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This episode features an interview with Andreas Rohr, founding manager and CTO at the German Cyber-Security Organization (DCSO). At DCSO, Andreas is responsible for Innovation and Security Engineering and its Managed Cyber Defense Services. He has over 15 years of experience in IT and cybersecurity, holding management positions in the energy and automotive industries.

In this episode, Mike and Andreas discuss aligning with works councils, forging business relationships through transparency, and embedding security into value streams.

Transparency is key for working with the works council, who are actually not there to prevent security or the company doing the right things, they’re there to make sure that the data is not abused against the employees. This is their mission, their task, and it’s a valid one.

—Andreas Rohr, CTO at the German Cyber-Security Organization (DCSO)

 

Timestamps

*(02:06): Andreas explains what DCSO is*(23:34): Andreas’s advice on determining the budget for security
*(09:18): Guideposts DCSO is helping companies align to*(27:30): How Andreas advises companies on making security part of the fabric of their organization
*(15:45): How Andreas is helping companies navigate the German Works Council*(34:29): 2030 Goggles
*(19:27): Andreas’s journey from CISO to CTO*(43:01): Quick Hits

 

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On this episode

Andreas Rohr
CTO at DCSO

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Andreas Rohr

Dr. Andreas Rohr is a founding manager and CTO at the German Cyber-Security Organization (DCSO), a joint venture established between Allianz, Bayer, BASF and Volkswagen. Within DCSO’s management board, Rohr is responsible for Innovation and Security Engineering, as well as its Managed Cyber Defense Services.

Rohr has over 15 years of experience in various areas of IT and cybersecurity. He previously served in management positions across the energy and automotive industries. He has been highly involved in the cybersecurity technologies startup scene for over a decade, often serving as advisor providing a unique European perspective to budding enterprises. He previously served as an officer in the German Air Force and held the deputy CISO role in the German Federal Ministry of Defense.

Mike Anderson
Chief Digital & Information Officer at Netskope

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Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson serves as Chief Digital and Information Officer for Netskope. Over the past 25 years, he has built and led high-performing teams across various disciplines, including sales, operations, business development, and information technology. He joined Netskope from Schneider Electric, a global fortune 500 company, serving as SVP, CIO and Digital Leader for North America. In 2020, Constellation Research named him a member of the Business Transformation 150, an elite list that recognizes the top global executives leading business transformation efforts in their organizations. The National Diversity Council also recognized him as a Top 50 CIO for diversity and inclusion in 2020 and 2021. Before Schneider Electric, Mike served as CIO for CROSSMARK, where he digitally transformed the business capabilities for the 40,000 employee service provider to the retail and consumer goods industry. Also, he has held executive leadership roles at Enterprise Mobile, a Microsoft joint venture that is now part of Honeywell, Insight, Software Spectrum, and InVerge, a web services pioneer he co-founded in 1999. Mike serves on numerous technology and industry advisory boards and volunteers his time working with nonprofits focused on mental health and suicide prevention and those that benefit the development of our future workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Andreas Rohr

Dr. Andreas Rohr is a founding manager and CTO at the German Cyber-Security Organization (DCSO), a joint venture established between Allianz, Bayer, BASF and Volkswagen. Within DCSO’s management board, Rohr is responsible for Innovation and Security Engineering, as well as its Managed Cyber Defense Services.

Rohr has over 15 years of experience in various areas of IT and cybersecurity. He previously served in management positions across the energy and automotive industries. He has been highly involved in the cybersecurity technologies startup scene for over a decade, often serving as advisor providing a unique European perspective to budding enterprises. He previously served as an officer in the German Air Force and held the deputy CISO role in the German Federal Ministry of Defense.

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson serves as Chief Digital and Information Officer for Netskope. Over the past 25 years, he has built and led high-performing teams across various disciplines, including sales, operations, business development, and information technology. He joined Netskope from Schneider Electric, a global fortune 500 company, serving as SVP, CIO and Digital Leader for North America. In 2020, Constellation Research named him a member of the Business Transformation 150, an elite list that recognizes the top global executives leading business transformation efforts in their organizations. The National Diversity Council also recognized him as a Top 50 CIO for diversity and inclusion in 2020 and 2021. Before Schneider Electric, Mike served as CIO for CROSSMARK, where he digitally transformed the business capabilities for the 40,000 employee service provider to the retail and consumer goods industry. Also, he has held executive leadership roles at Enterprise Mobile, a Microsoft joint venture that is now part of Honeywell, Insight, Software Spectrum, and InVerge, a web services pioneer he co-founded in 1999. Mike serves on numerous technology and industry advisory boards and volunteers his time working with nonprofits focused on mental health and suicide prevention and those that benefit the development of our future workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Episode transcript

