Online security

Opening of a new cybersecurity center to protect public service IT systems

A new security center which will protect the Northern Ireland civil service from cyber attacks has officially opened in Belfast (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Media)

A new center that will protect the Northern Ireland civil service from cyber attacks has officially opened.

The Belfast facility is operated by BT after the company won a £6.3million Stormont contract to protect utility IT systems from hackers and other online threats.

The Cyber ​​Security Operations Center (SOC), the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, will also provide expert services to the private sector in the region.

The 40-seat Center of Excellence, which will provide round-the-clock, year-round management of ICT assets across the Northern Ireland Public Service, is housed in BT’s flagship building, Riverside Tower , in Belfast.

The SOC is part of a wider multi-million pound investment in the building by BT.

Currently, all 11 floors are undergoing major renovations to create a workplace for around 1,800 employees, with the top floors to be completed in early 2023.

Paul Murnaghan, Regional Director of BT’s Enterprise business in Northern Ireland, said: “Every day, millions of people around the world rely on BT’s cybersecurity expertise to ensure they can go about their business and run their business safely.

“Our investment in the opening of BT’s Security Operations Center in Belfast is significant and we look forward to working with the Northern Ireland Public Service through this partnership to provide the most effective for the public sector here.

“Using a wealth of local cyber expert talent, the SOC will help meet the unprecedented challenges of sophisticated cyber threats.

“As an increasing number of public services are delivered online, our partnership with central government will help ensure that the public can trust the services they access and that the data they provide is secure and protected.”

The service provided by BT plays an important role in collecting cyber threat intelligence and enables the public service to improve its ability to help defend and protect our IT systems and the essential public services we provide.

Paul Duffy, Civil Service of Northern Ireland

Paul Duffy, Director of Enterprise Shared Services at the Public Service, said, “Protecting the cybersecurity of government IT and infrastructure is vital.

“The service provided by BT plays an important role in collecting cyber threat intelligence and enables the public service to improve its ability to help defend and protect our IT systems and the essential public services we provide.”

BT operates an international network of security operations centres, employing over 3,000 cybersecurity professionals.