The Basque Cybersecurity Centre (BCSC) began life in September 2017 as an organisation designated by the Basque Government to promote cybersecurity in the Basque Country. Its activity revolved around three fundamental aspects.
- To promote and develop a culture of cybersecurity in Basque Ssociety.
- To make the economic activity related to cybersecurity in the Basque Country more dynamic, becoming a reference point for suppliers and users.
- To position the Basque Country as a benchmark in the application of cybersecurity technology in industry.
Working with local, state-wide and global actors.
2018 was an intense year which saw a multitude of activities taking place, focused on reaching the aforementioned objectives. In order to do this, we have chosen to work side by side with other actors, on local, state-wide and global levels. This has been a highly valuable strategy in the battle against global cyberthreats and professional cybercriminals who enjoy important financial backing. Collaboration is part of the BCSC's DNA and has been a transversal initiative between four Basque Government departments (Economic Development and Infrastructures, Security, Public Governance and Self-Government, and Education) and the technological centres Tecnalia, Vicomtech, Ik4-Ikerlan and the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics.
The collaboration with other cybersecurity incident response teams (CSIRT) has been intense since the first moment. Over this last year we have gone from being part of CSIRT.es (a national forum) in September, to becoming a full member of FIRST in October. This last is the biggest forum worldwide of Incident Response and Cybersecurity Teams, and we were able to join thanks to support from the Instituto Nacional de Ciberseguridad (INCIBE) and Siemens.
Participation in these forums represents a golden opportunity to share knowledge and strategies with other CSIRT, and encourage the collaboration necessary to present a united, coordinated front against cybersecurity incidents.
Inauguration of new installations
The Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu inaugurated the BSCS's new installations in Alava´s Technological Park in July, accompanied by the ministers for Economic Development and Infrastructures (Arantxa Tapia), Education (Cristina Uriarte) and Security (Estefanía Beltrán de Heredia) and the deputy minister for Administration and General Services (Nerea López-Uribarri), representing the department of Public Governance and Self-Government.
Support in implementing cybersecurity measures
The Centre has contributed to raising the level of cybersecurity maturity in the industrial sector through a variety of means:
- By making an initial study of the situation of industrial businesses in the Basque Country within the field of cybersecurity. These numbered 90 businesses and 11 clusters - showing a marked interest in cybersecurity on the part of our industrial sector.
- By running seminars to sensitise the sector in matters concerning cybersecurity, mainly among clusters and groups of businesses, in order to give the basic steps to take, and to raise consciousness about the need to demand cybersecurity services in order to be better protected and maintain market competitivity, since cybersecurity is now seen as a differential value.
- By making available documents licensed at the Centre for Industrial Cybersecurity (CCI) to companies with a presence in the Basque Country. These documents include the "SGCI guide for building a management system for Industrial Cybersecurity" and the "Map of guidelines for Industrial Cybersecurity", both of which may be requested without charge, as explained in the links.
- By putting into practice, the first ever system of grants focused on industrial cybersecurity, thanks to which one million Euros has been allotted to companies in the Basque Country for developing their cybersecurity measures. The application period for these grants, backed by the Grupo SPRI, was received with such interest that the initial amount set aside of 600,000 Euros, was raised to a million. Thanks to these grants, 102 companies have developed new cybersecurity measures. The initiative will continue into 2019, as announced by Arantxa Tapia, Basque Government minister for Economic Development and Infrastructures, on the Basque Cybersecurity Day.
Support for the Basque cybersecurity ecosystem
The Basque Cybersecurity Day achieved it's goal of becoming a meeting point for cybersecuirty in the Basque Country, with over 1,000 attendees at the first event organised by the BCSC from both the supply sectors and users. During the event, the guests were introduced to the newest tendencies by over 25 speakers from 8 countries. A look at the figures puts the first edition of the Basque Cybersecurity Day in the top three cybersecurity events in Spain.
In the same tonic, with a view to making the strong Basque cybersecurity ecosystem more visible, the Basque White Paper on Cybersecurity has been published. This includes over 100 companies, teaching centres, institutes and associations which make up a strong and growing network. The White Paper will be accessible via our web page in the form of a search engine which can be consulted by people interested in requesting cybersecurity services. In listing the services and know-how on offer by companies in the Basque Country, the interested parties will be able to identify which company best suits their needs.
At the beginning of this year we have become members of the European Cybersecurity Organisation (ECSO), a forum where we have been especially active, and our efforts have received the backing of our international partners in the shape of two important appointments.
- The first of these was announced in June, when Javier Diéguez, the Director of the Basque Cybersecurity Centre, was chosen as representative on the European Regions Partnership Board of the ECSO. This board is a communication channel between the organisation and the EU Commission for debating the work schedule related to cybersecurity projects.
- The most recent announcement was made right at the end of 2018, with the appointment of Diéguez as CoDirector of Work Group 2 in the ECSO, charged with strengthening the deployment of the cybersecurity market, investment and international collaboration. The appointment of our director to this position implies a new opportunity to publicise the work we are doing here in the Basque Country for cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Node in the Basque Digital Innovation Hub (BDIH)
2018 saw the set-up and start of a cybersecurity node in the Basque Digital Innovation Hub (BDIH), formed by 5 interconnected laboratories distributed throughout the three territories of the Basque Country. Cybersecurity is a transversal aspect affecting every sector of our society and it should go hand in hand with Industry 4.0. This node allows industrial businesses, and most especially SMEs, access to technological know-how not usually available to smaller companies, in order to face the challenges of Industry 4.0. It also fosters entrepreneurship and innovation, highlighting projects such as smart-grid, automation, blockchain, product testing and certification, etc.
Making the Basque Country into an international benchmark for cybersecurity
After 15 months, the Basque Cybersecurity Centre has managed to bring to the fore the fact that cybersecurity represents a new opportunity for our region, already winning international recognition in sectors such as Industry 4.0. The business fabric we enjoy here, coupled with its high level of development and specialisation, makes for an ideal stage on which to create and grow new companies dedicated to cybersecurity, and always with the backing of the public sector.
The work of the Basque Cybersecurity Centre will continue in 2019 to follow the current line of close collaboration with Industry, by means of awareness-raising seminars and grants for implementing cybersecurity measures. We will continue our collaboration with other CSIRTs, to bring the latest cutting-edge tools and know-how to make the Basque Country cybersecure.
Our final goal is none other than raising the level of cybersecurity maturity in the Basque Country, and getting our country recognised as an international benchmark in cybersecurity.