Open for transcript

Andreas Rohr: The most convincing story for works council who were actually not there to prevent security or the company doing the right things, they're there to make sure that the data is not abused against the employee's rights. It's their mission, their task, and it's a valid one. When I was in a CISO position in such companies where there were actually a strong works council, the best relationship is if you're really being transparent to what you do, why you're doing that?

Speaker 2: Hello, and welcome to Security Visionaries. You just heard from today's guest, Andreas Rohr, CTO at DCSO. Aligning organizations on security requires many skills, most importantly, transparency. From establishing top-down communication to collaborating with work councils, transparency answers many questions along the way. Like, who has access to the sensitive information? What is an organization's appetite for risk? And how is the data of employees protected? Before we dive into Andreas's interview, here's a brief word from our sponsor. This Security Visionaries podcast is powered by the team at Netskope. At Netskope, we are redefining cloud, data and network security with a platform that provides optimized access and zero trust security for people, devices, and data anywhere they go. To learn more about how Netskope helps customers be ready for anything on their sassy journey, visit N-E-T-S-K-O-P-E.com. Without further ado, please enjoy episode 20 of Security Visionaries with Andreas Rohr, CTO at DCSO and your host, Mike Anderson.

Mike Anderson: Welcome to today's episode of Security Visionaries. I'm your host, Mike Anderson. I'm the Chief Digital and Information Officer here at Netskcope. Today, we are joined by Andreas Rohr who's joining us from Germany. How are you doing today, Andreas?

Andreas Rohr: Oh, very good. Thanks for pronouncing the name very nicely.

Mike Anderson: I'm super excited about this conversation today because when we think about cyber security, you've done some very interesting things around bringing people together in the DACH region and thinking about companies of all sizes as you think about the cyber topic. And so can you tell us more about DCSO, how it started, the mission you've got, what you're trying to accomplish and how you're working with companies?

Andreas Rohr: So DCSO stands for German Cyber Security Organization. So the D is for Deutsche, for those that are maybe familiar with the language. And what basically four companies in the DACH region; Allianz, BASF, Volkswagen and Bayer, you might have heard of, some of the largest companies in Europe, they saw that they should basically combine forces and get exchanging ideas with other peers of themselves to not reinvent always the security topics by themselves and bringing together their experts. Because they have one thing in common, which is 90%, 80% of what they're challenging and security is more or less the same despite that they're competing on the market. And second, the talents are not enough on the market. So bringing them together under one roof and tasking them with things they're all interested in, would make things even better. And resource enabled testing of new ideas. So this is one of the things. The second one is they all have their supply chain they're dependent on. And this was seven years ago, so supply chain attack as a term was not born back then, but they already realized that the weakest link basically is not their secure and their security team and the maturity of them, but their supply chain ones, which are most dependent on.

Andreas Rohr: And digesting or making things in a way digestible from their security insights and learnings, is what DCSO as a community-driven exchange to operationalize such insights and technology as what we also have been founded for, to find ways to make it easier to use and also to apply for those companies that do not have a huge security team or even any knowledge. So operationalizing with security services was the second task, basically during the foundation of the company.

Mike Anderson: No, that's great. And I definitely know that we've got so many open cyber roles out there today. Anything you can do to help companies combat the bad actors that are out there that wanna cause harm to companies. As you said, these are competitors in some cases coming together at the table to figure out how they can basically protect ourselves from the adversaries that live out there in the wild. So it's definitely a strong mission. Have you had other companies that have joined in as part of that? And you've talked about the four that joined originally, but have you had more that have joined in that mission as well?

Andreas Rohr: So that's a good question. So that's not only the four. We very early started this with around 16 of tax companies we're now about 20, 21 or so of like and a few family owned and likewise and size companies. And they basically steer DCSO's kind of development of the portfolio and what we should talk about and what you should research in terms of topics and directions and help us, in an advisory also so to speak, where to develop into. And the second one is what we also like to and actually achieve to implement is a very regular format where they learn not only with new topics, but also the existing things where they failed or how they solved certain challenges and what did not work out. So that's even more important to shortcut learning curves. And this is not only for the less mature companies, it's also amongst the mature ones. And this proves that bringing folks together, despite their competing on a market, actually useful, effective, and should not only be limited to the companies itself, but also to the relationship for authorities and maybe even also for these research institutes. So really bridging the different fields of expertise and insights, especially to also intelligence services. Makes sense in both ways to have a flow, to not make that visible to the takers or adversaries, as you said.

