The Impact of Distributed Ledger Technology on the Cyber Security Industry

On The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined today by Marco Pineda, an international CISO with a particular specialism in the finance industry. Episode 10 saw us unpacking Marco’s 20 years of experience in information security and talking about the security impact of DLTs. Read on for his insights into the changes coming to the industry following recent concerns around blockchain and crypto. 

What does distributed ledger technology (or DLT) and its applications mean for the future of the global financial industry?

As far as DLT is concerned, you need to understand what the application is. They’re great technologies for environments with a low trust atmosphere, such as cross-border cooperation or between companies where you need an intermediary to provide that trust. It’s a very interesting kind of technology. One of the best uses of DLTs is cross-border customs and documentation for bills of trading. Each government has their own systems, and people need to know how to get documents across that each government will trust. 

What are the security challenges that these technologies present?

It’s mostly the distribution, but understanding and the maths behind it is certainly a challenge too. There’s the additional concern that your system might be sitting on top of other systems that you don’t control at all. That’s an interesting risk facet that might be unique to the DLT area, because if I put a ledger out there, by definition, somebody else is managing that ledger. They’ve got their own machine. They’re taking care of it themselves. It’s their copy of it. I haven’t yet heard a good risk analysis on what that actually means for a company. 

How can security frame itself more positively to help enterprises reach their financial goals, instead of being viewed as a cost centre?

We can take a cue from our colleagues who are trying to see how they fit in with the overall business strategy. You need to show your value to the company, which comes from looking at your portfolio of services / products, and seeing how they can support the business’ strategy. Take some initiatives here and there, offer people proposals. At the end of the day, you need to prove your direct business impact. That means doing things like protecting documents so that your business can ship information and do secure collaboration. Those are the things that security professionals can do that helps a business directly. Get creative, take a look at what your skill sets are, what your services have, and see how they might be able to support the business in their goals. 

To hear more about the impact of Cyber Security in your business, tune into the full episode of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Achieving the Future of Satellite Communications

On Episode 8 of the Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined by Ronald van der Breggen, the CCO at Rivada Space Networks. Ronald is a well known face in the satellite industry, and has been involved in a number of exciting projects and businesses over his career. He is also a key commentator on the state of the industry, and regularly shares his fascinating insights with his audiences. 

Ronald told us about the challenges facing the future of satellite communications and how we can work together as an industry to overcome them. 

What do you see as the most important challenge for the future of the industry?

We need to keep talent coming in, and we need to focus on getting investment. Starlink is another thing that scares me. The service was perfect for the first users, but now that things are starting to fill up people are seeing things being dropped, performance is going down and they’re nowhere near the number of subscribers they need to reach the targets that they were projecting a couple of years ago. That stuff scares me, because we need them to be successful. We need them to thrive so that people don’t start to shy away from it or think ‘this whole space thing was a bust’. If they do that, everybody in this industry is going to have a really hard time. 

Space is a fantastic industry with an enormous potential. Many of the problems that we see in the world today rely on large networks that reach every location on Earth, and can be solved using satellite infrastructure. We need to figure out how to translate that into our business cases, and establish what is already achievable. Our leaders have to keep the company floating, attract the right talent and get them enough money to keep satellite production going. We need to succeed together, because if we don’t, we risk everyone failing. 

Where do we need to make improvements in order to achieve that future?

Collectively as an industry, we need to find a better way to position ourselves in the larger data communication market. When we talk about satellite pricing, there still is this notion that we’ve got a lot of capacity and the demand is smaller. That means that there’s pressure for the price to go down. That’s a problem, because we need to keep investments up if we’re going to advance. 

Companies need to find a balance between using expensive, high-speed and secure connections to do the best for their business while keeping their costs down. It’s up to us to offer those solutions. How about sending part of your data over a constellation in space, that allows you to go from your research centre to headquarters without having to worry about anybody tampering with the data, simply because they don’t have access to it? People will want it because it saves a lot of money. 

