Cyber Security Cluster Introductory Meeting held in Ankara

Date: Issue 84 - August 2018

The introductory meeting of the Turkey Cyber Security Cluster established under the leadership of the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) was held at the campus of the Presidency of Defence Industries in Ankara. President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMIR, public institutions and organizations, universities, non-governmental organizations and sector representatives attended the meeting.

Taking the floor in the opening ceremony of the introductory meeting, the Presidency of Defence Industries Security and IT Systems Group Head Mustafa ÖZÇELİK pointed out that Turkey has made a significant leap in land, maritime, air and space areas through investments made in the last 15 years and continued: “We have evolved as a producing society rather than just consuming one and have even turned into a country exporting what we produced. When we look at the cyber security side, we see that in the 5th dimension, figuratively speaking our cup is not full, especially in that we have an external dependence in terms of software and hardware.  On the other hand, we also see our potential to fill the cup. We have a young population full of potential. In an area where human resources are the majority of our capital, we believe that we can progress more in the cyber area as well, beyond that of which we have achieved in other platforms in the last 15 years. From this point of view, we made sectoral evaluations with various stakeholders in 2017. We gathered all our stakeholders from the public and private sectors and universities in order to reveal sector challenges.  We discussed the problems at various events and we put solution suggestions on the table. We then brought these suggestions and the outputs together in our decision-making workshop and publicized them at the Third Cyber War and Security Conference held under the auspices of the Presidency of Defence Industries.. During this period, we established a Board of Directors, including our Presidency, Prime Ministry, Ministry of Transport and Communications, and institutions related to cyber security, and we have strived to execute the process with the representatives there. In the sectoral analysis made on the basis of these studies, 4 main problem areas emerged:

Communication between stakeholders

Human resources

Standardization, certification

Communication within domestic and international markets

A model was put forward to eliminate these problems during the studies.  We came together with all the stakeholders and created the cyber security scan model. In this model we designed a structure that brings together and directs supply and demand, enhancing interaction.”

ÖZÇELİK pointed out that they plan to establish a structure to take part under the Defence Industry Academy within the Presidency of Defence Industries to interact with universities in order to minimize human resources deficiencies in the field of cyber security. He also emphasized that it is necessary to establish competent mechanisms to create a cyber security brand and to develop the ecosystem. ÖZÇELİK briefly shared the activities they carried out during the period following the Third International Cyber War and Security Conference in November, emphasizing the need to develop human resources and sectoral capacities and to increase communication among stakeholders in line with this vision. ÖZÇELİK: “We initiated the Cyber Security Cluster Project and we created a budget and in order to carry out these activities, we made an agreement with SSTech A.Ş., a subsidiary of our Presidency of Defence Industries. We established a coordination office within SSTech A.Ş. and we are quickly building up the team structure. During this process, we came together with our stakeholders both at home and abroad. We reviewed what is being done in fieldwork for the resolution of problems. On the international platform, in March 2018 we visited the HSD Cyber Security Cluster in the Netherlands, one of the largest cyber clusters in Europe. Our intention of our visit was to understand the structure of this cluster. This cluster which has been in existence for five years is a success story. We were introduced to a concept there, which is twenty large clusters gathered around the world and formed a platform. The intention is to increase the interaction between the clusters. When we shared details about activities we have made, they proposed to establish our cluster and apply to join them because they want to see us among them. We attach importance to that. We benefited from the know-how of the clusters of our country such as OSSA and TSSK. We had a meeting with the Academy. We brought together ODTU, İTU, Boğaziçi and Gazi Universities to create an activity list for human resources training. We have seen that everyone is aware of the sensitivity of the subject. We created our portal to receive membership applications. Our corporate identity studies have started as well.”

ÖZÇELİK expressed that they would like to accomplish a sectoral breakthrough regarding cyber security in 2018 and said: “Today we have 64 companies here with us. If possible, we would like to take all of these companies abroad in 2018 and attend fairs at the stand level and arrange B2B meetings so that the industry can see the foreign markets. On the other hand, we plan to establish a technical training center that can provide human resources development and international certification. We want to reach our high schools and universities gradually in a layered way. We aim to establish cyber security clubs in universities, to integrate the relevant academician to the club, to follow human resources of our universities and to form a human resource pool. We want achieve this by conducting awareness training.”

