New cyber-security lab launched at ITE to train students and build up tech talent pipeline

The laboratory, housed in ITE College East, is modelled after a next-generation security operations centre. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) on Wednesday (March 30) launched a new cyber-security facility to train students in an environment modelled after real operational conditions and workflows faced by professionals.

The laboratory, housed in ITE College East, is ITE's first. Similar labs can be found in polytechnics and universities here.

The lab was set up in partnership with cyber-security companies Lumen Technologies, ReaQta, SecureAge and Toffs Technologies, as well as the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA).

The companies will provide the tech infrastructure, including threat detection software, as well as training and internship opportunities.

Speaking at the facility's launch, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary said the lab will be an integral part of ITE's Higher Nitec cyber and network security course, as well as the work-study diploma in cyber security and forensics programme.

The Higher Nitec course has 1,700 enrolled students, and there are 60 trainees under the work-study diploma programme who have been hired by various companies.

Dr Janil said the lab is modelled after a next-generation security operations centre (SOC), an integral part of many organisations.

"The SOC is where you organise your digital security team, collect information, identify suspicious patterns and network anomalies in the traffic of your organisation, and most importantly, coordinate how you're going to take action to stop them on a real-time basis," he said.

"A lab like this will give our students a chance to develop and exercise their skills, identify the vulnerabilities and threats of the test systems to meet and stop the challenges that exist in this industry, and obtain industry-relevant training and experience."

With cyberthreats increasing in number and sophistication, Singapore needs to build a pipeline of defenders to safeguard its digital domain, Dr Janil said, adding that the new lab is "a very important step in the right direction".

The launch comes after more support for polytechnic and ITE students looking to enter the tech sector was announced during the parliamentary debate on the budget of the Communications and Information Ministry earlier this month.

Like many other countries, Singapore is facing a shortage of tech talent.

ITE chief executive Low Khah Gek said the cyber-security sector, in particular, is a fast-growing one, and ITE students are keen to enrol in cyber-security courses, acquire relevant skills and join the industry.

"Our students possess a natural flair for working in the digital, cyberworld," she said, adding that many of the students have a "hacker spirit" and are digital natives.

"We can harvest their talents and train them to become the future talent pipeline for the cyber-security industry."

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