Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald has said that there is a huge opportunity for Ireland to be at the leading edge of the global cyber-security industry.
Speaking today at the Irish Independent's Dublin Information SEC cyber-security event, Minister Fitzgerald described the issue of cyber-security as "complex" and said it demands a very nuance response.
However the Minister noted that there were opportunities as well as challenges for Ireland in this area.
Currently the cyber-security industry employs around 6,000 people here, and the top five worldwide security software companies are located in Ireland.
With the ever-increasing threat from hackers, Minister Fitzgerald said that there was an opportunity to create a self-sustaining cyber-security ecosystem here, one where indigenous small and medium enterprises and multinationals could work together. This represented a chance to make Ireland a real centre of excellence in this space.
Citing the importance and the power of data, Minister Fitzgerald noted that the processing power that such data supports is "extremely significant".
"Our role, as a location for so much of the European data economy, puts Ireland in a unique position. For a start, we are home to significant operations of the world’s leading cyber-security firms, both because they want to serve those other companies based here, and to sell their services across the rest of the EU," Minister Fitzgerald said.
The Minister also used the occasion to confirm that she would be working with small and medium enterprises to ensure that they were ready for the introduction of the new General Data Protection Scheme ('GDPR').
"There are a lot of recourse implications for business, I don't underestimate the challenge facing all of you as far as this area is concerned.
"Any threat to the integrity and confidentiality of data systems pose a real risk to society and our economy," Minster Fitzgerald said.
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