Mike Anderson: I definitely feel that need for that private-public partnership around exchange of intelligence and what's going on from a threat standpoint. Again, it kinda brings this whole concept that security is a team sport. It's not just the four walls of my organization, but it's the whole ecosystem working together. When you look at that, I'm just curious, when you think about the authorities that are out there, have you been able to influence policy or changes that would help companies have better guideposts or things to align to?

Andreas Rohr: Yep, definitely. That was one of the things which I basically learned from the States. So I've seen the NCFTA, where the FBI and other law enforcement and industry was working together. I think as the early years, in the zero days of 2000s and also other formats for which something that's state-driven. But in general, I like the idea a lot that there's a fluent relationship where the necessary things to help each other is actually exchanged. And this drove also my way of influencing how we do that, and in fact, we have a very good relationship to the Ministry of Interior who actually is responsible for being the advisory function and the supervision of the federal police of the BSI, the federal office for information security, and also the one who's protecting the constitution. Not sure what that translates to English. So having those authorities that have all their own insights from [0:07:13.7] ____, from their peers at the FBI for instance, or from other law enforcement or intelligence services, and making sure it's getting passed on via DCSO as a trusted clearinghouse if you want to, where they can trust this will not leak to the public, especially to the attackers.

Andreas Rohr: But helping companies to find certain things where they have no clear indication that a particular company is threatened by a particular actor. But in general and helping to identify if those attackers are active in those networks, has proven to be very valuable because we've helped also the authorities to find out that a particular group was active by us operationalizing the information they gave us in a trusted way. And we could basically tell them back, "Okay, look, this thing you gave us, we have no idea where it came from, but we have seen that here." And so we help the law enforcement and also the intelligence services to have their targets to be better monitored when they have no sensors, because on the domestic side, the authorities are limited to what they can do in contrast to outside of Germany. And the same thing on the other hand, companies who are sometimes maybe very conservative on letting authorities look into their networks could use us to make sure there's only those things that are actually necessary to fulfill to each individual mission is passed on. And having basically us as a bridge to also cover then not always giving trust in the beginning.

Andreas Rohr: So it's developed into something where there's a more trustworthy exchange where those initial fears, they have not vanished, but they're definitely lower than before. So this helps in the end everyone. Not getting pathetic here, but also helping to get a better protection of the democracy itself where you have influencing parties out there.

Mike Anderson: Well, it sounds like you said lack of no trust, so it sounds like zero trust. So it seems like that's a common theme everywhere. I see a lot of organizations trying to align to it. Look at guidepost, like in the US and even beyond, sometimes we see people aligning to the NIST controls that are out there because the insurance companies which; that'll be a topic we'll talk about a little bit later, they're using that as a guidepost. Auditors use it as a guidepost. What do you see as the guidepost for companies that you're working with today? What is that guidepost that they're trying to align to?

Andreas Rohr: So it's not so much NIST-driven, that's just treated in nature that we are in Europe and trying to sometimes, invent the wheel ourselves instead of putting our forces together. But anyhow, so the guidepost here is more the ISO 27000 or something which is similar to it. It's a very German version of it. They all try to go after making sure that you manage your security correctly. And even more in this, the developer of the last years, the maturity level of those control implementations matters more than the actual compliance of it. So think of having compliance things first and then maybe 10 years ago where they started to implement those things, the effectiveness of that is what matters. So there's actually a shift, and what I like with the NIST and also other frameworks, is that they try to get more into the direction, how effective are you actually protecting yourselves and not necessarily only are you managing basically your risks and having controls. And this is where actually things should develop further into. So compliance is needed, but it's only a necessary condition, its not a sufficient one, 'cause a sufficient one is being effective. And effective actually matters more than the full compliance. But this might be not be cited to a regulator, please.

