CSIR, association ink MoU to accelerate cybersecurity, telecoms and 4IR-related innovations

8th December 2023 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Association of Communications and Technology (ACT) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to accelerate technological innovations in cybersecurity, telecommunications and Fourth Industrial Revolution-related fields.

As part of the MoU, joint initiatives will be established to strengthen the cybersecurity of mobile networks to safeguard customer data and privacy, and research and develop cybersecurity technologies, protocols and standards.

With the telecommunications sector inherently vulnerable to cyberthreats, it is critical to drive the advancement of cybersecurity and telecommunications in the digital realm and implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information.

“This collaboration is a step towards strengthening cybersecurity in the telecommunications industry to curb cybercrime, as well as establish technological innovations in cybersecurity and telecommunications,” says CSIR Information and Cybersecurity Centre head Dr Jabu Mtsweni.

The agreement provides a framework for leveraging synergies and will enable the undertaking of strategic projects aligned with the mandates of both organisations.

“The CSIR’s objectives and the ACT’s commitment to addressing policy, research and development, telecommunications and security challenges in the communications and technology sector, serving both the public and private ecosystems, will be effectively fulfilled through this partnership,” the parties said in a joint statement.

Various interventions will also include capacity building and training, data analytics and insights, spectrum management and industry development, besides others.

“These are meant to address digital transformation in the ecosystem, including supporting interventions for dealing with economic sabotage of physical and digital infrastructure, second- generation (2G) and third- generation (3G) migration, spectrum social obligations and cost-effective energy solutions for the sector and country, as well as the development of the digital roadmap that includes future technologies with universal accessibility and connectivity,” he adds.

The CSIR and the ACT also plan to enhance the skills and knowledge of network operators and CSIR staff, cultivate a skilled workforce for the future, engage in joint advocacy efforts and collaborative initiatives with regulatory authorities, with efforts geared towards promoting a fair and competitive regulatory environment for network operators.

The partnership also involves collaboration in innovation and entrepreneurship, spectrum governance, allocation and the efficient use of spectrum to support the development of new services and technologies, including the International Mobile Telecommunication systems and the Internet of Things.

The partnership is founded on industry development and the transformation of the communications and telecommunications sector by advocating for fit-for-purpose modern policies that are aligned with South Africa’s social obligations, working with industry to innovate solutions that address sociotechnical challenges in the telecommunications ecosystem, such as universal accessibility and connectivity, security of digital infrastructure and energy solutions.

“In the rapidly evolving landscape of the telecommunications industry, sociotechnical challenges stand as formidable obstacles. The intricate interplay between social and technological elements introduces complexities that demand innovative solutions,” says ACT CEO Nomvuyiso Batyi.