AustCyber Projects Fund - Cybersecurity Skills and Technology Accelerator

On 3 August 2018, Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, announced seven industry-led projects were being funded under the first round of AustCyber Project Fund.

The AustCyber Projects Fund is a $15 million, three-year initiative designed to help the Australian cyber security industry grow and take ideas global. Over the last 12 months, AustCyber has provided $6.5 million in funding across ten projects that are making a real contribution to growing Australia’s cyber security ecosystem. In 2019, an additional $8.5 million will be awarded to fund industry led projects that deliver on the goals of the Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan.

Fifth Domain was awarded a project to the value of $1,094,228 to produce a learning management system in partnership with the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), the Australian National University (ANU), and Nova Systems that enables education organisations, students and employers to collaborate in developing the cyber security workforce of the future.

Fifth Domain integrated the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) skills framework into the FifthDomain online cyber-rang platform’, so that students can train in cyber security operations. ANU’s Bachelor of Information Technology Cyber Security major and CIT’s Certificate IV in Cyber Security were analysed against the NICE framework.

FifthDomain upgraded the platform to be capable of measuring student’s cyber security skills against a comprehensive skills framework developed by the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The project gathered metrics by mapping the Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Tasks (KSATs) to the learning objectives defined by the two courses which has demonstrated how well the courses align to the framework’s cyber security work roles.

The project delivered a cyber security training in simulated workplace pilot on real technology to entry level technicians. The project delivered on:

  • Construction of a Training Security Operations Centre (SOC) - a simulated work environment that is standalone and able to provide real work conditions for testing of products and the training of SOC operators, and SOC analysts.
  • Created opportunities for training at the entrant level into the cybersecurity for large and small organisations.
  • Accelerated the training of cybersecurity personnel
  • Training large numbers of existing and entrant employees
  • Creating real work opportunities with on the job training
  • Provide a location for government and prospective clients to test startup and existing cybersecurity technology without affecting business practices.

This project delivered benefits to the Australian cyber security sector, with the most important being assessment of the cyber security workforce and students through a globally recognised skills framework. This consistent approach will enable industry to baseline and define their workforce requirements and education providers to develop effective curricula.

Learning pathways for the existing and future cyber workforce will be clearer as training and education is mapped against defined work roles. Clarifying the wide range of roles and skills needed to have a career in cyber security has provided much needed simplification. This will not only encourage more people to consider joining the cyber security workforce, including those considering re-skilling or moving to a different industry, but will also provide a level of granularity that will allow them to self select the most suitable role for their abilities.

This capability could collect the same data and provide the same insight at a national or even global scale given a large enough user base. In an era of data-driven decision making, the global state of cyber security skills has the potential to shape not only cyber security education but also national policy, professional services, and technology development.

The solution to create a real work environment for the cyber security industry is underpinned by the experience Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) has developed through delivering training for industry across all sectors for 90 years in the ACT and region.

This project demonstrates FifthDomain as a leader in cyber security education, training and technology. FifthDomain continues to work with the project partners and AustCyber to continue to develop the cyber professional required for today and into the future.