“We want to fan the flame among students to work in our sector.”

NVISO is a team of cyber security professionals and consultants who help customers prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks. CEO Kurt Ceuppens is dedicated to raising cyber awareness globally and attracting more people to work in the sector. As part of this aim, each year NVISO, together with partners including the Cyber Security Coalition, organizes an annual hacking competition for students.

How has the cyber security field changed since you started your career?

My first job, in 2001, was in IT security, in the financial sector. The focus back then was on protecting the boundaries of our fortress, but there were actually few outside threats. In 2013, I founded NVISO together with 4 like-minded colleagues to act as a service partner for both individuals and companies. We offer consulting on topics like security strategy and the set-up of security management structures. We also perform security assessments and penetration testing, and we provide security monitoring for companies that outsource their security operations. Last but not least, we have a dedicated team that helps customers when they get hacked. Looking back, compared to 20 years ago, we find ourselves in a different geopolitical situation, networks are being used differently, remote work is much more common, and there are many more cyber criminals. Cyber security should therefore be at the top of everyone’s agenda.

Which sectors most frequently call upon your services? 

We all face alarming trends in phishing, invoice or so-called CEO fraud and ransomware designed to steal our data and take us down. Initially, NVISO’s customer portfolio was limited to the financial sector, but today it is more diversified and includes technology companies, the Belgian government, European institutions, and many manufacturing companies. The latter rely increasingly on connected networks, so cyber has an impact on their production – and the criminals are well aware. For them, these companies are easy targets from which they can make a lot of money, unfortunately.

Why is the collaboration with the Cyber Security Coalition important for NVISO?

We became a member thanks to Jan De Blauwe, chairman of the Coalition and since 2022 our COO at NVISO. He had little trouble in convincing me that the Coalition establishes a community where knowledge is being shared and all parties involved cooperate to improve services and awareness. NVISO wants to actively support this initiative: we facilitate security researchers and conferences, but we also organise the Cyber Security Challenge in Belgium, a hacking competition for students. Universities, colleges, the Belgian Army, the Cyber Security Coalition and a lot of other companies work together to reach students looking for a job in cyber. The 8th challenge takes place in March, 2023. 750 students must solve cryptographic challenges and pitch their solutions to the professional jury. We test and train these students on technical and soft skills, to fan the flame to work in our sector.

Do you think the facilitating role of the Cyber Security Coalition can play an even bigger role for the future of the cyber sector?

What the Cyber Security Coalition has realized in a short period of time for the Belgian cyber field deserves a round of applause. The Coalition helps inspire and interconnect people and supports events that are good for our community. The sector can be supported even more, however. We need a clearer vision to help put Belgium’s cyber expertise on the map in the global landscape. I strongly believe that’s a role the Cyber Security Coalition can also take on.

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