Mike Anderson: Well, it's interesting, 'cause what I see a lot of times is people will acquire tools because the auditors say you need to have the tool. But as you said, the effectiveness is actually, are you using the tool to accomplish the objective that you want to accomplish or drive the business outcome? And a lot of times that's a missing link because people collect tools to satisfy auditors, but they're not getting the effectiveness they need. And so they're now exposing themselves for business disruption from whether it's ransomware, they're exposing themselves to a data breach in their organization.

Andreas Rohr: Yeah. That's something really that the auditors and the regulators should think differently maybe in future because they drive this development by how they put their regulation. And there's a good change, which I saw was a local security guideline that actually became effective or will get effective fully in 1st of May in Germany, which indicates that you need to have... Like in the ISO 27000 new version, that you need to have systems for detecting attacks. That's what they call it. So basically, ISO detection mechanisms and also response. And this is really the things which you also refer to. It's not only a tool thing, they also mandate that you organizationally need to make sure that you are able to analyze those things, in a human and making sense of that, whether that's something serious to go after or not. And then even more important, being able and having things implemented to react. So it's also organizational-driven thing that you need to have 24/7 ability to, to do something about. If there's an indication of a ransomware group being at an early stage. Because you might only have a few hours or at max, days left to prevent the max damage.

Andreas Rohr: And having these organizational things on top of the tooling and the integration and making use of that in an effective manner is where the regulation should... Like insurance companies actually do, they'll rather look for whether something is effectively secure or not. And this is where it actually needs to develop into. But the regulator, for them it's easier to say you need to have a SIM, you need to have a network detection monitoring. So if you have an own data center and what not. But in the end it might be a good advice also to the regulator, maybe that's one of the next missions of DCSO to influence that to be more practically relevant what they actually tell them. And there's a good example for the national security law that was released two years ago in Germany.

Mike Anderson: No, that's great. You mentioned about managing the impact. I remember a peer of mine at a global consumer package goods company said that when NotPetya hit, it infected their entire network and all their systems within 15 minutes, globally. And so I think that thinking is the traditional, "How do I get things as quickly as possible from point A to point B, to C to D, and around my corporate network." That whole thing has to be rethought because then if I get compromised in one node, can it quickly just take over my entire network and bring my entire business down?

Andreas Rohr: Exactly. And when you also search on that matter, think about, this NotPetya was something which most of the folks could have prevented by doing more hygiene on their patching. But before those things happening, at least with ransomware vectors, they make some noise in the network. So there's almost 100% of the cases which we have been involved, doing incident response, we saw enough signals that could have been basically analyzed and triggered action to stop the attack. It would not necessarily make them to remediate those systems and building things from scratch, but they could have prevented the entire damage that actually happened after a few days. And the same thing is also with NotPetya, if you could have patched those things that are known or have been known to be critical, and a few other good practices that actually mandated in those standards, you have mentioned earlier, then this is the homework, the necessary condition. And the sufficient one is to build on top of that a good net of detection that actually gives you the trigger to act. And, not sure whether it would've been worked out in 15 minutes, but in general there is a timeframe which is shrinking to be fair.

Andreas Rohr: But there's a timeframe where you could detect things and can assume that that not all protective measures will always 100% protect you. And it's either being a user click on something or you have not patched or there's unsecure configuration or whatever in there. But if you assume that's the case and you have a detection grid on top of it, that will tell you, "Okay, there's something you don't want to have here. Please have a look and take action." Maybe even in a very automated or predefined way to stop such attacks is what needs to be done for really good companies in terms of security state.

Mike Anderson: Yeah, I fully agree man. If it's manual, you're always depending on the person in the chair and with a skill gap that can become problematic. So exactly to your point, the automation. So I can take preventative measures and run my play as quickly as possible is critical. Going back on thinking about the security side, and I think about data privacy, everyone talks about GDPR. I always remind people, you think GDPR is tough, wait till you have to go in front of German worker council and talk about data privacy for German citizens. When you think about a lot of security tools, you're inspecting what people are doing. How are you helping companies navigate the German worker council to make sure that they can get the right protections in place, but also preserve the privacy of German citizens?

Andreas Rohr: That's a tricky question. There's no silver bullet to making this happen. That works council is happy with what's happening when massive amount of data is inspected, which is needed for detection, to be fair. But the most convincing story for works council who are actually not there to prevent security or the company doing the right things, they're there to make sure that the data is not abused against their employees. It's their mission, their task, and it's a valid one. And to get along with works councils... And when I was in a CISO position in such companies where there were actually a strong works council, the best relationship is if you are really being transparent to what you do, why you're doing that. So I was pretty young back then. I was not really good in arguing potentially, basically on their mission because they're also having the mission to protect the employees from harm. And this also includes cyber attacks or violations of data privacy and breaches, et cetera. So back then I should have argued, what I do now, that helping to prevent attacks by inspecting some traffic or acquiring certain data would've been the right avenue to go. And that's one of the things which they cannot deny if you know how the constitution basically works.

