Towards A Wider National Security Concept, Encompassing Cyber Dimension

Leonardo’s activities for a comprehensive cyber protection encompass cyber-resilience by design and continuous training

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Published: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 8:00 AM

Defending a country, its institutions and critical infrastructures, means being one step ahead in understanding the threats landscape, analysing the risks and minimising the consequences of attacks in order to be able to assure the continuity and resilience of critical physical and digital assets. Nowadays, the concept of defence must evolve into a concept of national security, to include not only traditional defence itself but also data production and utilisation, cyber security, space control, critical infrastructure security, energy security, logistics security, predictive capabilities based on advanced algorithms, high performance computing and big data analytics.

In this context, it is worth highlighting that the cyberspace plays a dual role in defence: on one hand it is an operational domain, on the other hand it is an enabling component of every other domain and asset that makes use of digital technologies, infrastructures and cloud solutions for specific operations. That’s why Leonardo includes Cyber Security since the design phase of any platform, product or infrastructure for defence, in order to guarantee the resilience and the security of these assets.

As far as the operational domain is concerned, with cyber threats that are becoming a critical concern for organisations of all sizes in the region, Leonardo’s activities for a comprehensive cyber protection encompass designing cyber security infrastructures and digitisation solutions, including cloud-based and artificial intelligence, cyber security monitoring and attack management, threat intelligence platforms and support for investigative activities, and cyber training.

In the framework of the undergoing defence digital transformation, which is mainly focused on a digital interconnection of forces in the different domains- land, sea, air, cyber and space, the so-called defence cloud for sharing information and synchronisation of actions is a good example of how Leonardo can contribute to a number of levels.

In the design phase to define a secure-by-design, reliable and scalable architecture with components deployable in operations, and at a management level with the cloud management platform for managing, protecting and governing private (on-premises), hybrid, multi-cloud and edge computing cloud environments. Confidential computing techniques and cryptography key management are also provided to enhance data protection and guarantee data sovereignty.

Another strategic asset is space, both for the increasingly important role it plays in defence and intelligence, and for its role in providing services needed by citizens, governments and industries, which rely on space assets for their proper and efficient functioning (from transport to emergency services, to communication services).

Space is, at the same time, an asset for the protection of the country but also an asset to be protected. In this context, Leonardo has recently reached important targets with significant contracts in cyber security: the ESA Cyber Security Operation Centre (C-SOC), security strategy and services for IRIDE programme, the monitoring of IT vulnerability assets for Galileo Second Generation programme.

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The human factor is one of the most vital elements of a comprehensive cyber defense. It is therefore essential to invest in training activities that strengthen knowledge of security technologies, processes and regulations and enhance the learner’s ability to understand context and interpret information. This is a crucial skillset when faced with crises arising from cyber attacks and incidents with potentially wide-scale impacts.

To enable this learning, Leonardo is collaborating with Khalifa University of Science and Technology to develop the new Khalifa University Cyber Security Academy.

Drawing on the University’s excellence in research and powered by Leonardo’s innovative cyber training platforms, the Khalifa University Cyber Security Academy — located at the university’s main campus in Abu Dhabi — will offer complete certification and training programmes in English and Arabic, as well as special training initiatives designed to meet the needs of organisations in the UAE.

The Khalifa University Cyber Security Academy will further enhance Khalifa University’s top-rated research and academic programmes, which already deliver highly-specialised degrees up to doctorate level. The academy will benefit from Leonardo’s expertise in the design and delivery of solutions that secure digital ecosystems and ensure the resilience of critical assets in 150 countries.

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