This year, students from The Hague are helping more than 25 SME-companies to better protect themselves against cybercrime. The ‘Cyberwerf’ project offers students valuable practical experience and offers companies an accessible, affordable option to map their digital risks. Today, Cyberwerf has won the Computable Award for ICT project of the year in SME.
The increasing digitalisation makes companies increasingly vulnerable to cybercrime. ‘In particular small and medium sized enterprises are at risk, as they often do not have the resources to prioritize digital security’ says cybersecurity expert Fokko Mellema. In October 2018, his living lab Security Field Lab came up with a solution for this: Cyberwerf.
Cyberwerf is a hybrid education project, initiated by ROC Mondriaan, Stichting Kenniscentrum Integrale Veiligheid, business park ZKD and HSD Office and realised with the help of the Economic Board the Hague, the City of The Hague and Deloitte. The project gives ICT students from ROC Mondriaan the chance to gain work experience with concrete cybersecurity issues from the business community. The SME-companies on the ZKD-businesspark get at their turn insight in the risks of cybercrime in an accessible manner. A ‘win-win situation’, according to the jury rapport of Computable.
With the help of a self-developed scan, the students track down the vulnerabilities in the digital infrastructure of the companies. ‘The human factor remains an important part of cybersecurity’, emphasizes Mellema. The students check for example the signal strength and security of Wi-Fi networks and check network systems on viruses and malware. Specialists from the partnership assist the students with their tasks. If necessary, it is advised to call in more specialised help. As a result, this can also generate economic spin-off for small and medium-sized enterprises in the field of cyber security. A unique working method in the Netherlands.
The reactions from both students and companies have been very enthusiastic so far. The group of originally 12 students is now being expanded to 50 and Mellema has already been approached by other interested parties, including a large network supplier and business parks from Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Mellema: ‘For now, we will continue to focus on The Hague. We will first expand the project, and then let the project grow further.’
Cyberwerf is part of the Human Capital Agenda Security of HSD Office.
Read the article in AD about Cyberwerf