Education News

€3.75m to Enhance Cybersecurity in Further and Higher Education Sector Announced

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has announced €3.75 million to boost further and higher education sector defences against cyber-attack for cybersecurity.

The funding has been allocated by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science in 2022/23 to provide 24/7 real-time monitoring and enhanced threat detection capabilities across the further and higher education system.

Operated by HEAnet, the service will allow institutions to quickly respond, contain and remediate security incidents.

Speaking about the funding, Minister Harris said, “Higher Education institutions are not immune to cyber attack and we have seen the impact of this with the cyber-attack on Munster Technological University earlier this year. This new service will assist in protecting staff and students and strengthening the security of further and higher education institutions against potential threats. It is important to safeguard against any interruption to services so staff and students can securely access information, collaborate as well as facilitate digital literacy and distance learning.”

The launch of the new Security Operations Center (SOC) and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) service follows several recent high-profile cyberattacks nationally and takes into consideration the increasing level of cybersecurity threats facing the further and higher education sector.

HEAnet has partnered with a Managed Security Service Provider to roll out the new services.

Ronan Byrne, CEO of HEAnet, said, “the launch of our new SOC and SIEM service is a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to enhance cybersecurity for Irish education institutions. Our goal is to assist our clients in defending against ever-increasing cyberattacks and help them to reduce the risk of business interruption and associated costs of a cyberattack. With the support of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, delivery and expansion of this sectoral SOC and SIEM solution will be a key priority for HEAnet in 2023 and beyond.”

The new service is now available to HEAnet member institutions and today marks the delivery of phase 1, which sees the first clients going live on the service, with further clients preparing to join as part of phase 2 over the course of the year.

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