New UK deal will boost cybersecurity talent across APAC, says MDEC's Dato Yasmin

The UK's GCHQ security courses will help drive the security sector as a key enabler for Malaysia's 'Year of the Digital Economy' 2017.

By AvantiKumar
Dec. 8, 2016


Image (CIO) - GCHQ


As the security sector is being eyed as a key enabler for Malaysia's 'Year of the Digital Economy' 2017, national ICT agency MDEC has formed a deal with the UK's Protection Group International (PGI) to develop cybersecurity capacity in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region.

Under agreement, PGI will help set up a cybersecurity academy, called UK-APAC Centre of Security Excellence, in Malaysia, said Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, chief executive officer of Malaysian Digital Economic Corporation (MDEC).

She signed the agreement in Bristol (6 December 2016) with PGI chief executive officer Barry Roche in the presence of UK and MDEC representatives, as well as Malaysian cybersecurity companies and entrepreneurs.

The formation of the UK-APAC Centre of Security Excellence was made possible through the Department for International Trade's (DTI) Malaysian office and is the first cybersecurity academy within the Asia Pacific region.

The PGI and MDEC partnership will also help generate awareness and strategies to regularly promote bilateral cybersecurity research and investment opportunities, said Yasmin.

Yasmin - CEO MDEC

Photo - Dato' Yasmin Mahmood, CEO, MDEC

GCHQ training

PGI will help to develop the Academy's cybersecurity courses, programs, infrastructure and resources and also draw on its own curriculum of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) Certified Training courses, training materials and expert trainers to conduct pilot programs and oversee the development of local trainers to be experts.

These accredited GCHQ training courses will provide further assurance that cybersecurity staff are trained and can operate at the UK standard, said Yasmin, adding that this will also benefit UK cybersecurity companies investing in Malaysia, said Yasmin.

"Seeing PGI's workforce conversation training in action has been extremely interesting and insightful," she added.

PGI was opened in September 2014 by the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, now the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to help tackle the global cyber skills shortage. Since then, PGI has trained more than 1,000 cyber specialists from 21 countries, and developed tailored courses and programmes for government, police and armed forces clients as well as senior management, mainstream IT specialists and entire workforces from corporate to critical infrastructure clients.

Cyber skills gap in APAC

PGI's Barry Roche said: "Studies show that up to 2 million cyber security jobs will be unfilled by 2019 unless there is a step change in the numbers of new people entering the cyber security profession."

"PGI set up its Cyber Academy to play a major role in identifying and training new entrants, reskilling those seeking to change careers into cyber, and continuing the professional development of the cyber security workforce," said Roche, expressing delight with the Academy's potential in the Asia Pacific region.

"PGI has the expertise to ensure that the UK-APAC Centre of Security Excellence can play a similar role in creating much-needed cyber security professionals in Malaysia and the broader Asia Pacific region," said Yasmin.

"Learning from their ability to convert IT staff into front line cyber security professionals will be pivotal to our cyber development," she said, adding that Malaysia's recent Budget proposals have pointed to 2017 as the 'Year of the Digital Economy.'

"Partnerships with PGI will help to sustain the resources required to address the demand for more cybersecurity professionals in Malaysia," said Yasmin. "We look forward to growing UK-Malaysia ties to close the cyber skills gap across the region."

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