RM200 million earmarked for local cybersecurity startups with potential
(Above pic L-R): Wan Murdani, Fong, and Victor Lo.
(Editor’s note: The previously reported amount of RM500 million earmarked for startups, is inaccurate. The correct amount is RM200 million).
The Asia Cybersecurity Exchange (AsiaCyberX), has officially launched, with the ambition of elevating the cybersecurity ecosystem in Malaysia.
A result of collaboration between 13-year old LE Global Services Sdn Bhd (LGMS) and Ace Group; a diversified group with focus upon financial services; AsiaCyberX is solely owned by Ace Accelerator Network Sdn Bhd.
Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Dato’ Sri Jailani Johari officiated the event, and during his speech, described AsiaCyberX as a platform for knowledge sharing, and even formulation of strategy.
LGMS provides cybersecurity services to numerous businesses locally and in the region. With emphasis upon financial institutions, telecommunications operators and more, it also claims to be the first and only private consulting firm in Malaysia with ISO/IEC 17025 certification for its testing lab.
Talent in cybersecurity
One of the core missions of AsiaCyberX, is to identify undiscovered cybersecurity talent with huge growth potential. These may be individuals or startups, but RM200 million has been earmarked by Ace Group, to help accelerate their growth in the cybersecurity industry.
LGMS CEO, Fong Choong Fook, said, “With our training and mentorship programmes, we aim to elevate Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem to a whole new level by strengthening the capabilities of local talent and entrepreneurs.”
With that in mind, AsiaCyberX will partner with professional certification and training bodies like CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) and ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association).
Of note as well, is the 12-month pilot programme with MDEC, the MDEC Cybersecurity Development Program, which was announced during AsiaCyberX’s launch. Besides conferences, hackathons, roundtables and industry collaboration workshops, the programme will be a crucial initiative to close the gap between academic theory and real-life cybersecurity scenarios.
MDEC’s Director of Enabling Ecosystem division, Wan Murdani Wan Mohamad said, that this pilot aims to train 240 graduates from 8 premier tech universities, and ensure that these graduate cybersecurity specialists become exposed to essential skills in cybersecurity.
He also mentioned an important component; role-based training; which would give the trainees a taste of cybersecurity roles like penetration testing, and security monitoring.
The two main criteria for students/graduates to be selected by MDEC to this programme, is above average academic requirements or high enough grade point averages (GPAs). The second criteria, is the student’s ability to ideate innovation.
This end-to-end programme also includes job placements into member organisations of the AsiaCyberX.
These programme graduates also have the option of trying to get a piece of the RM500 million venture capital fund, that has been allocated for talent/startup acceleration.
Moving up the value chain?
Cybersecurity players and ecosystem partners who attended the event, opine that these startups could develop new technologies, or work with new technologies like artificial intelligence, to create cybersecurity solutions, that could help alleviate the mundanity of repetitive tasks in cybersecurity jobs, for example.
Talent shortage in cybersecurity, is a real issue which AsiaCyberX wants to address, and by including an incubation environment for cybersecurity startups, for the first time perhaps, the local industry could see a slew of fresh, new ideas of how to combat the bad guys, as well as promote/incentivise a future pipeline of talent that can contribute to cybersecurity, in more ways than the usual.