You don’t need to use satellite tech for everything. Physical infrastructures are perfectly capable of hosting mundane tasks like downloading something from the internet, but if somebody wants to send the latest research findings to headquarters, then you should send it through a secure satellite infrastructure. People are more than happy to pay a premium for that security. 

It’s all about finding a niche where you can make a difference. People have said that I’m limiting myself to the business segment, but there’s more money there when you address people’s needs and problems, because that’s what they’re willing to pay for. It might be a niche in terms of the applications, but it’s a huge market in terms of the number of companies that are interested in it. 

What we need to do as an industry is pay more attention to the larger ecosystem. There are serious problems out there that people need real solutions for, and for some of them satellite systems are much better equipped to handle them than terrestrial systems. It’s rampant. The applications are there for gaming, high frequency trading, etc, we just need to find a way to meet those needs and communicate why we’re the best ones to do it. That would help our industry keep growing collectively.

To hear more about how the satellite industry is developing, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Exploring the Metaverse

The Metaverse is a huge topic in the content and media industry. There are plenty of split opinions about its uses as a tool for socialising, entertaining and working in a virtual space. On Episode 7 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined by Marianne Carpentier, the Chief Innovation and Technologies Officer at Newen Studios. Marianne has spent her career working within the content and media sector in varying roles, such as a producer, sales manager, head of development and director of marketing, as well as spending a long period of time as an author. She told us about her recent experience of using the Metaverse in a professional setting, and shared the lessons she learned from that experiment. 

What are you most excited about in the future?

The future in my head is super cool. The challenges in our future came from the new tools we’re seeing now. NFTs, the Metaverse and Viettel stages are all beautiful things that could completely reinvent the way we work. At the same time, we’re humans living on a planet which is being destroyed, and we are more and more separated. I am trying to link human capabilities with our virtual spaces to help us reach that future. I want to see that happen.

What are your thoughts on the metaverse, and how do you think it will change the industry?

The metaverse could help us reinvent the way to work. We are working from different places in the world, so we need to find ways we can work together. Zoom, Teams or Meet are not the right tool, but virtual spaces could reinvent the way to work together. The Metaverse could be a new place to be creative, because you don’t have limits in there. You can invent anything you want in real time, whether it’s new tools, new products, new stories… even new images. 

The metaverse isn’t ready for the public yet, but it will get there. It’s very easy to figure out that you could watch a movie in VR, because you have super sound quality and a great image inside your goggles, so it could revolutionise cinema. It could reinvent the cinema and entertainment business, so I’m excited to see where that goes. 

On the business side, I’ve done some fascinating experiments in my last recruiting campaign. I was looking for a Metaverse project manager, so I did everything inside and Metaverse. What was surprising is that I followed how I felt about the candidates, because I completely forgot about their image. In that environment you focus on what they’re saying, their voice and how they make you feel. Your intuition is really important because you’re looking for someone you are going to work with for a long time. The conversation itself was completely different because these young candidates used to be shy or they followed a very strict process to present themselves. Now they were just asking questions about our projects and the company. We began to feel comfortable together. We were better in the virtual space than in person. 

Do you think Interviewing in the metaverse was a success? 

It was a success, but I don’t think it works for every kind of recruitment. I was recruiting for a Metaverse project, so it made sense. I was looking for someone who feels comfortable in a virtual universe, so meeting people in their avatars showed me how comfortable they were with the tool. Those 30 minutes together meant you could learn things about each other that you don’t have time for in the real world. When you think about diversity and inclusion as well, the Metaverse is a great tool because girls in the Metaverse are much more confident. In the Metaverse you don’t have things like posture and body language, but that’s the point. You have to focus on something different. It puts everybody on the same level. I would use it again. 

To hear more about how Marianne’s work is building towards the future of the industry, tune in to Episode 7 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Prioritising Customer Experience in the Connectivity Industry

On Episode 6 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we sat down with Richard Hart, the Global Connectivity Director at Quectel. Richard’s career has spanned over 15 years, working with connectivity giant Vodafone before moving to Quectel in 2021 to lead their global connectivity proposition. We spoke to him about how focussing on customer experiences can bring the industry forwards. 

