Cyber Ireland Incoming Chairperson’s Address

Pat Larkin, CEO Ward Solutions & Cyber Ireland Chairperson

I am honored and excited to serve you as your new chairperson of the Cyber Ireland advisory board. Firstly I would like to acknowledge and thank Paul Walsh as outgoing chairperson for guiding us through our first 3 years of operation and the retiring board members Shane Walsh, Carmel Sommers, David Coffey and Martin Corkery for their work.

Pat Larkin Cyber Ireland Chairperson

I would like to welcome onboard our new board members Liz Craven O Neill, Kevin Buckley, Darren O Brien, Eoin Hinchy, Eoin Goulding and Anthony Keane. I would also like to acknowledge the engine room of Cyber Ireland led by Eoin Byrne, Cluster manager, and Fiona Kearney, Marketing Manager.

In our first 3 years of operation, we have built the membership to over 160+ members and are executing a significant number of work streams. 

 Two things have really struck me since Cyber Irelands formation: 

  • the selfless service ethos and hard work of all the people involved in the cluster, whether cluster staff, board members, regional chapters, sub committees or members with common purpose  of achieving the goals and potential of the sector. 
  • the appetite for progress, policy, the goodwill and collaboration from adjacent groups to Cyber Ireland such as the digital, technology, manufacturing, finance sectors, politicians, public servants, and industry groups towards the cyber sector’s success.

The Irish Cyber Sector has a timely opportunity to achieve our goals and to move a global leadership position in the medium term based in the following factors:  

  • The global cyber security sector is hot and growing organically at approximately 10%-12% CAGR and likely to continue to do so. 
  • We have very attentive national and international consumer, business and political audiences for national cyber security success, based on the current geopolitical situation and the frequency, impact of cyber-attacks on business, critical national services such as the HSE and consumers. 
  • Demand for skills is high within the sector. The sector offers rapid development, progression, excellent remuneration and roles with real societal benefit to candidates. 
  • Ireland is a leader in digital technologies and digitally dependent businesses. To further capitalise on digital transformation these companies need a strong, innovative cyber security sector protecting current and future investments. 
  • We have an established cluster organisation.  The key stakeholders of 140+ Industry members (FDI, SME and cyber dependents), government agencies (IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, NCSC) and academia are represented around the boardroom table. We meet regularly, coherently focusing on developing policies, strategies and tactical wok streams to capture the opportunities and address the challenges that we face. 
  • Cyber Ireland has current funding from government, industry, and business support from Munster Technological University (MTU) to sustain professional full time cluster management and staff to execute the cluster strategy in the short term. 
  • We have 4 regional chapters, an Irish SME Committee, and Active Defense Group of highly motivated cluster members working collaboratively to execute relevant work streams.  

So what do we need to do to capture this amazing opportunity: 

We Need to Take our Cluster to the Next Level 

We need as an industry to outperform the global norms to move to leader status. We need to learn the lessons from similar sized global leaders such as Estonia and Israel. We need the cluster to help focus our performance efforts in the right areas. Our industry needs to do the mundane excellently, whist simultaneously developing new, innovative disruptive cyber security services and products. 

We need to take these successfully at scale to global markets. We need to attract more than our fair share of Cyber Security global FDI. We need to produce global leading cyber security R&D.  We need above average diverse talent pools at all levels. Our 5-year graduate talent pipeline is currently in secondary school our 10-year pipeline is in primary school. They need some form of industry assisted cyber education to be attracted to and relevant for our industry in the medium to long term. 

We need Cyber Ireland to be sustainable into the long term through diverse funding sources, including membership fees.  

We Need Active Member Engagement 

We need your active engagement with the cluster board and management, telling us the problems to solve, working with us to develop policies, strategies and prioritised work streams to help solve these challenges and capture the opportunities. We already have significant work streams and initiatives, which the current management, board and sub committees cannot deliver in a timely fashion alone.  

We Need Everyone to Pay Their Share 

Our sector report, State of the Cyber Security Sector in Ireland 2022, identifies another 300+ cyber companies that are currently not members of Cyber Ireland. A rising tide lifts all boats! We need these companies to become members of Cyber Ireland   contributing financially and work-wise to our goals. Please encourage your colleagues and peer companies to join and contribute.n

It’s on us as a cluster to capture the opportunity and fix our challenges 

Our politicians and public servants are hungry for cyber security, national security and economic policy content and strategy to achieve this success. Cyber Ireland needs to be the tip of the industry arrow in gathering, developing, documenting and providing them with this meaningful content, advocating for and sharing the workloads to achieve it. 

Cyber Ireland is the foundation and the means to our sectoral and national success. We have made a fantastic start. It is our responsibility to make cyber security Irelands next big sectoral success.