Request for Quotation (RFQ) – AgriFutures National Rural Issues Program

Cyber security threats – are we prepared?

This Request for Quotation (RFQ) is seeking services for the project Cyber security threats- are we prepared?, as part of the AgriFutures National Rural Issues program.

The aim of this project is to provide rural industries with an understanding of cyber vulnerabilities specific to digital agriculture and agricultural infrastructure.

The work should provide practical information and best practice guidance to producers on the protections available.

The Cyber security threats – are we prepared?  RFQ closes 12noon Tuesday, 3 November 2020.

Background

As rural industries increasingly adopt digital technology and solutions, a new threat is emerging – security of processes and data.  Given the interconnectedness of devices through seemingly innocent websites and emails, the weakest link in the chain can result in security breaches with potentially devastating consequences.

Experience shows that cyber criminals are looking for sectors and organisations which are digitally exposed, and which might not have built adequate defences.

According to a recent publication issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the agricultural community is particularly at risk of hacking, viruses, and other theft due to the recent proliferation of software packages it uses.

Cyber security threats on farm can be far reaching and include areas such as; access to infrastructure (controls for intensive livestock sheds for example), personal privacy, proprietary information (sensitive farm information), and IP (skills, knowledge and data from farming systems).  Even a short outage can result in significant business and animal welfare consequences.  There is also potential for data manipulation, misreporting and reputational damage.

The opportunity exists to learn from strategies implemented by other industries such as healthcare (ransomware threats), government agencies (data mining and identity theft) and the energy industry (hackers disrupting energy supplies to then access other sectors e.g. defence).  Greater awareness of the strategies deployed by high profile targets enables rural industries to “learn from the best” and implement appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

Ultimately, rural industries need to understand their own cyber fragility and prepare accordingly.

This work is designed to provide improved understanding of cyber threats to rural and allied businesses.  For example, agricultural technology developers need to be fully aware of threats and include appropriate protections during product design stages.

Project requirements

This work seeks to:

  • Explore the general level of understanding and awareness of cyber threats across Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.
  • Identify sectors or business types at greatest risk (most cyber fragile) and the most likely threats (e.g. hacking, ransomware, phishing).
  • Explore the current levels of cyber protection being deployed across Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors, with particular attention on high risk sectors/businesses.
  • Find and document examples of best practice in high risk sectors and lessons for Australia’s rural industries.
  • Examine the degree to which current cyber security related programs and projects are focussing on rural industries. In particular, this should consider national and state government cyber security initiatives and whether there is recognition of the importance of cyber security in rural industries from the perspective of domestic and global food security.
  • Recommend mechanisms for extending the outputs of this work and, most importantly, encouraging adoption.

It is anticipated a number of relevant case studies (three to five) will be included to demonstrate benefit to cost ratio of implementing cyber security measures.

Project deliverables

The results of this work are to be presented in a final report. Other extension and adoption tools, including fact sheets, webinars, and digital footage that could be effectively utilised to improve awareness and uptake of the report findings should also be identified during the project and included in milestone reports.  These tools may form the basis of a project variation or be the subject of a subsequent RFQ.

The final report will be developed using AgriFutures Australia’s National Rural Issues report template in word format to be designed by AgriFutures Australia. Consideration should be given to the intended outputs of the report, including the development of producer fact sheets, tips and tools. No design costs for the summary should be built into the quotation.

Timeline

DateActivity
16 October 2020RFQ applications open
3 November 2020RFQ applications close
23 November 2020Expected execution of contract or issue of agreement
23 February 2021Expected project completion date

AgriFutures Australia believes that the project should be completed within three months. If a longer timeframe is required, the Tenderer should explain why that is the case.

Terms of reference

By submitting an application, respondents acknowledge that they are willing to accept the terms and conditions set out in the Provider Agreement.

The Respondent agrees that AgriFutures Australia may accept or decline to accept the Respondent’s Quotation in its discretion. No commitments or contract exists until a contract in the form of the Provider Agreement is executed by both parties. The Respondent agrees that AgriFutures Australia is not required to enter into any contract in connection with the RFQ.

The Respondent agrees that participation in any stage of the RFQ process is at the Respondent’s sole risk and cost.

Acceptance of a Quotation will occur only when an Agreement is issued or a contract is executed.

AgriFutures Australia, at its discretion, may discontinue this RFQ, decline to accept any Quotation, decline to issue any contract or satisfy it requirement separately from this RFQ process.

How to make a submission

AgriFutures Australia business with the applicant is facilitated by the online project management system Clarity. This system manages all stages of project administration.

Quotation’s must be submitted online using Clarity. As part of their submission, respondents are required to attach the completed milestone template in Clarity.

Users must create a Clarity account before submitting a proposal.

If you have previously submitted an application via Clarity please use your existing name and password alternatively if your organisation already exists in Clarity, please use the New User Request online form and we will assign your profile to that organisation.

If your Research Organisation does not already exist in Clarity, or you are unsure, please use the New User and Company Creation Request to create a New Research Organisation and User account simultaneously.

Submissions close 12noon (AEDT) Tuesday, 3 November 2020.

Contact

If you have any questions about the RFQ process or requirements in the management services, please contact:

Jane Lovell
Manager, National Rural Issues
jane.lovell@agrifutures.com.au