July 25, 2019

ScaleFocus Partners with SRH University Berlin to Educate World-Class Cyber Security Engineers

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Cyber security threats are rising and are becoming more dangerous for the business. We at ScaleFocus believe that we can help with our knowledge and expertise. That is why we started the Cyber Security Training Academy program at SHR University Berlin.

All the details follow:

  • Malicious cyber security attacks are becoming a more common and complicated threat for businesses of different types and sizes.
  • There is a huge gap between the budgets that a big corporate conglomerate and SME can invest for security, but the threats are equally dangerous.
  • ScaleFocus is partnering with SHR University Berlin to bridge that security gap by a special training program for the cyber security experts of the future.
  • In Cyber Security Training Academy students receive cutting edge learning content and hands-on experience and practices from ScaleFocus’ cyber security experts.

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 60 percent of digital businesses will suffer major service failures due to the inability of IT security teams to manage cyber security threats. In a separate study, the global research company states that worldwide spending on information security products will exceed 124 billion US dollars this year. It’s easy to read through these numbers – the malicious cyber threats are becoming not only a more common thing but the attacks itself are more complicated and with broader targets.

So, the million dollars (or more like 124 billion US dollars) question is will you trust a company that has problems with its cyber security and information security? Yes, it’s a trick question because the answer is pretty much obvious. The simple truth is that trust must be part of the corporate strategy of every company nowadays – it doesn’t matter if it’s a huge corporate conglomerate or SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) with a skeleton staff. The only difference is the budget for cyber security and information security which every company can spare. And how big of a difference it can be, especially if you are smart about it!

Table with data for the worldwide security spending segment for the period 2017-2019 based on a gartner report

Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Information Security Spending to Exceed $124 Billion in 2019

Understanding the cyber attacks

We think there is a way to bridge that security gap, but the foundation must be laid as early as possible – when the future security experts are still in the university and they are eager to know more. The result of this idea is our strategic long-term cooperation with SRH University Berlin to prepare students with solid technical and business skills, ready to work on real-life cyber security cases. A partnership that started with the first teaching sessions in the first half of 2019.

Our cyber security consultants have done four teaching sessions with the students of SRH University Berlin as a part of the Cyber Security Training Academy, led by Prof. Dr. rer. Nat. Vladimir Stantchev. Since March 2012 he has been a Managing Director of the Institute for Information Systems at SRH University Berlin. His research interests are cloud computing, service-oriented architectures (SOA), IT governance, and information management. This makes him the perfect partner for building the future cyber security experts of Germany, adding the much-needed real-life scenarios and know-how. The valuable knowledge that our security experts provide is based on the substantial experience that ScaleFocus has as a provider of premium technology and cyber security services to clients from various industries in over 25 countries worldwide.

“It’s more important now than ever to run business securely, but with threats becoming more common and complex every day and countermeasures always shifting, it can be difficult to know how to start building an effective information security practice. In this training initiative, we will distill the most critical measures for building a sustainable security program, as well as develop valuable skills which the students can later use in their on-going and future projects with a better understanding of the benefits of implementing InfoSec and cyber security concepts”.

Dr. rer. Nat. Vladimir Stantchev | Managing Director of the Institute for Information Systems | SRH University Berlin

We helped not only with tailored content creation for the program but also with the definition of tasks, based on our broad cyber security track record and real cases. This way all the academic knowledge from their studies is complemented with real-case security scenarios and solutions from real clients with real cyber security concerns. In the end, every student had to prepare a full penetration testing of a real German SME, partnering with the SRH University.

“By teaming up with SRH University Berlin, we want to develop the next cyber security experts by sharing our vast knowledge in data security and cutting edge real-life know-how. That’s why we are inviting the most prominent students from the program for an internship in our headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria. We believe that those are the first steps in this long-term cooperation, that will result in InfoSec graduates, ready to help the German SMEs with custom cyber security solutions, based on extensive analysis.”

Georgi Boyadzhiev | Sales Executive, Security Solutions | ScaleFocus

We believe that this cooperation can help not only prepare future data protection experts but also raise awareness of the importance of cyber security and information security in the years to come. The business must know that there are capable and experienced European vendors like ScaleFocus, that can help SMEs with niche industry expertise, cutting edge technologies and experienced security experts that deliver custom cyber security solutions.

“Security leaders are striving to help their organizations securely use technology platforms to become more competitive and drive growth for the business. Persisting skills shortages and regulatory changes like the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are driving continued growth in the security services market.”

Siddharth Deshpande | Research director | Gartner

It all boils down to the increasing adoption of IoT solutions, every aspect of the business being more connected and most of all the digitalization of the process as a whole. With the implementation of more and more digital solutions, organizations become more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Why are the SMEs in a difficult and dangerous position?

