber security sector. We proudly crank out the achievements every single week, which is why the team refers to an AustCyber week being equivalent to a month in many people’s book…it’s how the hashtag #allthethings was born and seeps into our language regularly.

So, what does 208 weeks (12 months) look like for AustCyber?

Blue Christmas tree

There were so many activities. Almost all of them delivered in partnership with a broad range of organisations in Australia and across dozens of countries around the world. We delivered an average of eight activities a week this year; this is in addition to achieving the big outcomes for the ecosystem.

A snapshot of the outcomes:

  • Released the 2018 Update to Australia’s Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan which, among many other new sets of data, for the first time put a cost on the skills shortage to our sector.
  • In partnership with CSIRO Futures and Data61, launched the Australian Cyber Security Industry Roadmap which takes the other high growth sectors of the economy as case studies for demonstrating the importance of cyber security to driving economic outcomes for all sectors.
  • announced almost $7 million in funding under our Projects Fund, one round in August this year and the other earlier this month, supporting 10 projects that will deliver national benefit.
  • launched a report with MITRE Corporation to support discussion on standards harmonisation, an area posing challenge to sectoral growth and maturity. We also released statements, a report on the outcomes of an industry survey with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a communique on the passage of the Access and Assistance Bill.
  • We are now working with over 280 Australian cyber security (#ozcyber) companies nationally, with dozens and dozens securing their first, second, third and in some cases, 15th contracts with our help. We support them to understand market opportunities and facilitate access to potential buyers, investors and strategic partners both at home and abroad. Who are they? Watch this space for our capability map, coming soon to a 2019 near you.
  • With the respective State governments, we added more Nodes to our growing National Network of Cyber Security Innovation Nodes. This year included NSW, SA and WA – with SA to be the first to be co-located with a Joint Cyber Security Centre.
  • With Austrade, we led the country’s largest ever cyber security trade mission to the United States, alongside the San Francisco RSA Conference. Almost 90 per cent of the 45 organisations that participated in the mission anticipate a commercial outcome as a result, including more than 25 per cent who see a $1.5 million or more increase in value to their business.
  • Also with Austrade, we led Australia’s first ever cyber security business mission to ASEAN, focusing on Singapore and Indonesia. With the Australian British Chamber of Commerce, we led the first fintech-cyber trade delegation to the United Kingdom. All delegations delivered companies with contracts, proofs of concept opportunities, follow-ups and/or expanded networks.
  • In June, we launched a pilot of CyberTaipan in partnership with Northrop Grumman – a national cyber defence challenge that puts teams of 12-17 year-olds in the position of newly hired IT professionals, tasked with managing the network of a small company. The National Finals for the pilot will be held in Canberra on 16 March 2019, with significant demand for a national rollout.
  • I am intensely proud that we facilitated a breakthrough, nationally-coordinated cyber security curriculum for Certificate and Advanced Diploma TAFE qualifications. This was the first time a TAFE curriculum on any subject had been coordinated at a national level. There is huge demand for course places as well as the grads, who have already started flowing into workplaces around the country.

Yes, that is just a snapshot.

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite – but if I had to pick just one thing from the year that makes me appreciate the position AustCyber has in the sector… seeing the #ozcyber companies that formed successful partnerships with each other from introductions we’ve done, having a multiplier effect on their market opportunity as a result. Amazing to witness and a privilege to be part of.

What’s next for us in 2019?

We turn two! New Year’s Day 2019 marks two years since we started operating. This has given us the excuse to check in on our business model, our operating infrastructure and our stakeholder engagement. We’ll be making sure we can better scale what we do, demonstrate the value we add and communicate outcomes to the world.

For mission delivery, we’ll be focusing on the national infrastructure we believe is needed to sustain growth in the sector for years to come. This includes formalising an end to end approach to the life cycle of an idea to exit/export; putting rocket fuel into our Innovation Nodes, including through cross-sector collaborations; launching a national program of cyber security challenges from primary school to all-ages (hint: I just announced something); and doubling down on market intelligence to support the ways companies access and achieve success with export opportunities.

I already noted a capability map of the ecosystem… We’re also designing a framework that will better measure growth of the sector, in all its breadth and depth. We’re working with some of the foremost experts globally on this and know we’re close to cracking some world-first metrics.

Then there’s everything within, in between and beyond our programs… #allthethings

Stop talking now… and rest (note to self)

Before I finish off:

  • we recently launched our new website – hop on, it is an information rich environment.
  • the Canberra team moved office, from the Nishi building near the ANU to Endeavour House in Manuka. Our Sydney office will relocate in early 2019, watch this space.
  • sadly, we said farewell to Mai Tran, my Executive Assistant and AustCyber employee #2. We wish her all the very best in her next adventure and know we’ll see her about, the cyber Kool-Aid is super strong. Contact Belinda Newham or me via / while we undertake the hard task of trying to fill the vacancy.
  • on matters of HR, we will be announcing a new recruit in January for a new position at AustCyber, the Chief of Ecosystem Development…
  • both AustCyber offices will be closed between 24 December 2018 and Tuesday 1 January 2019, inclusive. You can track our festive adventures in the usual cybery ways, but we’re hoping you get to brick your devices, even if it’s only for a little bit.

From me, the team and Cyber Roo, our very best wishes to you and yours this holiday season. It’s been such a big year in many ways, at times challenging but for the most part very rewarding. Twelve months ago, we thought we had achieved good things. This year, I know we’ve achieved great things. And we’re only getting started.