The Humane Side of Cybersecurity
The quality of cyber security does not only depend on servers, routers and software, but also especially on people. That is the vision of the Estonian cyber security company CybExer. To promote this vision internationally, Merle Maigre, Executive Vice President for Government Relations, and Murray Davidson, Chief Technology Officer, were appointed as directors of CybExer International in addition to their permanent positions. With the help of InnovationQuarter and The Hague Security Delta, they open the first foreign CybExer office in The Hague. A valuable addition to the Dutch cyber security landscape.
With training, workshops and practical exercises, CybExer helps companies and organisations, including NATO and all EU defense ministries, prepare for a potential cyber attack. One of the products that the company developed is the CybExer Range Platform (CRP), which simulates a lifelike cyber war geared to the specific organisation. According to Davidson "This simulation lowers the threshold for learning more about cyber security. It is a safe, accessible and realistic way to improve cyber skills for employees from all departments."
It is this human approach in particular that makes CybExer innovative and distinctive, the two directors say. "By minimizing the risk factors of human behavior, we can quickly and effectively anticipate cyber attacks," explains Maigre. "That is why we believe that our working method is one of the most advanced in improving cyber security, also thanks to the technology that we develop and use for this." Such as the aforementioned CRP.
Davidson: "The cloud platform offers organisations the opportunity to practice on demand. The assignments vary in difficulty. For example: securing a system within four hours. You receive feedback after every assignment.” He compares the importance of such training material with that of an aircraft simulator, in which a pilot must regularly practice. "You only learn this in the field."
CybExer strives for optimum safety of society. Davidson: "We achieve this by increasing resilience, alertness and preparedness at institutions on which we all depend, such as government bodies and hospitals." Maigre emphasises the economic importance of that resilience. "The quality of cyber security influences the prosperity of an entire country. We noticed that in 2017 with the cyber attack on the Danish transport and energy company Maersk, which resulted in a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars and hit many different sectors. These and other attacks confirm that it is not the question whether an attack will take place, but when. And that it does not only affect the affected company, but the national economy and the cohesion between government and business."
Maigre: "The level of knowledge is very high in this region; there is a lot of talent and the Dutch government is very experienced."
Davidson: "There is a separate version for each country, with adapted language and cultural aspects. For example, by simulating the local situation, the training courses become more relevant. We will first do that for the Netherlands, and if that goes well, we will expand the model to neighboring countries. For example, The Hague will soon also be a hub for international partnerships for us."