How do you approach customer experience as you scale up a quick sales connectivity business?

Customer experience has been our focus now for a long time. The customer is genuinely at the heart of every decision we make. Patrick, our co-founder and CEO, is always out talking to customers, and that feedback comes right back into the organisation. We value seeing the world through the customer’s eyes, understanding how what we do impacts the customer and how the customer subsequently behaves. Understanding those behaviours helps us shape their experience. You also need to accept that things go wrong, mistakes happen and technology crashes. Being honest about that and learning from it will make your customer’s experience better. They’ll trust you to fix it even when things do go wrong, because they know you won’t repeat the same mistakes. 

How would you ensure consistent customer experience when looking at a number of product lines which can be sold separately?

You have to take a step back and look at things holistically and understand the impact of the individual components. It’s important to understand that if you do something on one product, that will impact everything else as well. Whilst we put the customer at heart of everything, we still have a job to do. We still have a business to run. What we do is focus on collaborative working between departments and developing healthy behaviours. If you are going to deliver a superior customer experience than your competitors, you need a continual evolution of processes and services that meet your customer’s needs. Whenever you change things, think about how that impacts the customer, and communicate the changes clearly. 

What can be learned from having different interactions with a particular customer for different products?

Customers have three or four contact points with an organisation. Those contacts have to talk to each other, because the customer expects you to know what your colleague is doing and if it’s going to impact them. Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing? It should! From a competitive point of view, providing that information will keep you ahead, because again, it’s about good customer experience. That’s why internal communication is so important, because it allows you to feed back all the different points of view and build your team as a whole. 

What does a good customer experience actually look like?

We all have companies and brands that we think of as good and bad, so I try to get my team to think about that when they’re creating customer interactions. We all know what it feels like to have a positive experience with a company. Good customer experience is just the basics. It is about communication. It’s also admitting when you’ve got a problem. It’s being transparent in terms of ‘this is what we’ve done to ensure it doesn’t happen again’, or ‘we’re investigating a new follow up’. That’s all it is; doing right by people. 

There’s a standard that customers expect when they interact with you. Whether they use a phone or a self service platform, there are basic products and solutions that underpin your customer experience. Some things are really important to customers and if you understand what you’re supplying, you need to put service levels around that. Accommodating the customer experience is based on what vertical and solution it’s supporting. You need to get that infrastructure in place. 

To hear more about putting customers at the heart of your connectivity company, tune into the full episode of The Connectivity Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Unpacking Vulnerability Management 

On Episode 9 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we spoke to Jennifer Cox, the Head of Communications at Cyber Women Ireland, about her work with vulnerability management in the sector. Jennifer is a multi-award winning advocate for women in tech, using her knowledge to mentor women as they join the workforce. She also speaks at global events, bringing her expertise to a wider audience. 

Read on for Jennifer’s insights on vulnerability management in the Cyber Security industry.

What do you think are the three big takeaways on vulnerability management?

At the core of vulnerability management, you need to be able to identify where you’ve got problems. It’s not just laptops, it’s every device that’s possibly connected to the internet. You need to focus on what’s important to remediate first. Vulnerabilities are growing almost exponentially, but the teams that handle those issues aren’t growing the same way. The challenges are not always exclusive to the products that we sell – many times you’ve only got two people on the team, but 40,000 vulnerabilities that you need to fix. 

How do you think vulnerability management is changing in today’s world? 

What’s changed most dramatically since COVID is this overnight remote workforce. Companies no longer have control over every single device on the network, and more and more people are bringing their own device into the office. Companies still need to make sure that those devices are secure. When people are at home they often have wide open home networks. We’re improving education around vulnerabilities and teaching individuals how to put better practices in place at home. People forget that web applications are also vulnerability risks, so they haven’t included them when they’re doing the assessment of their mobile devices, which is a huge factor. Having a team to do vulnerability management within the team is probably the biggest change. 

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to vulnerability management as a whole?

