January 14, 2020: CIONET is one of the exclusive network partner associations of Command Control. In advance of the summit we spoke to Tobias Frydman, the founder and managing director of CIONET Germany, about the security issues that will be of most concern to the network in 2020 and what he understands by cyber resilience, the central theme of Command Control.
Please could you start by giving us a brief overview of CIONET?
Frydman: CIONET is an independent and international network of digital leaders with 8,000 members from 24 countries. Most of them are from Europe, but we are also strongly represented in Central and South America. It is important to us that CIOs are also members where CIONET is located. For example, 90 to 95 percent of our members are actually CIOs, or their direct reports such as CISOs. The remaining 5 to 10 percent of members are representatives from research and academia who are closely involved with IT-related issues or leadership along with corporate managers from the IT and communications sectors, to whom as business partners we enable exclusive access to our platform.
The network supports CIOs by offering them a protected platform for knowledge sharing and for mutual assistance and support which also provides them with a future-oriented perspective. This is why our slogan is What’s Next? This means that we not only focus on today’s problems and challenges but also in particular on the challenges of the future. And of course, the main focus is digitization. A crucial factor in this regard is the cultural change in corporations in which CIOs are acquiring a leading role.
What is the significance of security for your members and for the work of CIONET?
Frydman: It is very important. Every year we conduct a survey amongst our members on the issues that will be of particular importance to them in the year ahead. In the past cybersecurity has always been in the top three. And once again in 2020 this issue, alongside “digital added-value” will continue to be at the very top of our members’ priority list. The following questions are of particular importance to them:
The central theme of Command Control 2020 is cyber resilience. What do you understand by this approach?
Frydman: In my opinion there are two ways of interpreting cyber resilience. One is the traditional, more passive approach. In other words, a company – rather casually – attempts to ward off the external “evil” as best it can. In practical terms this means protecting itself against known threats. The problem is that in such cases a strategy is frequently developed that is based primarily on past experiences. However, no other issue has demonstrated how quickly technology continues to develop as cybersecurity. Such a passive approach should therefore only be the minimum that companies should undertake. In view of the advancing technology and the aggressivity of attackers, I advise a more active resilience approach by attempting to anticipate “the evil”. Specifically, this means developing strategies and solutions which, true to the motto “attack is the best form of defense”, are always one step ahead of the attackers. Therefore, cyber resilience comprises considerably more than just cybersecurity. It can almost be described as a “cultural change” which must ensure that, even during a cyber-attack, all corporate processes are able to continue to function as they should. Everyone in the company from top management to the shop floor, the various departments and the eco-system of the company must consistently contribute to the implementation of such strategies.
Why is an event format like Command Control attractive for CIONET and its members?
Frydman: Sustained digitization is not possible without solid cybersecurity. Super fancy things can indeed be developed, but if care is not taken to effectively protect the data and information of the company, customers and employees this only has very little value. Corporate managers must therefore understand where their cyber resilience challenges lie and how they can best tackle them. For this reason, it is very helpful to find out more about how other companies and sectors handle this issue. This is exactly what Command Control can offer. In my opinion the most exciting aspect of the event is its interactive element. One good example of this is the session with the CIO of Maersk, Adam Banks. Maersk had to overcome one of the most famous cybersecurity challenges of the last few years with the NotPetya case. That Adam Banks is not only speaking at the event about the incident and the lessons learned, but that our CIOs and other attendees can discuss these issues with him directly, offers extra added value.
I also find it very positive that Command Control not only wants to be a platform for C-level representatives from the “IT-Corner” such as CIOs and CISOs but is also targeting other board representatives and top decision-makers. This is due to the fact that cybersecurity is now so important and complex that is has to be of the utmost priority for the entire board up to the CEO. I am already looking forward to insightful conversations and meeting exciting new contacts.
Get here for more information about our network partner CIONET