Data61 and AICD announce joint commitment to lift cyber literacy

CSIRO’s Data61, the largest data innovation group in Australia, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) have announced a joint commitment to collaborate on lifting the digital and cyber literacy of directors and boards across Australia.

The parties have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which aims to create stronger and more secure organisations by facilitating a better understanding of cyber security by boards, appropriate risk management, the required investment and the opportunities for innovation that come with it.

Over the coming months Data61 and AICD will develop a cyber security education and training program to enable directors and their organisations to grow and innovate with confidence – based upon the information principles of confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.

The program will focus on corporate governance and its application to the way people interact with technology and each other in a quantifiable and repeatable manner.

This collaboration will be transformative and enhance the creation of highly-skilled company directors equipped to influence economic growth and community prosperity, while protecting enterprise assets from intentional theft or accidental loss.

It is anticipated that, as a result of the program, directors will have the opportunity to:

• identify implied and express obligations as directors or officeholders of an organisation;
• identify the value of information to the organisation in terms of business opportunity and risk;
• identify a target state of assurance to address business risk and opportunity;
• identify the current capability of the organisation to protect and leverage its valuable information and determine an appropriate path to sustainability;
• develop a quantifiable programme for continuous organisational improvement.

Adrian Turner, CEO at Data61 said cyber security was a significant board-level issue and a significant issue for the country.

“Australia is facing a major challenge as a result of digital disruption and our changing economy. CSIRO, and with it Data61, are focused on preparing the country for these changes. This MoU is a key example of how we’re collaborating with business to address these challenges and use our science and tech knowledge to help Australia stay competitive and prosper in the future.”

“Directors globally have expressed concern at the rapid pace of digital change, increased cyber threats, technical jargon and associated risks as limiting their ability to appropriately fulfill their duties. It is the board’s responsibility to drive innovation and strategy which will flourish with positive leadership, a coherent strategy and proactive information governance,” Mr Turner said

“Advances in information and communications technology (ICT), are enabling greater accessibility, mobility, convenience, efficiency and productivity across almost all aspects of Australian life – with  national security, economic prosperity and social well-being now dependent on ICT and digitally-driven transformation. Whilst this heightened era of digital productivity and accessibility has created infinite opportunity, it has concurrently created new threats and vulnerabilities in the creation, storage and utilisation of information.

“These threats are significantly more than just cyber security related; they also extend to the accuracy, integrity and availability of information that is critical to both real-time human, and automated decisions that affect our nation and people. There is a need for leadership to better understand the cyber threats and opportunities in our connected world.”

John Brogden, MD & CEO at the AICD said, “Cyber security is one of most significant and growing issues facing boards so it is critical that directors remain up-to-date with this rapidly developing area.

Data61’s collaboration with the AICD is an important step in ensuring that directors are fully equipped to deal with any matters their boards are likely to encounter.”

“This collaboration will complement initiatives in the Australian Government’s Cyber Security Strategy for a strong and resilient private sector enabled by skilled cyber-literate members at every level of an organisation,” Mr Turner said.


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