Hands down it’s budgets and bodies. When you don’t get reports about anything going wrong and being fixed by the cybersecurity team, you often don’t appreciate that the team is doing a really great job. If you’re hearing from your cybersecurity team, then there’s a problem – they’re either understaffed or under-educated so they’re struggling to cope. That silence is a problem, because when companies are trying to strip back budgets, they’ll look at reducing that team because it’s quiet. That’s actually the worst thing that they can do, because that’s the team that’s protecting them the most.

The challenge has been resources all the way along. We don’t have enough people to remediate all these issues. What you’ll do in that case is educate your team on prioritisation using a scoring system called ‘CVSS score’. We also have an algorithm that we use called vulnerability prioritisation rating. It takes the CVSS score and a multitude of other different things into account. Based on all of these things, it tells us what is most likely to become a problem over X number of days. The struggle is that of 40,000 vulnerabilities, 30,000 of those are critical. I can’t remediate 30,000 vulnerabilities in a weekend, but that’s the only time I’m allowed to do it. Add to that things like needing a 99.9% uptime, restarting the server after patches, and that becomes a challenge in itself. 

To hear more about vulnerability management and the work that Jennifer is doing to improve diversity in the industry, listen to The Cyber Security Matters Podcast now. 

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Changing Behaviour in Content Consumption

On Episode 6 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined by Emilia Kasper, the Chief Operating Officer at 3SS. Amelia began her career as an engineer, then moved into project management before taking on the role of COO. Being highly ambitious, Amelia now leads the delivery unit for 3SS and is really passionate about using her commercial and communicative skills with her technical background to provide outstanding services for her customers. We talked about how content consumption is changing the industry as we know it. 

How do you think that the introduction of IP video has impacted the industry?

When I joined the industry, TV was all about cable and terrestrial distribution. At the time, IPTV was rather new and was more like an add on, but now live stream IP is the norm. That’s influencing consumer behaviour. In the past, people were consuming TV channels, whereas now they’re using catch up or recordings of specific shows. Another aspect of IP is the scalability and the possibility of decentralised distribution. That has opened up a multitude of production and content spreading possibilities. Everybody can be a content creator now.

What do you think the growth of the automotive space will have on content owners?

Automotive is a subject which has a lot of attention at the moment. 3SS had its own car upholstery in front of IBC, and we are seriously looking into that area as a platform. Automotive offers us a new screen and new ecosystem. When we talk about that ecosystem, there are multiple aspects to look at from the content owners point of view. The first is the distribution channels. A lot of the automotive OEMs have their own app stores, so  as a content owner you need to make sure that you are on the respective stores, just as you are on TV or mobile app stores. 

Content owners also need to consider format, because content needs to be optimised for this new platform. Mobile data is still costly in some countries, so how will consumers be streaming? When you’re on the move there may also be connectivity issues, and the content format needs to be adapted to enable a good consumer experience on the move. With automotive you’re in the backseat of a car, so there’s noise, distraction and movement to compete with. Content owners need to consider the consumer’s attention span in this context. They tend to watch this bite or snack sized content which is 10-15 minutes long and easy to consume. Content owners have to consider all of that and adapt the content. 

Do you think that one approach will become dominant in the automotive space?

I think in reality it will be a mixture, because everyone will want to keep the users engaged in their ecosystems. It’s a question of agreement between content providers and operators on how much data is shared by the content owners. If you don’t know and understand user behaviour, you can’t understand their preferences, so your recommendations are meaningless. People won’t be engaged long-term, so you’ll lose them as consumers. Even the big players like Netflix or Disney will have to allow their content on the aggregation platforms if they want to keep up with the changes in consumer behaviour. 

To hear more about the impact of changing consumer behaviour in the Content & Media industry, listen to the whole podcast episode here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Future of In-Home Connectivity

The Connectivity industry has been leaning towards the in-home market for some time. Improving networks and the development of Smart Home technology has seen consumer expectations rise, putting strain on service providers. On Episode 5 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we spoke to Shane Paola, the VP of sales at Plume Design, about how in-home technology is shaping the industry. Plume Design is creating a new category of Smart Home experiences, leveraging cloud and AI, which Shane unpacked with us. 

