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CISOs, Chief Security Professionals gather ahead of ITWeb Security Summit

By Tracy Burrows

Johannesburg, 01 Jun 2022
BCX CEO Jonas Bogoshi.
BCX CEO Jonas Bogoshi.

ITWeb’s Security Summit mega event – back as a live event in 2022 – kicked off on Monday evening with an exclusive CISO and Chief Security Professionals’ dinner at the Da Vinci Hotel on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton.

Hosted by ITWeb in partnership with the Security Summit’s event sponsor BCX, the gathering marked the start of the information security sector’s definitive annual conference and exhibition, which opened at the Sandton Convention Centre on Tuesday.

CISOs from leading public and private sector organisations enjoyed the opportunity to regroup in-person over dinner, sharing their experiences of the new challenges they faced since the start of the pandemic and setting the scene for key themes to come under discussion at the Summit.

The CISOs acknowledged that the pandemic had changed the work environment, with cyber crime spiking and cyber criminals becoming increasingly sophisticated. Among the top issues keeping them awake at night now were ensuring business resilience in a changed world, privacy and POPIA compliance, third party risk, and moving from a reactive to a proactive security posture with limited highly skilled cyber security resources.

People and culture were also a key concern. Said one CISO: “No matter how much I invest in cyber security, people remain the weakest link – I lose sleep wondering how to change user behaviour.” Another noted that business leaders often had a poor grasp of the real cyber security risks facing organisations, and it was difficult to get budget and board buy-in for cyber security spend. “I dread being asked ‘how secure are we?’ by executives,” said another.

Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of BCX, said it was a global problem that many executives at board level do not understand cyber security risks. “When few people at board level understand cyber security, we all need to be worried,” he said. “Everything is online, so everything is under threat. The board’s understanding of risk has to move from risk in general to cyber crime in particular.”

Greg Day, VP & global CISO at Cybereason and keynote speaker at the Security Summit plenary, said: “Board members now want to understand what cyber security means. As professionals in this industry, we need to quantify what our world means to them.”

Bogoshi said BCX’s security specialists had noted a significant increase in cyber crime in the past two years. “As a result, we have invested in developing new cyber security capabilities and partnerships – such as our partnership with Cybereason – to support our customers across security advisory and governance, managed security services and detection and monitoring services.”

Dr Lydia Kostopoulos , SVP emerging tech insights at Security Summit diamond sponsor KnowBe4, said four key factors were influencing the world of cyber security now: the pandemic, the Russia–Ukraine war, the business situation in China and Russia, and countries seeking to mitigate supply chain risks by bringing business home. “The way we have modelled for cyber threats in the past is not fit for purpose in a hybrid work environment with global workforces,” she noted. “The other key trends will all have potential fallouts for cyber security, as we are all connected.”

These trends and top priorities have come under discussion at the 17th annual Security Summit, which is being held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 31 May to 2 June, returning to an in-person format with hybrid access after two years of being a virtual event during the pandemic.