Andreas Rohr: If you tell them the only use case to use this data, where it's valid to use the data, is for detecting malicious activities and not tracking employees and whatnot, and if you give that in writing, that this is what you do and if you adhere to your own rules for that sense, then they basically will in the first place, put some stones in your way and see whether you behave or not. But if you do that constantly that way that you're only using it for detecting malicious things and by that preventing basically their constituents if you want to, then the next time let you easier pass the door than than before. At least I never failed with getting things through the works council. It's just the way how you put that and that you really adhere to most principles to not use the data for something else that you acquire them for.

Mike Anderson: That's great. Well, hopefully, that's a product line offering that you're offering it at DCSO.

Andreas Rohr: Whenever you buy managed services from DCSO, this is included. So we help the customer to get through the door of the works council and I guess we have a pretty good reputation. And since I've worked with works councils before in the Volkswagen world, but also in the utility where they have really strong works council and tell from my past with them and how good the relationship et cetera, then that's the other part of the story. So we bring our experience in and they like that typically and make their life easier in terms of helping them to argue with their folks. And then it's a matter of trust in the end, not like zero trust, it's really the other way around. So if you build a trust then you can do most things with the works council. And even if you give them just a small hint, a read-only account to the technology you are deploying, this also helps a lot. So they're left to have transparency and helping them to see what you're looking at and what you make out of that and how you comment cases, et cetera, this is also helping to build trust. So they might not grasp everything as they see, but this is where they do not have the feeling there's something in the dark that's happening, which might harm my people. And it's not a secret success ingredient, but it's something which if you adhere to it, that actually will get you likely to a good outcome.

Mike Anderson: That's great. I 100% agree with, transparency is what builds trust. When people don't have transparency, people are guessing and guessing doesn't lead to trust. And so that's a great advice there when dealing with German Worker Council, and just generally as a business principle. Transparency is what builds trust. If I look at the role you have today, and you talked about some of your roles, what are some of the learnings you brought into DCSO? You mentioned that you were a CISO in the past, and now the CTO for DCSO. Talk a little bit about that journey and how have things evolved in your thinking as you've transitioned into the role you have today versus more the practitioner and CISO type roles you had in the past?

Andreas Rohr: When I was CISO back then, I had the same challenge as most CISOs that also have technical teams. So I had a fortune to not only be responsible for the governance and the security management system, but also having an own operational security team and the luxury to play around with technology, et cetera. So what I started most was what that I had all those tools in place that does island wise an okay or even a nice job, but there was no coherent way of utilizing that for an entire picture. And I don't want to say single pane of glass things. So I mean this is often used, but making use of the strengths of the different technologies and combining them is what basically made me successful to be very cost efficient in getting actually the entire value out of the different technology I was employing. And also got my team back then in a position to do some nice things that have been not average to what teams can achieve. So taking this, like, a set of or different tools, an army knife, if you want to, a swiss army knife, then the team that's operating that knife actually matters most. So getting them to deal with different types of input technologies, streams, insights, and operationalizing the different capabilities and skills of the people to maximize the outcome and also helping to solve certain homework for our clients in DCSO, is what drove me when we developed the portfolio.

Andreas Rohr: So one of the things I didn't mention earlier was that I have been also tasked to come up with a managed security service portfolio seven years ago. So put yourself back to that time, there was not very common, having maybe an outsourced SARC or so, but not outsourced managed security services so much and solving homework to those organizations so they can focus on the most interesting and hard nuts to crack and not doing the day-to-day job and making this very efficient was possible because I was in the position before. And at the same time having not the speech to the customer saying, "We do that for you." And like taking your job away, which is really something which you get a lot of resistance from security teams which you try to do business with. But helping them, "Look, we know that you need to do that and it's sometimes painful and we also have been in the position before, so we would like to blend into your team, and just accept us being the one who does the super homework every day, 24/7 and why you no focusing on the interesting things?" And we give you all the ingredients for that. So that's one of the things which helped a lot from a CISO and also fear perspective of those mature teams and the customer space to accept that we bring in added value. So it's not a technical question, it's rather how you blend in and complement team skills and capacity. And this is when you are able to convince also the technical folks on the customer side.