Read on to find out what challenges are currently facing in-home connectivity providers.

What’s the current state of the Connectivity industry?

It’s about the in-home experience right now. We’ve built these phenomenal networks, so customer expectations are extremely high, they want to add more devices into their homes than ever before. The rise of connected homes and devices within our clouds isn’t slowing down. People are embracing Smart Home technologies, so connectivity inside of the home is becoming increasingly important. Companies are trying to support the needs of customers on their Smart Home journey, while also delivering the experiences that people expect from the bandwidth they’re subscribing to. 

What are you most excited for about the future of the Connectivity industry?

It’s all heading for personalization and the in-home experience. One service provider has basically gone from managing five or six tariffs and cut it down to two. They’ve said, ‘Here’s our basic package, it’s £29.90 a month and you get this minimum level of service. Or there’s our max bundle.’ They’re not advertising speeds and feeds, they’re just saying, ‘We’re gonna give you the greatest in-home experience with the best WiFi mesh environment, covering your house with connectivity. You’ll always get the maximum available bandwidth when it’s provisioned in your area and you never have to worry about it.’ That’s a phenomenally bold and disruptive move, which I think the rest of the industry should look at. Customer dissatisfaction and negative experiences create a churn from one provider to another, which is a nightmare. Providers have to manage sunsetting tariffs and trying to move their customers onto new platforms as well as trying to retain their customers. It’s a great sign that companies are starting to move their focus on customer experience rather than the speeds and feeds.

Which use case would you find most useful in your home that you don’t currently have?

I want to see a Smart Home environment. Different vendors are building things that don’t necessarily interoperate with each other, so it’s hard to create an integrated system. There’s a fair bit of buzz around the new Matter system and its potential. IOT bodies are building towards the Matter framework, which will hopefully standardise things in terms of internet connectivity in Smart Home environments. What we’re missing is simplicity. Big companies typically compete at a device level or an application level, but they need to realise that for the best customer experience they need to collaborate. That’s what I want to see happen in my home.

To hear about the work Shane and Plume Design are doing to advance the industry, tune into the whole episode of The Connectivity Matters Podcast here. 

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How New Companies Can Compete With Legacy Businesses

On Episode 6 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined by Emile de Rijk, the CEO and co-founder of SWISSto12. Emile has successfully made the transition from academia to startup co-founder by taking his PhD in physics and applying it to the real world. They use patented 3D printing technology to create a range of RF products and systems, including a new HummingSat range. In this bite-sized blog we dive into Emile’s experiences of disrupting the Satellite & NewSpace industry as a small business, and tap into his expertise as a leader in our sector. Read on to hear his insights.

Your growing business is in an exciting phase of development. How do you keep growing?

We started small with an initial product in technology focus, but we’ve always been able to adapt to the market and the voice of the customer. There are always ideas and challenges to inspire us. In that respect we’ve moved from building single waveguides to full satellites. That gives away the DNA of the company, which is to always be ambitious, look at the next big problem that we can solve and then go do it pragmatically without debating it for ages. That creates an exciting working environment that enables us to take initiative and go one step further in solving complex problems and developing exciting products.

There are a number of small businesses trying to compete within the satellite industry, which is saturated with legacy businesses who have been around for a long time and have been successful. There is an ecosystem of smaller businesses like yourself trying to break into that space. Why do you think the satellite industry is like that?

The satellite industry has a huge entry barrier. If you sell a satellite, it’s not like you can send someone up there to repair it. The consequences of failure are huge and extremely expensive. You have to develop products that are proven and reliable, and that someone can trust with an investment. That’s the major entry barrier. To overcome that you just need to accumulate a lot of knowledge, partner up with the right companies and suppliers and build a product that will fulfil the mission. The nature of that technical difficulty is such that it makes it very difficult for newcomers to actually come in. 

