by Paul Brady, Veronica Rogers, John McGarvey, Cian Collins (North-West Chapter Leads).
On the 5th November the Cyber Ireland North-West Chapter was successfully launched to provide a regional forum for the Cyber Security community and link with Cyber Ireland’s national activities. There were over a hundred attendees at the virtual event which is a great boost to the cluster and bodes well for future events.
The Cyber Ireland North-West chapter has been established to bring together industry professionals, academics and local government representatives in order to represent the needs of the cyber security sector in the North West of Ireland. The aim is to enhance the innovation, growth and competitiveness of all companies and organisations working in Cyber Security in the North West Region of Ireland.
To kick off the event Paul Brady, North-West Chapter Lead provided an overview of the focus areas for the chapter which had been identified based on feedback from key stakeholders in the region. The North-West chapter will initially be focused on three key areas:
- Networking & Collaboration
- Talent & Skills
- Awareness & Advocacy
Paul highlighted the great work happening in these areas in the North-West and provided some examples such as IT Sligo and LYIT’s track records in producing high quality graduates, significant employment in the industry in the region and a healthy meetup scene. Paul saw that forming the chapter was a great way to bring these activities together, highlight the good work that was happening and provide opportunities for networking and collaboration with other chapters and groups.
Dr. Eoin Byrne, Cluster Manager at Cyber Ireland and Paul Walsh, Site Lead McAfee, and Cyber Ireland Chair provided some insight into Cyber Ireland’s activities and thanked the North West chapter leads for their work in bringing the chapter together. Eoin also highlighted the importance of the regional chapters as a mechanism to bring stakeholders in the regions together, to identify and build on regional strengths and also to address specific challenges for the region.
Guest Speaker – Optum CISO
Allison Miller was the guest speaker for the event and joined us from Minneapolis. Allison serves as the Global Chief Information Security Officer and Senior Vice President for Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group.
Allison talked about the recent ransomware assault threats to the US healthcare system and the potentially profound effects that a cyber attack could have in healthcare. Allison talked about the importance of collaboration and communication in combating cyber attacks and the importance of groups like Cyber Ireland in bringing groups from industry, academia and government together to join the “global fight”.
The launch event also included a panel discussion with key stakeholders from the region which was moderated by Paul Brady, one of the North West Chapter Leads.
The panel discussion had representatives from industry and academia in the region and provided participants with the opportunities to ask questions. It was an interesting and engaging session focusing on what the current strengths and challenges are in the North-West.
While the internet has fostered a tremendous degree of economic and societal growth, it has also introduced profound security risks. Every facet of our society is now being targeted, and at every level, with reports of massive data breaches becoming commonplace and the increasing threats to undermine democratic processes. By 2021, the value of cybercrime damage is expected to hit $6 trillion (€4.85 trillion) annually according to Cybersecurity Ventures, a figure representing nearly 10 percent of the world economy. It is critical that this vital global industry is represented locally
The launch of the Cyber Ireland North West Chapter is an important leap-forward for the industry in this region. This innovative collaboration between Government, industry and academia, will serve as a platform for the industry here to continue to grow and compete globally. The establishment of this new cluster here in the North West and managed with the cooperation of local enterprise, academia and government bodies will help to ensure that this region and Ireland remains at the forefront of this fast-growing and strategically important sector.
If you missed the launch event, watch the replay on our YouTube channel <Watch it in Youtube>.
We look forward to seeing you at our next North West Chapter event!