NEC XON, a leading African ICT solutions provider, has announced the appointment of Armand Kruger as head of cybersecurity. Kruger will oversee all cybersecurity offerings including cybersecurity strategy, programmes and executive advisory.
Jason Barr, NEC XON executive of safety solutions, says Kruger brings deep cybersecurity nous to the new role, having served as head of cyber operations at NEC XON.
“His core focus has been on tactical incident response and threat hunting, and we are delighted to promote Armand into this key position given the excellent reputation he has built with us over the years,” says Barr. Before joining NEC XON, Kruger worked at Vodacom as a threat hunter, focusing on cyber-threat simulations and attack scenarios.
Discover more at www.nec.xon.co.za
Kruger has been in countless major cybersecurity incidents, including digital hands-on-keyword battles with ransomware operations. He believes that incident response can be complex, and business coordination is key, but the unspoken rule leaders tend to forget in stressful situations is to remain composed and systematically find the source of the threat.
“The contemporary demand for connecting numerous individuals in far-flung locations through interconnected systems, data sources and storage presents a complex and extremely demanding cybersecurity landscape. This landscape comes with various competing requirements like accessibility and availability versus privacy and protection. Hackers frequently take advantage of the vulnerabilities that arise due to the intricacies of managing and maintaining these diverse environments,” says Kruger.
He harnesses a “hacker mindset” to help customers become cyber-resilient. “The biggest security risks facing companies today are embedded in the rise of the cyber economy with digital cartels driving cyber risk. It’s important to be proactive to maintain threat resistance. Constant cybersecurity housekeeping is vital to stay up to date and eliminate most threats, while intensive research into emerging threat tradecraft keeps the more serious threat actors at bay,” he says.
Methodology and security culture
Kruger believes that cybersecurity strategy stands on three legs: strategic, operational and tactical. He sees architecture, culture, operations, mission and direction as vital components of a successful cybersecurity programme and measures the effectiveness of these components by comparing them to industry standards and validating them through tactical simulations.
Kruger believes that a cybersecurity culture journey is vital to balance the need for strong security measures with the need for employees to access the systems and data they need to do their jobs. He says that employees need to know why these measures are in place and align how they think, consume data and behave with that understanding. Given the move towards ecosystem business, that culture must extend beyond the company walls.
That third-party risks are a major concern for cyber leaders, and Kruger emphasises that partners and third-party vendors need to understand the strategy that the business is following and the reason for the enforced security measures. Either they comply, or they don’t do business.
AI and machine learning in cybersecurity
Kruger sees artificial intelligence and machine learning playing a major role in the future of cybersecurity, especially around automated security operations. He says cybersecurity skills will always be essential, but AI has the potential to augment cyber capabilities if used correctly.
To stay informed about changes to regulations and standards related to cybersecurity, Kruger personally invests in research and industry communication. He evaluates the strategic direction of change, compares it to clients’ business goals, and embeds them into the cybersecurity strategies he implements.
NEC XON helps customers mature their cybersecurity posture to achieve strategic outcomes by focusing on key drivers such as moving to multi-cloud environments, network architecture and topology revisions, IoT and 5G adoption, deeper changes to create competitive advantage, secure more market share, and increase revenues. It helps organisations mature progressively, from point security through aggregation and correlation of multiple points to orchestration and automation of interaction between points.
About NEC XON
NEC XON is a leading African integrator of ICT solutions and part of NEC, a Japanese company. NEC XON has operated in Africa since 1963 and delivers communications, energy, safety, security and digital solutions. It co-creates social value through innovation to help overcome serious societal challenges. The organisation operates in 54 African countries and has a footprint in 16 of them. Regional headquarters are located in South, East and West Africa. NEC XON is a level 1-certified broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) business. Discover more at www.nec.xon.co.za.
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