In response to the current IT skills shortage Australia's first authorised Internet security training centre opened in Melbourne on Wednesday offering accredited courses to organisations in the Asia-Pacific region.
As the only VeriSign-certified training centre outside the US, demand for training to deploy secure e-commerce applications is huge, according to eSign Australia managing director, Gregg Rowley.
"We predict hundreds of organisations will use the centre over the next 12 months and have been approached by companies as far afield as Pakistan; security is one of the key drivers in e-commerce take-up and the centre will help ensure Australians have the skills to meet the growing demand for PKI (public key infrastructure) expertise," Rowley said.
The training centre is located within the company's regional operations centre, one of the most secure private-sector data locales in the southern hemisphere, which resembls a high-security military installation.
The first training course starts on March 19, with the centre's training manager, Leanne Fleming -- a former information systems supervisor for the Australian Army -- meeting "the tactical and technical requirements of the defence force".
Banks and government are expected to ue the centre and Rowley concedes it could play a role in addressing the exodus of computer crime specialists from police agencies to private industry.
The centre's operations and security manager David Caldwell spent 20 years in the Victoria Police before joining the company and said there are only two remaining officers in the state's 10-member computer crime squad that haven't moved to the private sector.
"Four of the computer crime squad have moved over here to eSign," he said.
To ensure the centre met security standards, it was examined by both ASIO and the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD).
Caldwell said materials used in construction of the centre are checked, along with door, wall and floor depth.
He describes security at the centre as an "onion" with the data centre at the very heart of the centre having layers of authentication that increase in each section.
"We utilise biometric hand scanners and other technology; the managing director can't even access the data centre without me as an escort; even the banks comment on this level of security but we are in the business of trust so it has to be a secure environment," Caldwell said.
Officially opening the training facility the parliamentary secretary to the IT Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, was taken on a tour. When being shown how to use the hand scanner he confidently assured everyone: "I know, I know I've seen the Mission Impossible movie."