To help cultivate cybersecurity leadership in Australia, cybersecurity accelerator CyRise has teamed up with the Australian Information Security Association to launch an invite-only network and peer-to-peer education program.
CyRise Elevate will target chief information security officers and equivalent industry leaders who are willing to share their experience as well as learn from their peers. This is to help provide the tools, information sharing, and support cybersecurity leaders need.
As part of Elevate, participants will join a ‘Tribe’ of six to eight members with similar tech stacks, from companies at similar stage of growth, and bound by similar regulations. Tribes are meant to facilitate “in-depth discussions and high-trust conversations” on a monthly basis with larger collective meetings between several tribes, which will take the form of half-day sessions with experts.
One of the first collective meetings will be held in mid-October during the Australian Information Security Association’s cyber conference in Melbourne.
Members will also have the opportunity to engage in virtual question and answer sessions with industry veterans. During the 10-month pilot program, participants had the chance to speak with former Netflix vice-president of information security Jason Chan, LinkedIn chief information security officer, and Linktree chief information security officer Daniel Grzelak.
The 12 participants that began on the CyRise Elevate pilot program are scale ups. Participants must pay an annual membership fee with prices only disclosed on a one-to-one basis. New members may apply through referral from an existing member or through directly contacting CyRise at email@example.com.
CyRise chief executive officer Scott Handsaker hopes to create a “high trust vendor-free environment” for cybersecurity professionals who want to “get better at their jobs, and get better faster”.
“When we’re assessing people as to whether they’re a good fit…we don’t allow vendors in. So if you’re selling cybersecurity solutions, then you’re not a fit for this program. For example, if you were a CISO and you suddenly left to go to a vendor, then we would be clear upfront that you will probably need to go away from the group because it’s not worth it for you,” Mr Handsaker said.
Mr Handsaker says the Elevate program will help to bridge this skills gap by focusing on the education and training of Australians.
“I think we have amazing talent here in Australia. I don’t think it’s a matter of having to go overseas to find that security leadership. I certainly think we have it here,” Mr Handsaker said.
“The priority for CyRise Elevate is to help home grown cybersecurity professionals succeed at the highest levels, with greater support and a strong performance culture. If Australia wants to be known as a leader in the tech sector, we need to be seen as the home of the world’s best cyber talent.
“CyRise Elevate provides support for our top-performing cybersecurity professionals, and they in turn support the economy by keeping Australian businesses secure. It’s an initiative that’s good for everyone”.
He also added that a long-term solution to the shortage of cybersecurity workers should be through tech innovation that allows companies to scale without a large cybersecurity workforce.
An estimated 16,600 additional cybersecurity workers will be needed in Australia by 2026 according to Australian cyber security growth network AustCyber. Over the last two years during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Australian Information Security Association
Australian startup Marketplacer’s information security manager Natalie Lemieszek, who participated in the pilot, said that Elevate gave her “an entirely new perspective” on how her work could be done. She added that “just that one chat was worth its weight in gold”.
Also a participant in the pilot, software scale-up Deputy’s director of security Agathe Savard said that joining the network had facilitated “incredible ties in the security community and has provided a safe environment to discuss the challenges faced as a security leader which would otherwise be very difficult to safely open up about outside of the organisation”.
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