It’s possible if you’re patient and thorough and you work hard, which is what we’ve done so far. It’s a very exciting business to get into, because coming up with great products that are engineered correctly and fulfil the needs of the customer is highly rewarded by the industry. 

The other way to get into this market is to not compete with the incumbents. Why? Because the incumbents are there for a reason. They have launch experience and they’ve optimised their products for decades. They have a great offering. Our strategy has never been to compete in that market, but rather to find new markets that are not addressed, where we can create a different product that is complementary to what the big incumbent players propose. 

On top of that, our way to get from a radiofrequency product manufacturer to a satellite manufacturer has been to team up with players and suppliers and reuse satellite subsystems that are not worth reinventing. We are really innovating around payload and RF technology, which is our focus. Our innovation is in developing a smaller spacecraft that fulfils different types of missions. We work with heritage and legacy suppliers and partners to procure all the subsystems that benefit from heritage and just need to be integrated differently into a smaller spacecraft to make it a success. It’s a very collaborative strategy within the Satellite ecosystem to build this new success around smaller geo satellite missions.

All in all, the trick to successfully entering the industry is to use it to your advantage by creating a space for yourself and working alongside those bigger legacy companies instead of against them. 

To hear more about Emile’s fascinating work in the Satellite & NewSpace industry, tune into the full episode of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Diversification of the Cyber Security Industry

On Episode 5 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we spoke to Sean Blenkhorn about his experiences in the Cyber Security industry. Sean has worked in cyber for over 20 years, and during that time he has held a variety of strategic leadership roles, from heading pre-sales to taking on Chief Product Officer and Chief Experience Officer positions. Sean is currently Worldwide VP of Sales Engineering for Axonius, where he takes a proactive role in encouraging diversity in the sector, both in the upcoming technologies and in his teams. 

Do you see the diversification and expansion of the security market as a trend is set to continue?

The macroeconomic conditions we’re seeing today will have an impact on that, undoubtedly. We’ll continue to see companies tighten their belts and have to make tough decisions from time to time. There may even be tightening around companies that are getting investment from the VC or private equity firms. However, the industry will continue to grow. Even given all of the macro economic conditions, we’re still seeing good growth compared to businesses outside of technology or security. It’s not as fast as what we want to see, but it’s still crazy growth. You have to keep things in perspective. Tech is the future, and people will want to protect that.

There are still so many opportunities and technologies out there to look at and get involved with. Innovation happens in the startup world, which is where you see diversification come in. People from all over are having these ideas and disrupting the market with their new tech. Typically the model is that the smaller companies innovate, then the larger companies acquire that innovation and take it to the broader market, hopefully in a way that doesn’t destroy the innovation. That’s the way the industry evolves.

How can we diversify the people within the cyber security profession?

It’s going to happen by continuing to break down the barriers. Organisations need to put a real effort into creating diversity. It’s people like myself who are in managing roles and leadership roles that need to focus on diversity. You need to look at your team and understand what’s going to be valuable, and having that diversity of opinions, views and experiences is really important. It’s not just limited in terms of women getting into the roles, but also enabling them to climb the ladder within an organisation. Diversity thrives when leadership organisations put commitment into diversity in that way too. 

We need to build the future generation and we need to have the teams and resources ready to come up behind us. We’re working with educational institutions and working with our teams to make sure that when we’re working with recruiting firms and internal recruiters that we put real emphasis on looking for diversity in our candidates. It starts from the top down, but there’s also the bottom up route of making sure that we’re supporting the next generation of kids. We need to be showing them what those opportunities are in this industry, and that there’s opportunity for everyone. We have to promote diversity at the grassroots level as well.

To hear more news and insights into the cyber security industry, tune into The Cyber Security Matters Podcast from neuco now.

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Including Women in the Cyber Security Industry

Diversity is at the forefront of discussions in recruitment, and in Episode 7 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we spoke to Karla Reffold about how we can diversify the sector. Karla is the General Manager at Orpheus Cyber, a Board Advisor and American Cyber Award judge. She has also founded and sold two award winning businesses in the cybersecurity industry, hosted her own podcast, and was one of the top three finalists in the Entrepreneur of the Year category at the Cyber Security Women of the Year awards in 2022. Read on to hear her perspectives on improving representation in the Cyber Security industry. 

