Proximus strives for business continuity despite increasing threats 

Proximus develops tailor-made cybersecurity services for its business customers, so they can be better equipped against cyberthreats and comply with legal and regulatory requirements. Fabrice Clément, CISO of Proximus, is responsible for cybersecurity, business continuity, fraud and investigations. He is also a Board member of the Cyber Security Coalition. 

“Switching to mobile devices, working from home, moving to private and/or public cloud … digitalisation accelerated faster due to the pandemic,” Fabrice Clément recapitulates one of the biggest evolutions of the past decade in his role as CISO for Proximus. The company has 20 years’ experience and counts over 350 security professionals, who are ready to advise and help companies define their security strategies and implement security solutions.  

“With our Managed Security Services, customers can entrust all or part of the management and control of their IT security to us. We can also take charge of their end-to-end security, with a global, 360° approach,” Fabrice explains. 

Around the world, cyberthreats are on the rise, driven by geopolitical tensions and the evolution of the more “traditional” cybercrime motivated by financial gain. “We conducted a survey of 270 companies in the Benelux at the end of last year, and the results are striking: one in three companies has been the victim of at least one cyber incident. A third of these incidents prevented employees from working. Half of these incidents had financial consequences. Yet, only half of SMEs organise awareness actions for their staff at least once a year,” Fabrice explains the need for improved cyber security awareness. 

No sector is spared 

Advanced cybersecurity and awareness are essential to counter cyberattacks and enable every citizen and business to protect their data and operations. “Cybersecurity is an indispensable tool for ensuring confidence in digital technology, which is more than ever a driving force of our society and economy. Therefore, in 2022 we launched Proximus Ada, the first Belgian centre of excellence combining artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.”  

Today, the top threat remains ransomware: disrupting business operations, stealing sensitive data, and threatening to sell it or to make it public. The first attack vector remains phishing, through different channels such as email, SMS or even phone calls. “Since November 2020, we have partnered with the Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium (CCB) in the Belgian Anti-Phishing Shield programme (BAPS). People who click a link to a fraudulent website are being protected and redirected to the CCB’s warning page.” 

To fight smishing (phishing via SMS) more effectively, Proximus recently launched a new platform capable of detecting and automatically blocking suspicious SMS messages. “The platform came about in close cooperation with the government. We will continue to invest in innovative security technologies and partnerships to ensure a safer digital future for all Belgians,” Fabrice adds confidently. 

Solid cybersecurity foundation 

Proximus is a founding member of the Cyber Security Coalition, which today has more than 170 members. “We believe that collaboration is key to fight cybercrime and to improve the overall resilience of Belgium. Therefore, we initiated discussions in 2014 to unite organisations from the academic, private and public sectors in a collaborative platform, to exchange experiences and knowledge about cybersecurity,” he continues. 

Fabrice remains very active in the Cyber Security Coalition, driving the strategy as a Board member. Several cybersecurity experts in Fabrice’s team chair a Focus Group (e.g., Awareness / Governance, Risk & Compliance / CSIRT / Enterprise Security Architecture). “Building trust in digital technologies and creating a safe digital Belgium are important strategic goals for Proximus. By collaborating with other sectors, we are not only creating awareness but also laying a solid foundation for a secure digital landscape for all Belgian citizens and organisations,” concludes Fabrice. 

“The Cyber Security Coalition and all its members created a Belgian community of professionals who can reinforce each other through sharing and collaboration. I believe that this has taken Belgium to another level of cybersecurity maturity.” 

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