Guarding Ireland’s Industrial Backbone: The Role of Operational Technology.

07 Jun, 2024

Min read

Cyber Skills Courses

Check out UL Professor Tom Newe’s insightful piece published in Silicon Republic. Tom is a Professor in the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at University of Limerick, a project partner of Cyber Skills, sheds light on the pressing security challenges faced by legacy operational technology (OT) systems and the alarming rise in cyberattacks targeting industrial systems.

In his article, Tom emphasizes the critical need for personnel skilled in OT security, highlighting the significant gap in experienced professionals in this rapidly growing area. As industries continue to integrate OT with IT networks—a process known as IT-OT convergence—the complexity of securing these environments increases, making specialized training and education programs more important than ever.

Tom discusses how this paradigm is gradually shifting thanks to Irish Government initiatives like the Higher Education Authority Human Capital Initiative (HEA-HCI), which now provides 80% funding for cybersecurity courses at partner universities, MTU, UL and TUD. This funding empowers universities across Ireland to address industry skill gaps and develop comprehensive training programs.

One such program is the Professional Diploma in OT Security, a collaboration between Graduate and Professional Studies at the University of Limerick and Cyber Skills. This course specifically targets the cybersecurity needs of integrated IT-OT systems. Participants have the opportunity to use advanced cyber range infrastructure, providing an on-site simulation solution to model both IT and OT environments. These simulations facilitate realistic scenario training, including genuine cyberattacks, helping participants develop practical skills to safeguard their organizations’ critical infrastructure.

To see Tom Newe’s full article and understand the importance of protecting Ireland’s industrial backbone, read his full piece here

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