« We need a joint culture of sharing being the standard and taking as a luxury «  

 « I have been active in the sector for over 30 years, so even before the concept of cyber security came into being, » Ulrich remembers. « Precisely because of those years of experience and accumulated expertise, I firmly believe in the importance of knowledge-sharing and cooperation. That is why it was a logical step for me to join the Cyber Security Coalition from the beginning. » 

Ulrich has seen the organisation develop steadily since its foundation. « You can see that we have become more specialised since our beginnings, when the initial focus was clearly on the end user. For example, we now have dedicated focus groups at the sector level. At the same time, we cannot ignore the reality that Belgium is still lagging a bit behind in terms of cyber security maturity. » 

Shared commitment 

Despite increased awareness, the wished-for culture of knowledge-sharing is not yet commonplace in the industry, which is still characterised by a certain degree of closed-mindedness and reticence. « By giving a lot ourselves, we try to encourage the corporate world to do the same. We are mainly trying to prevent industry peers lapsing into navel-gazing, » continues Seldeslachts. He, for example, is involved in several focus groups, and is the active chair for three (Crypto, Cloud Security and EU Regulations & Standardizations). 

For him, the central challenge facing the Coalition is to create a shared and evenly distributed commitment among the members. « All too often, focus groups have several very active members, alongside others who benefit without actually contributing. This cannot be the goal: we should aim for a culture of give and take, sharing being the standard and taking as a luxury. It must be clear to everyone that active participation is expected in exchange for the content and expertise offered. But achieving this is a process of ups and downs. All participants should ask themselves how much they are contributing, to ensure a solid balance for the future. » 

Potential lack of perspective

Ulrich also pleads for more inflow of new members within the various focus groups. « This is the only way to ensure sufficient interaction between the profiles that look mainly from a policy perspective and those that approach policy based on its technical and technological elaboration. » 

« In other words, we need to have enough different focal points within each group, » he continues. « This is crucial because the Belgian cyber security landscape remains quite heterogenous. There is still a large and luckily growing group of companies in Europe and Belgium specifically, with a low level of cybersecurity maturity for which awareness and elaboration are only in their infancy. That difference in maturity level not only shows the importance of sharing and continued awareness creation, but also the need for the sector to be able to drive at different speeds. We cannot allow ourselves to be a group of experts, for experts. We need to be inclusive and opening our doors and ears to these less mature  organisations, » concludes Seldeslachts. 

« The Cloud Security Focus Group has been around since the early days of the Cyber Security Coalition. As Chair, I have noticed that here, too, the most difficult challenge is to continuously create momentums which are sufficiently widespread among all members of the group. That remains the central challenge for the coming years », Ulrich explains. 

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