Andreas Rohr: And this helped a lot building the portfolio, how we put it, and also getting the community part in each of the services into the game where they talk and exchange with peers, not only how they like us, but also how they solve certain problems in the real world in a day-to-day fashion without having a consultant in place who helps them to solve it in the one or the other way. But learning from the others facilitated to us is what actually makes our success possible. And this is also kind of unique. So we are not focusing only on numbers within customer amount for VC, but really going purpose-driven on that they can help each other and we do kind of their homework in the most innovative way we can. That's where my past actually helped to do a different kind of a portfolio set up.

Mike Anderson: No, that's great. I have to ask, one of the questions that I always get asked, and then I saw a debate going online yesterday on LinkedIn between CISOs about, how do you determine the budget for security? And the debate is always around, is it a percentage of revenue the company? Is it a percentage of the IT budget? Is it based on the risk posture of the organization and what they wanna invest around that? How are you... I gotta imagine that's a question you get all the time from companies. How are you answering that question?

Andreas Rohr: It's rather the CISOs should get a, if you ask me, a trusted, neutral advisor who has no own interest in selling something. Sometimes I actually find myself similar positions. We get hired from board of directors and basically looking at their estate, et cetera, and then knowing that I also sell those services, but tell them what's needed and what's... I'm not saying rubbish, but where they overspend things and being really frank and not only looking for benchmark and going, after effective things. So what is those things that you wanna protect most, which actually makes your business running? Like a business impact analysis. If you know you're 10%, you are most dependent on, and if you put all the effective security roles on top of that and do a medium job for the remaining things, is the better advice to go after, rather than looking for the, pure numbers. And either you wanna protect your business or not, the 10%. And this is the way how I talk to them, then, okay, what's needed for that? Obviously is the next question. And so how much is an appropriate amount of money to spend? While they're getting top-down first, I was the critical business processes and then bottom-up. What's needed for that? And, then say, "Okay, for the remaining one, I can use a benchmark." So this is how I would approach it.

Mike Anderson: Yeah, it's good advice if I think across the business. You talked about supply chain risk early on in the conversation. When I was at Schneider Electric, I would talk to our head of supply chain about, what's the security posture of our suppliers? How does that fit into our sourcing strategy? And it all becomes into this whole enterprise risk conversation, not just cyber, but what's the financial stability of that company that I'm working with? Security now becomes another question that's right alongside that because if I can't get steel, it's hard to manufacture products without steel. And so looking through that, so I think you're spot on with that. I would hope that would fit for most of the companies that manufacturing summit and that 10% that they're really focused in on, that they wanna protect.

Andreas Rohr: Absolutely. And we have learned the disruption of supply chain with the Suez Canal, which is a very physical event, now we had this pandemic thing, we have this maybe trade war and related things, and then we have this shortage of resources due to the crisis in Europe with the war and also with China maybe not being able to operate their factories because they can't or they don't want to. So whatever it is. So knowing exactly where your weak links are and managing them actually will basically, or have already reset our way of measuring risk. And we also should factor in, that's one of the learnings of last year, that not always the adversaries act rational. So having a risk management and evaluation based on rational behavior of others, this might true for most of the things, like the financial market maybe and other things, but not necessarily for states like Russia. And we should also assume that there is a disruptive way of acting without any obvious reward to those who do that, which would be rational. And this is one of the things where you should be more conservative in terms of evaluating those risks, rather than, "Yeah, that's so unlikely, so it will not happen." This is also something which we should actually take into account.

Mike Anderson: Absolutely. I'm gonna pivot a little bit, as you talked about work with board of directors and others, when you think about security as a team sport, often times the CISO is the one that takes all of the... It's like probably one of the hardest jobs in the world, because there's no a dollar amount you can spend that's gonna protect you a 100%, and so it's always a risk-reward trade off. But it's also not just the CISO's job. How are you seeing, and how are you helping advise companies on how do they make security become part of the fabric of their organization and their people across the organization in all different units, business units and functions? How are you driving that and are you seeing that evolution occur at the pace you would expect it to?

