The CEO of the government's Australian Cyber Security Growth Network today implored hundreds of IT professionals to give Aussie security firms a fair go.
"We're not talking an Australia first strategy here. I don't have a hat 'Make Australian Cyber Great Again', or anything like that," Craig Davies told the CloudSec conference in Sydney today.
"What I'm asking you to do is when you're talking and you're looking for a solution, at least identify a firm or a technology that could be Australian and at least have a conversation with them."
The not-for-profit network was launched in December last year with $31.9m of government funding over three years. Its aim is to facilitate networking and collaboration between the local cyber security community and business in Australia and overseas.
In April it released its Sector Competitiveness Plan which suggests that over the next 10 years, the size of Australia’s cyber security sector could potentially triple, reaching annual revenue of $6 billion by 2026 — up from $2 billion today.
One of the weak links in the ecosystem at present, was “customer one”, Davies explained.
"We want to grow an ecosystem. We have pockets of our ecosystem that are actually very good. Incredible research, some great outcomes coming out of some smaller firms, but there's so many gaps in the ecosystem. Including customer one. How do you get customer one?" the former Atlassian director of security said.
On arrival at the network last year, Davies said he was told there were only 15 Australian cyber security firms. At last count, there are 120 with a huge breadth of expertise. One of their biggest challenges was getting a foot in the door. Something businesses could help with, Davies said.
"Think about how your purchasing processes work. Think about what you would need to do to encourage an Australian firm, to at least look at their idea. Most of these start-ups and scale-ups they just want someone to give them feedback. If you think about the problem you face. I can guarantee you there is a firm in this segment worthy of you at least having a conversation," Davies said.
"I want you to review Australian solutions. I just want you to develop a way to ensure they're allowed in the room. That's all I ask," he added.
Crack a cold one
The centre was working towards building a 'pool culture' where business security needs could be matched with Australian solutions.
"Collaboration in Australia is something we are not good at. We still think that collaboration is standing round and having a beer," Davies said.
"We want to help corporates and businesses describe their problems and then help them to find a solution rather than the current strategy which I describe as 'I want to go and buy a cyber, I want it to come in a range of colours, and I want to buy it by Tuesday and it must have blinky lights'. We've got to find more mature ways of solving that problem."