Expressing that the concept of open innovation is currently a hot topic in cyber security, ÖZÇELİK said that large companies do not innovate by themselves today. ÖZÇELİK: “Big companies are not creating innovation by themselves; they are importing and making it through SME companies. We also need to enhance our ecosystem in some way. Of course, our goal is not to turn the entrepreneurs into SMEs and leave them alone. In particular, we aim to provide professional consulting services to our SMEs on product strategy and how to position themselves in the world.”

Underlining that the companies can actively apply for membership during the cluster process, ÖZÇELİK concluded his words saying that companies are invited to sign up at siber.SSB.gov.tr.

President of Defence Industries Prof. İsmail DEMIR emphasized the critical importance of providing security for our country in many areas from health to transportation, energy to communication and education and the establishment of information security for all institutions and organizations. DEMIR: “The protection of information, people’s communication security; the protection of information of private companies, public institutions, police, security units, armed forces and the sensitive units of our state; the whole chain actually takes part in the defense base. I think it is necessary to look at such a broad spectrum of duties that belong to us as SSB not only in the field of cyber security but also in other matters. While the tasks are listed, a number of duties, such as the development of the Defense Industry, the formation, and the establishment of companies in this field are among the tasks assigned to us. The field of cyber security should not be left unattended. The cyber security projects of the Turkish Armed Forces, our Security Organization are presented to us. We have to realize these projects and we face many challenges, especially in our own organization, when we are handling them. There is a foreign dependency on product usage. On the other hand, each institution is trying to meet its own needs. Here, there is a task assigned to us in order to provide coordination between institutions. In this context, while we were setting a strategy for the establishment of a structure that is broad-based and has broad participation; where all stakeholders, solution providers and product users gather and create synergy, we decided that clustering is the best environment for this. Collectively we had to lay hands on many issues such as the development of solutions together in a stakeholder mentality, the joint encouragement of development areas, the enhancement of knowledge, the training of human resources, the survivability and support of companies made up of human resources, the usage of domestic products primarily, the maturation of products as they are utilized and the ability of our companies to survive. The hardware issue here should not be disregarded. I think that this area should be taken into account in terms of creating certain stages. Creating local and national solutions is one of our most important issues. As each institution develops national and local products, the testing, certification and qualification processes are fundamentally essential. When you establish this mechanism, all stakeholders can feel confident that any product that has been tested, approved and certified by this structure, that it can be used with ease; but first this structure should be established as immediately as possible. The human resources that will make this happen also need to be created as soon as possible. The Academy project is one of them.”

Suggesting that they are the first steps of the ladder that all stakeholders climb to reach collective goals, Prof. DEMIR concluded by saying that the formation of this cluster would act with the awareness that all stakeholders would cooperate, that added value would be created and that even the slightest contribution of each stakeholder would be helpful for this cluster without exclusion.

The Cyber Security Cluster was established with the participation of all relevant public institutions, private sector and academy representatives last year, with the support of the Presidency of Defence Industries.

The vision of the project carried out by SSTEK A.Ş. was determined as being competitive and to have a say in the global market with a workforce competent in the field of cyber security and with branded domestic and national solutions. Within this context, the aim is to increase the number of cyber security companies in Turkey, support the development of its members in terms of technical, administrative and financial aspects, the development of standards of cyber security ecosystem, the branding of products and services, entry of the companies in the common market more quickly, creation of partnerships in R&D, production and marketing, and increasing export volumes.

With the establishment of the Cyber Security Cluster, the capability acquisition to the sector in the field of cyber security technologies is aimed through the provision of maximum local participation in cyber security projects executed within the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and Turkey in the coming period, the development of some software and hardware components that are considered to be critical with national facilities, establishment of an ideal balance between the targets of ensuring competitiveness and being national.

In line with the industrialization strategy, SSB plans to expand the related acquisitions not only at the level of the main contractor, but also at the level of SME / subsidiary industry.  Support will be given to project activities focused on eliminating the Turkey’s deficiency in personnel trained specifically in the field of cyber security.