Do you think you’ve faced barriers in the industry that your male counterparts haven’t?

It’s hard to know when things aren’t explicit. One of the stories that I tell is from a couple of years ago, when I’d sold the business. I worked in the company that bought us and one of my new colleagues said, ‘You leave early every day to pick your kids up, it must be nice being part time.’ I worked every evening and I was in the office earlier than almost everybody else; I worked a lot of hours. That comment really annoyed me, and I called him out on it. I complained about it and he apologised, but the feeling was that it wasn’t a big deal, I should get over it. I definitely felt that from then on I was seen as a little bit difficult, and that’s really unfair. 

I’m glad I spoke out about it, because there are other people that weren’t in a senior position who wouldn’t have felt that they could say anything. I do feel a responsibility, given that I have a platform and some seniority, to call those things out, even when it’s uncomfortable or they seem small. That one stands out to me, maybe not as a barrier but like one of those negative experiences.

Do you think big vendors and individuals within cybersecurity do enough to tackle the lack of diversity in our market?

I’m not sure vendors do, I think teams do when their clients care about it. What’s interesting now is that you’re seeing a lot of the VCs and private equity firms ask about your diversity stats. They see it as a risk, that’s a really interesting change. Money drives these decisions. It’s relatively easy to stick a load of women in marketing, HR and maybe sales. That’s partly reflective of where the market is right? You can’t always hire people that don’t exist. I don’t see the drive coming from vendors as much as I see it coming from internal security teams.

How has the representation of women changed since you started your career?

It’s definitely improved. I joke that I don’t want it to improve too much because I don’t want to queue for the bathroom. It’s changed across the board. There’s a lot of young women who are studying something cyber related. I think the biggest change for me in the last couple of years has been how many men support diversity initiatives and how many men talk about things. If you’re a man, particularly if you’re a parent, you can now talk about picking your kids up or dropping them at school and I needing some flexibility. That really makes it safe for everybody to do that. I’ve seen some really big positive changes in that way.

What else do you think can be done to encourage minorities into the sector more broadly?

Consider what images you’re using. I haven’t used that image of a man in a hoodie in a dark room for five years, because it’s telling people what we are as an industry. Let’s not have that type of image. That makes a difference. Get rid of degrees as one of your requirements. If you’re getting 300 applicants, you are looking for ways to rule people out rather than rule them in, but white men are earn engineering degrees at 11 times the rate of black women here, so if you’re putting degrees into your hiring process, you are just building in economic discrimination. We know that affects different races differently, so get rid of that. Think about your culture too. Stop making this a recruitment problem. It’s not just ‘Hey, recruitment company, go find me a diverse list of candidates’. It’s actually considering what do you do with those people once you’ve got them. How inclusive is your culture? And how do you make everybody feel like they can be authentic at work? Those are my three quick takeaways.

To get more in-depth about diversity in the industry, tune in to The Cyber Security Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Creating Gender-Diverse Communities in the Cyber Security Industry

On The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we often talk about diversity. On Episode 8 of the podcast we spoke to Alexandra Godoi, the Information Security GRC Lead at Oxfam, about the work she does to actively improve gender diversity in the industry. Alexandra was named as one of the Top 30 Female Cyber Security Leaders of 2022, thanks to her work as a speaker and panellist at conferences and her role in increasing awareness around the need for cybersecurity in the world of NGOs. 

Read on to learn more about reducing the gender imbalance in our industry!

What do you think can be done to increase women’s voices and presence in a company?

Designs should influence a company’s decisions in developing products. It’s not just about listening to the women in your company, because they might not have a full picture. Go through that route of participatory design, which is where you go and ask the community, ‘What do you think about this? How would this impact your life? Do you have any concerns?’ Actually talk to people – that will help everybody move towards having security and privacy by design. We have a lot to learn from each other. 

