Irish government publishes new security strategy

Over Christmas 2020, the Irish government published its new National Cyber Security Strategy which sets out the framework Ireland hopes will create resilient, safe and secure networks and infrastructure in the country.

“We live in an increasingly interconnected world. Ireland has benefited hugely from the digital revolution but we need to make sure there are robust measures in place to protect our national infrastructure against the risks posed by new technology. Cyber-attacks, cybercrime and identity theft can wreak havoc in this connected world.” Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment

The Strategy has five key objectives:

  • ensuring Ireland can respond to and manage security incidents
  • protecting critical national infrastructure from cyber-attacks
  • developing the cyber-security sector in Ireland
  • working internationally to ensure Ireland has access to the best technology and measures available
  • increasing skills and awareness regarding cyber security amongst businesses and the general public.

According to the Irish government, six out of 10 Irish organisations reported being the victims of cyber crime in the last two years. The government is particularly concerned because of the high concentration of data centres in Ireland and the success of its digital economy.
“Ireland is home, according to some estimates, to over 30 per cent of all EU data, and to the European headquarters of many of the world’s technology companies. Our economic success is therefore closely bound up with our ability to provide a secure environment for these companies to operate here,” the paper says. “An outage or incident affecting one of those facilities could have immediate disruptive effects on infrastructure or business across the EU or globally. In turn, this means that the infrastructure supporting these centres, public and private, now has an elevated security and economic risk associated with it.”
The strategy notes that a new and specific set of security measures will be developed for the telecoms sector.
In July 2019, the Irish government formed a public-private coalition – Cyber Ireland – which has the aim of turning Ireland into a world leader in digital security.  Ireland has a strong base to build from, with 6,000 people already employed in the sector and five of the world’s biggest security software companies based there. The initiative has seen the launch of the National Cyber Security Cluster, which is hosted at the Cork Institute of Technology, which focuses on supporting the development of security professionals, improving security research and innovation, and promoting Ireland as a location of cybersecurity excellence.