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International projects of the Information System Authority (RIA)
International projects are very important for RIA, as they help maintain Estonia’s positive image and raise the level of cybersecurity worldwide. They also provide a good opportunity for our staff to put their training skills to the test, establish work-related contacts across the globe, and share their best knowledge and experience with other countries.
RIA is currently working on three international projects: EU CyberNet, Cyber4Dev, and Interreg Europe CYBER.
What is EU CyberNet?
EU CyberNet is a new initiative of the European Union. As the greatest provider of development aid in the world, the European Union (EU) has set the objective of providing more aid to third countries in the fields of digitisation and cyber defence as well as developing the cooperation between cyber experts of Member States and their professional skills.
As a result of the project, an EU-wide network of cybersecurity experts will be created, which Member States and EU institutions can use to implement assistance projects related to cybersecurity in third countries.
Why is the success of such projects important for the EU? Because figuratively, European cybersecurity starts with the awareness of all Europeans and our ability to cooperate with cybersecurity experts outside of Europe.
In order to set up the network, the European Commission published an international call for tenders in the spring of 2019. The winner was the tender of an international consortium (Estonia, Germany, Luxembourg, and Finland) managed by RIA. The EU CyberNet team is based in the structure of RIA and will coordinate all EU cybersecurity projects in third countries and mediate experts.
The EU CyberNet project is also remarkable for RIA and Estonia in general because we are managing its implementation. As the contractual partner of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), RIA is responsible for implementing the project involving the entire European cybersecurity community.
The expectations of the EU institutions and Member States are great, as the area requires improved coordination and a more harmonised approach than before. Making it work will be a great challenge, which we are sure to rise to.
By the end of the project, the network must include more than 500 experts and 150 partner institutions, from national cyber centres to universities and think tanks. We have developed a communication strategy and a website centralising the experts is being created. The first trainings of the EU CyberNet have taken place and one expert has already been dispatched on a mission. DURATION OF THE PROJECT: 1 September 2019 – 31 August 2023 TOTAL BUDGET OF THE PROJECT: 4 million euros
What is Cyber4Dev?
The European Union development assistance project EU Cyber Resilience for Development Project, or Cyber4Dev, is an international project led by the United Kingdom. It is aimed at increasing cybersecurity for companies in African, Asian, Latin American, and Caribbean countries through training programmes. The project assists participants in the design and implementation of cybersecurity strategies, enhances the capability of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), and supports regional and international cooperation. Estonia is a key contributor to the project – the majority of the experts carrying out trainings are employees of RIA.
In 2019, Cyber4Dev organised training sessions and study visits in the target countries for different groups, from politicians to technicians. The project has supported the creation of a CERT in Botswana and the development of Sri Lanka’s CERT’s incident management capacity, assisted the Rwandan Cybersecurity Centre in drafting its first national cyber strategy, advised Sri Lankan cybersecurity law makers and eID developers, organised training sessions for CERTs of several African countries on incident management, and organised the first national cybersecurity exercise in Mauritius.
Last year, the geographical scope of the project was expanded to include Latin America and the Caribbean in addition to African and Asian countries. RIA has many years of experience working with this region thanks to the Organisation of American States (OAS), which has often involved Estonian experts in its training. Estonia’s experience in building a secure digital state is well-known and valued around the world.
In 2019, the Cyber4Dev project hosted 48 events with a total of 28 Cyber4Dev experts and over 400 trainees in the target countries. In addition, the participation of experts from 25 target countries in international professional forums in Europe was supported. DURATION OF THE PROJECT: 1 January 2018 – 30 June 2021 TOTAL BUDGET OF THE PROJECT: 11 million euros WEBSITE OF THE PROJECT: cyber4dev.eu
What is Interreg Europe CYBER?
Interreg Europe CYBER is a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), aimed at supporting the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in the field of cybersecurity. Seven countries are participating in the project: France (leading partner), Estonia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
In Estonia, this project is developing entrepreneurship and innovation in the field of cybersecurity. This involves developing policy instruments, national cooperation, and organising international consultations with project partners. Estonian companies will have the opportunity to build relationships with partner countries and their companies, and RIA will have a better understanding of how to support innovation. The aim of the project is to look at the Estonian cybersecurity ecosystem, define the existing partners, and detect and systematically address the ecosystem’s concerns.
The project will result in analyses for the international expansion and co-operation of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as consultations on the same subject.
DURATION OF THE PROJECT: 1 June 2018 – 31 May 2023 TOTAL BUDGET OF THE PROJECT: 1,864,242 euros WEBSITE OF THE PROJECT: www.interregeurope.eu/cyber
The EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) aims to act as a centre of expertise in cybersecurity, assisting with the development of Union policy, operational cooperation, cybersecurity certification and standardisation, and promoting capacity building.
By Juhan Lepassaar, Executive Director, European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA)
The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown rules have left its mark on every aspect of our lives. The cross-border nature of capacity building work meant that lockdown presented also challenges to continuation of implementation to EU funded cyber capacity building projects.
It has now been 7 years since the EU adopted its first strategy for dealing with cyberspace. The 2013 “EU Cybersecurity Strategy: An open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace” inter alia urged the European Commission to recognize the need to develop cybersecurity capacity building initiatives.
Global Cyber Expertise Magazine
/ By Siim Alatalu, Director, EU CyberNet
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