What do you think it means to be a woman in cyber?

I don’t particularly see myself as a woman in cybersecurity, I’m just somebody that works in cybersecurity who cares about human rights issues. I don’t think we should focus on this disparity between men and women, because I’m not doing anything differently than my male counterparts. We’re all here to do our jobs.

What can be done to help address the digital gender gap and internet access imbalance?

There are different aspects that we can look at when we’re talking about the digital gender gap. One of the points that I’ve seen being made is the fact that there are not enough women in STEM, for example, but it runs deeper than that. It depends on the context and where in the world we’re talking about. A good example is that in India and Pakistan, access to technology like mobile phones is reserved to the man of the house. Because of this, women don’t have access to the digital space in the way that their male counterparts do. 

The way technology is designed also puts a lot of pressure on the end user. You are expected to know how a computer works, you’re expected to know what a virus is and how to protect yourself, you’re expected to know that you need to set up strong passwords. Not everybody has access to the same level of education around those topics. Putting that pressure on the end user is not a fair point to start with, because you’re making the assumption that everybody who uses technology has access to equal opportunities.

Diversity is being used as a checkbox by tech giants. How do you think they can better level that diversity playing field?

Creating industry standards for security could be a way to push diversity as a non-political agenda. It is slightly political, because we’re talking about human and digital rights, but it is a way to push for more inclusivity. If we come up with a standard that means security risks are taken into consideration from the get-go, we should push for that, because it removes the pressure from end users and makes the digital space more equitable. 

To hear more about the work that Alexandra and Oxfam are doing to promote human rights in the Cyber Security space, tune into the full episode of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Space in the Future

We recently sat down with Laurynas Mačiulis on The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast, where we talked about the future of the NewSpace industry. Laurynas is best known for launching Lithuania’s first satellite, which sparked the NewSpace company NanoAvionics. Today, NanoAvionics is one of the largest small satellite mission integrators in the world. But Laurynas Mačiulis didn’t stop there. In 2019 he helped co-found Astrolight, an advanced laser communication system for space, where he remains the CEO. With those credentials it’s easy to see why his thoughts on the future of space are so interesting!

What is the future for space?

There are always people who are pessimistic about investing anything in space, who think they should just make life better on Earth. We don’t need to put in a contradiction, we can do two things together. We can progress in space without sacrificing life on Earth or taking away from progress on Earth. It’s really complimentary. 

The philosophical question of ‘What is our future in space?’, even without the worry that something bad would happen here, is always really interesting. Our destiny as a species is actually to go further and explore. We don’t need to stop on Earth, we need to go further. I think that’s our destiny. Space transportation is probably the technology that will have to pave the way for this ability. Exploring whether life exists on other planets is a fascinating question that needs to be answered. 

When the space shuttle transportation technology reaches a level where it is affordable, space travel, space tourism, asteroid mining, building hotels in space, and maybe some remote colonies in other space stations and other planets is going to happen. When that happens, the other stepping stone will also be how to communicate, because we would need to be in touch. Information is something that connects us. Laser communication will play an important role there to actually enable that. 

Do you think people living in space is something that’ll happen in our lifetime?

I definitely think that we would have more of a presence in space. It’s my dream to see people landing on Mars. That would be a very important milestone in our evolution as a species. Even such simple things like giving ordinary people the chance to see from space would be a fantastic achievement, because I would compare it with the moments in our history where part of our civilization went to the other lands. There were some bad things that happened with that, but there were also a lot of good things where new ideas emerged. We could also see some very interesting developments from societies living in space and maybe coming up with better ways to organise society. The fragile connection that we have between space and earth is the transformational feeling that astronauts are always talking when they see Earth. Imagine if everybody could feel that, I think that could change our whole attitude to life. Fundamentally, I’m quite optimistic about space travel. It’s not just for a million years’ time, it’s definitely the goal for my lifetime.

To hear more about the work that Laurynas is doing to advance the NewSpace industry, tune into the full episode of The Satellite & NewSpace Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.