Former Head of Cyber Warfare, Major General (Ret’d) Marcus Thompson AM, has been tapped to provide advisory services to the ASX-listed telecommunications company.
Macquarie Telecom Group has announced the appointment of former head of the Australian Defence Force’s information warfare division, Major General (Ret’d) Marcus Thompson, AM, PhD, as senior adviser within the company’s newly established federal government advisory board.
Thompson joins the group following 34 years of service in the Australian Defence Force, which included a stint as the inaugural head of the Information Warfare Division (IWD), where he was tasked with protecting Australia’s military assets and information from foreign cyber attack.
Reflecting on his appointment, Thompson said he joined Macquarie to advance three key causes — prioritising Australia’s national cyber security defence; moving Australia’s digital supply chain onshore to protect sovereign information; and building sovereign cyber capability.
“Macquarie shares my view that cyber security needs to transform from a fleeting thought in the national psyche to an issue that is front and centre with the private sector, government and the population at large. In my previous role I’ve seen first-hand just how important cyber security is to every aspect of our society,” he said.
“The government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 was a step in the right direction. It has put greater maturity into conversations about cyber security.
“Australia needs board members and executive teams to develop their expertise in cyber security further, and to cement cyber as a central business operational risk – one that’s mission critical to corporate planning.”
The appointment comes amid a ramp up in efforts to bolster the nation’s cyber defences in response to a rise in attacks, particularly off the back of the COVID-19 crisis.
“The fact remains that most of the time we don’t know where our data is stored or who can access it. Much less the laws to which the companies storing and accessing it are subject,” Thompson added.
“The risk this poses to our cyber security and data protection are very real. It necessitates the use of digital supply chain providers that are majority Australian owned and operated and subject to sovereign controls.”
The new appointee went on to urge Australians to prioritise local technology, cloud and cyber security providers in a bid to develop local industry, generate jobs and bolster capability.
“The government is doing this with defence industry through major procurement of land and naval platforms. It should do the same in cyber where we are already served by local industry capability that is world-class,” he said.
Macquarie Telecom Group CEO David Tudehope welcomed Thompson’s appointment, noting his suitability for the advisory role.
“Marcus embodies what we value most – maximising Australia’s sovereign skills and capabilities, and keeping Australian data stored and protected onshore,” Tudehope said.
“Collectively, we need to amplify the voices of experts like Marcus who have dedicated their careers to protecting Australia’s people and our way of life.”
The appointment follows the launch of Macquarie Telecom Group’s $17 million IC5 government-certified data centre in Canberra, set to house "highly-classified" Commonwealth government data, including sensitive material stored by the Department of Defence.