Dublin schools get $500,000 IBM grant to boost cybersecurity

25 Oct 2022

Students Kayleigh Baker, Pavel Trigub, Charlie Caroll and Nikolas Suokas from Larkin Community College in Dublin. Image: Fennell Photography

IBM is donating $500,000 to schools and colleges in Dublin city as part of its global cybersecurity preparedness programme.

The City of Dublin Education and Training Board (ETB) has received a donation of $500,000 from IBM to boost its cybersecurity preparedness.

The ETB operates 24 schools and colleges around the city, serving more than 48,000 learners.

It is one of 10 education providers globally to have received a donation from IBM. The tech giant is providing a total of $10m in support to schools across the world this year as part of its Education Security Preparedness Grant programme.

Each grant will sponsor IBM service corps volunteers to address the selected school districts’ cybersecurity resiliency. They will help schools proactively prepare for cyberattacks and boost their cyber resiliency.

This could include the creation of incident response plans, ransomware playbooks, updating technology, cybersecurity training and more.

“Ransomware operators are increasingly setting their sights on schools and colleges, putting more pressure on these institutions to prioritise their cybersecurity,” said Deborah Threadgold, IBM Ireland country general manager.

“The team at IBM Security here in Ireland are looking forward to partnering with City of Dublin ETB over the coming months to build cyber resilience and address any gaps in cybersecurity planning and preparedness.”

This is the second year IBM has run the programme and the first time an Irish education provider has benefitted.

“The new partnership between City of Dublin ETB and IBM will help us protect our learners and staff from unwanted cyber threats impacting on the educational services we deliver,”  said Blake Hodkinson, director of Further Education and Training at City of Dublin ETB.

“It will allow us to confidently continue to develop innovative digital learning techniques. It will also reassure learners that their data is safe with us.”

Cybersecurity is also coming into Irish schools in another way. A pilot cybersecurity course for Junior Cert students is being extended to more locations across the country. The short course was launched last year in a select number of schools, teaching basic cybersecurity skills and helping students find out more about careers in the sector.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.