News & Analysis

Data61 collaborating with Australian Institute of Company Directors to improve cyber literacy of boards

- April 26, 2016 2 MIN READ

Data61 has announced a collaboration with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the organisation in a bid to ameliorate the cyber literacy of directors and boards around Australia.

With the government stating in the launch of its Cyber Security Strategy last week that leadership from the top is key, Data61 and the AICD will look to develop a cyber security education and training program to enable directors to “grow and innovate with confidence” based on the principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.

Adrian Turner, CEO of Data61 and joint chair of the government’s Cyber Security Growth Centre, said cyber security is a significant board-level issue, with a board’s responsibility to “drive innovation and strategy which will flourish with positive leadership, a coherent strategy, and proactive information governance.”

“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,” he said.

“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 Brodgen, managing director and CEO of the AICD, added that the partnership is an important step in ensuring 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,” he said.

Among others, the program aims to give directors the skills to identify the value of information to their organisation in terms of business opportunity and risk, identify the current capability of their organisation to protect and leverage valuable information and determine a path to sustainability, and develop a quantifiable program for continuous organisational improvement.

The collaboration between Data61 and the AICD, which represents 35,000 members, is a key move from corporates signalling they are interested in catching up on tech.

While Turner recently told Salesforce’s World Tour that “[Australia is] playing checkers while the world is playing chess,” he believes serious corporate and government attention on the space means there is a huge opportunity over the next three to five years to make up lost ground.

Programs like that to be developed by Data61 and the AICD will be key to making this happen, with a recent survey of Australian business executives from General Electric finding that while the majority are excited about the possibilities of innovation, just 32 percent feel their organisation is performing “very well” at quickly adapting and implementing emerging technologies and fostering innovation.

Image: Adrian Turner.