The General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector (or “TRA”) launched the National Cybersecurity Capacity Building Program, a core program within the National Cybersecurity Strategy. The Program aims to develop highly efficient national capabilities in protecting the cyberspace and addressing relevant risks.
The Program also aims to develop the capabilities of youth in cybersecurity, whether professionals or those working in areas related to IT and Computing, or students and amateurs, thus contributing to enhancing the readiness of UAE to respond to cyber incidents and supporting research and innovation, while safeguarding the digital infrastructure of the country.
Commenting on this Program, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, TRA Director General, said: “As we steadily move towards shaping a digital future that promotes community happiness, we take into account the side effects of digital technologies, especially cyber risks affecting infrastructures and information security. In this context, the TRA has launched the National Cybersecurity Strategy with a view to promoting and maintaining the rapid progress witnessed in the UAE in areas of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by the strong momentum generated by a history of pioneering and key milestones. With the year 2020, we started the actual implementation of this Strategy by launching the National Cybersecurity Capacity Building Program, given that smart cities we aspire to in the future primarily need human cadres capable of protecting such cities from cyberattacks. Therefore, the challenge ahead is not only to reach great achievements but also to be able to preserve these achievements."
H.E. Al Mansoori stressed that youth are the cornerstone for achieving the visions of the country and protecting its accomplishments, adding: "Future wars will not rely on conventional weapons. Rather, they would be wars of computers and experts capable of hacking into and destroying digital infrastructures with a push of a button. Future destruction will not be physical destruction, but rather a disruption of tasks and services and creation of chaos and panic, and in order to protect our nation from such events, it had become imperative to prepare youth who are able to counter cyberattacks, and find weaknesses in our digital systems. Today, through this Program, which comes in response to the directives of our wise leadership to strengthen the role of youth, we are striving to protect our gains in areas of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
In achieving its goals, the National Cybersecurity Capacity Building Program bases itself on four pillars, including: Competency framework, academic support, training courses and events. The Competency Framework defines cybersecurity functions, tasks, information and skills that incumbents should have. The Framework also identifies training courses that can be offered to cybersecurity jobholders and other related jobs, to enhance their abilities and competencies.
The Competency Framework also seeks to bridge the gap between educational outcomes and the labor market by helping universities develop educational programs to meet the requirements of the labor market. This Framework outlines the basic skills that graduates must possess in order to be able to fill cybersecurity jobs. It also assists HR officers in UAE organizations in selecting cybersecurity employees by defining the tasks and skills assigned to each post and training requirements for HR development in the field of cybersecurity.
Academic support is the second focal point of the Program, through which it aims to educate school students about cybersecurity in general and relevant career opportunities through awareness workshops by the TRA, and through the cybersecurity awareness page on its website.
Moreover, the Program will, in cooperation with relevant entities, include cybersecurity in UAE school curricula and cybersecurity majors and courses in universities, while encouraging universities to include cybersecurity in all disciplines related to information technology (e.g. programming, networking, etc.) to allow graduates to obtain a sound grounding in cybersecurity.
Under its third pillar, the Program strengthens competencies through a number of initiatives and training programs to be launched by the TRA in the near future, in collaboration with its strategic partners. The Program will provide cybersecurity training to three categories: students and amateurs, Information Technology workers and cybersecurity professionals.
Under its fourth pillar, the National Cybersecurity Capacity Building Program will organize and support cybersecurity conferences and events, where a national cybersecurity conference is planned to be held, as well as supporting and participating in all cybersecurity-related events. The Program also includes simulation exercises to respond to cyber incidents for increased readiness of specialists in addressing and redressing the same.
The TRA has launched the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy as the country is entering the 5G era, where the TRA is developing and launching the UAE 5G Strategy 2020-2025, making the UAE the first in the region to launch such strategy beyond 2020. The new National Cybersecurity Strategy strengthens the integrated cybersecurity system by implementing 60 initiatives across 5 themes.