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(No) More pasta! Kicking off the security workpackage

The beginning of 2019 is a kick-off season in the GN4-3 project, with many meetings taking place all over Europe. WP8 (Security work package) is not an exception. On 29th to 30th January 2019, 40 security specialists from 19 organisations and 14 countries, got together in Rome for the first time to meet each other and plan the upcoming work. We were kindly hosted by GARR, which also created the possibility for the GARR security team to join the discussions.

Although there were various security topics across the project previously, it is only now that it was added as a separate work package, so many of the people have not previously met or worked together. Therefore, the purpose of the kick-off was two-fold: not to only work out the activities for this year for each task in more detail, but also to get to know each other and figure out how we can best work together.

After general discussions about the project and the work package, we spent the second part of day one working on better understanding each other’s strengths and improving team performance. We held two pasta challenges (as you do in Rome) – one planned and one unexpected. First, all teams were competing in building the highest spaghetti challenge. Second, there were 3 (!) pasta dishes served during the dinner, so the challenge here was who can eat the most pasta?

These pasta challenges created an open and creative atmosphere which helped the task leaders to jump-start their projects and work out detailed plans for the first year of the project. Reporting back at the closing plenary session revealed some common threads.

All tasks will proactively reach out to the NRENs, including those that are not project participants, to gather good practices and to disseminate lessons learned and products and services developed in the project. This will be done by the means of simple health checks, workshops, trainings, roadshows and site visits. We will be aiming not only at sharing the good practices, but also at explaining how NOT to do things, eliminating bad practices that are all too common.

During the two days, we often talked about the importance of collaboration, since there is a lot of expertise outside of our work package circle. For it not to be just an empty word, we will be actively reaching out to other security collaborations in the community, experts in various organisations, looking at what is already available and collecting feedback on ideas, products and services.

More information on the work package, separate tasks and our plans for the first year – available now on the GÉANT wiki.

So, here’s to good collaboration, improved cyber security and (No) More Pasta!

By Sigita Jurkynaite & Alf Moens, Security Workpackage Leaders