Even businesses that weren’t traditional targets of malicious attacks have to think and develop cyber security and information security strategies in order to prevent the rising threads. Just think about it – we use our credit cards to pay online for the food that we ordered from the small restaurant that we love so much, our login credentials for the online store that sells handmade coffee cups are the same that we use for our corporate email address and so on.

There is not much of a surprise that these businesses don’t have the massive budgets that large corporations have in addition to their huge, IT and operational departments. Being “big” gives you the capacity to timely start and implement cyber security programs.

A statistical visualization of the percentage of companies that have suffered cyber security breaches

“Global Threat Report Series” by Carbon Black.  The percentages are as follows: Germany (91%), France (92%), Italy (94%) and the UK (88%).

However, SMEs in countries like Germany don’t have much of a choice and they’re positioned in a dangerous gap from cyber security perspective – between a rock and a hard place. From one side are the specialized security experts that cost a lot of money, and on the other – small consulting companies which lack experience and solid expertise.

Everything up to this moment is painting a dreadful picture for the future of SMEs in terms of cyber security and information security. And we haven’t even mentioned the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that members of the European Union must comply with, or Australia’s Privacy Act, Argentina’s Personal Data Protection Law, Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and so on.

This is the build-up to our long-term partnership with SRH University Berlin.

SMEs are in an uncertain position from a data protection point of view. This is even more true when we analyze the latest cyber security and information security reports for some of the biggest countries in the European Union, including Germany, Great Britain, France, and Italy. 

“Based on interviews with the IT teams of companies of different sizes, there is a clear increase in cyber attacks for the last 12 months. Italy (93%) and France (91%) have the highest percentage of companies reporting this trend, followed up by businesses in Germany (85%) and the UK (87%).”

Carbon Black Report | “Global Threat Report Series”, January 2019

The report is based on interviews with the IT teams of companies of different sizes. Another important result is that 92% of the surveyed companies in Germany reported that they were victims of security breaches in the past 12 months. The cyber attacks are not only becoming a more common threat, but they are also increasingly sophisticated.

As we see it, there are some positive things to take from the report. One is that 73% of the surveyed companies are actively engaged in threat hunting. The other is that the companies no longer ask themselves “Am I going to be a victim of a cyber attack”, but rather “What can I do to prepare for a cyber attack”.

“Our first threat report for Germany shows that the escalating cyber attacks are putting German companies under strong pressure.”

Rick McElroy | Head of Security Strategy | Carbon Black

A lot of companies pay for security consultants, for ISO standards like ISO 27 001, but real technical readiness is not there, only process and organizational structure to some extent. There is a lack of deep technical understanding as well as technical consultancy to cyber security. This opens the above-mentioned gap between knowing the needed processes and having the real-life experience and know-how for resolving the problems.

A statistical visualization of main causes of cyber security breaches

“Global Threat Report Series” by Carbon Black.

The Cyber Security Training Academy

We at ScaleFocus believe that before managing the problem, there are important steps to be taken – the best solutions are not the same for every business. Everything starts with analyzing the problem because there is no “one solution fits all”.

That is why we started the Cyber Security Training Academy program at SHR University Berlin with teaching the students to understand the first steps in cyber security and to analyze and assess the situation that the company is in – they were presented information about a fictional company and they had to analyze all the factors before presenting a solution. The management needs to know everything about the risk and what are the potential damages in order to make the right decisions.

This was the next important stage in the program – creating a heat map, evaluating the situation and then learning the best practices step by step, based on the hands-on experience of our cyber security experts. With every new lesson learned, the students were prepared for the final exam – the full penetration testing of a real German SME

“Digital business moves at a faster pace than traditional business, and traditional security approaches designed for maximum control will no longer work in the new era of digital innovation.”

Gartner Report | Cybersecurity at the Speed of Digital Business

Two of the most prominent students from the program were offered internship in ScaleFocus’ headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria. Here they’ll experience everything they learned in a hands-on environment working with real clients and real problems to solve. We at ScaleFocus are not only preparing cyber security experts in Bulgaria but in different European countries like Germany, because we believe that this is our responsibility as a European IT solutions delivery center.

Are your company’s cyber security and information security infrastructures build to couple with the rising malicious cyber attacks? There are three important questions that you need to answer when you begin the assessment:

  • What are your company’s critical information technology assets?
  • What are the top five business processes that utilize or require this information?
  • What threats could affect the ability of those business functions to operate?

Keep in mind that this is just the first step of many. ScaleFocus can be your understanding partner throughout the whole cyber security journey.