Andreas Rohr: So the advice is to split it up into two different disciplines. One is more from a compliance perspective and getting the frame in place, and also the backing from the board for the most general things, which are not business-driven by itself. And the second one is making the teams end-to-end responsible. So the modern way of development and running applications is the DevOps team. So this has proven to be for most things the best setup. And adding security, and that one was the buzzword, DevSecOps, actually means that you embed the security for operations, but also for the developers in a very close loop. And this is the way how you actually make everyone aware what they're doing, what the impact is, and what in a best case should be implemented rather than a gateway centric development cycle. And by that you can react much faster on vulnerabilities, on insights, on things, attackers abuse, that it might be normal function. And this is the most modern setup you want to have in IT anyhow, and adding the security to it. And by that, also developing the developers and then the operations folks to know what they should do, because basically they have not been raised with that knowledge. And training on the job, so to speak, is the best way of implementing that in the most effective way.

Andreas Rohr: Don't talk down in terms of their skill in terms of doing that the right way. But if there's something sitting next to them having that thing and they're basically backing each other up on certain aspects, it's the most effective way to do. And this is the second one, which should be implemented. And the functional lead or the tribe lead, so to speak, for the subject matter of security should be with the CISO. So having a matrix organized way of implementing that, but they should be embedded in sitting with the developers and the operations folks, so as a normal security would be. So that's, in my opinion, the best way to do, there are industries where this does not work out, so where we need to act differently, but for IT driven companies, this is the best way to ensure that's happening. And maybe there, the security folks cannot be there 100% of their time because lack of talents as we know, but having this in general will implement it and swapping teams and making this possible is the way how it should go.

Mike Anderson: That's great. And things I've seen as far as on the... If I think about IT and digital teams is they go out, DevSecOps is definitely the blueprint, to use that buzzword, the way to go. If I think about my finance functions, my HR functions, if I think about my different business units, what are some things you're seeing work to bring security into the mindset of people outside of the technology organization and company? How do you make security part of the fabric of the organization?

Andreas Rohr: I'm not sure whether this is actually an active task of the CISO only, that's fully a board of directors kind of starting with journey. And it's not a challenge anymore because the hits of peers and the nearby targets and the disruptive actions of the attackers of last year actually helped a lot to get that out of the unlikely that might occur to my organization corner to an actual thing. Okay, we need to take care of that. It's not a statistical thing, it will hit me every 10 years, but it will definitely hit me within the next two years and hence I need to take care of that. And security is not to be implemented 100% secure to prevent everything is a common knowledge. And this also applies to HR and finance, et cetera. So the difference with them is they need to be given goal [0:31:15.5] ____ what they should do, what they should not do, and how and where to ask if they're uncertain on certain things. And this is awareness in the first place, or... I think Netskope also uses from time to time the human firewall term for that. And it's good to basically advise them and teach them, but it's not as good as also providing them with a helping hand if they need it to, what to do if they're uncertain. So that's even more important, so that there might be something suspicious, okay, but if they get help at a glance of an hour or of a few minutes, that will be even more important.

Mike Anderson: Yeah. You had brought up human firewall. It's been a big campaign of our CISO here in Lamont internally, because we always look at the weakest link in any security program is the people in the chair doing their job every day. We've got all the great tools to find the people that would wanna do intentional harm. It's the people that do accidental harm every day that click on links they shouldn't do. They bring in apps they shouldn't be using. They put data in those apps that shouldn't be there. That's the thing that we're trying to address. One of the big things that I'm a big fan of is how do we create better digital citizens? You hear shadow IT as a concept that's out there today. And if you ask the CEO now it's more business led IT because we have a new generation of workers that are digital natives. And so how do we enable them to solve problems but in a secure way. That's my new mission in life being the CIO of a security company is how do I enable the person in the chair to solve the problem in a secure way so we can unlock that digital native mindset? So how are people evolving that? Shadow IT has always been like the big thing, but if you look at like many supply factories, you mentioned, the leader of the factory will hire someone to go build a dashboard for them. So how are you seeing some of that thinking evolve?

Andreas Rohr: The shadow IT evolves from not getting flexible support with your, bring your own device or spin up a server or whatever it is. Getting in the first place a more agile way and also a trusted way of getting compute and storage resources would help a lot of this shadow IT because they don't want to have a server under their desk. So no one wants that. They only do that because they don't get the help they need. So solving this in a progressive way and also accepting maybe some risk that they're not the best in administering a server, but it's still better than having shadow IT. And so the first thing. And the second one is for the users, for instance, let them bring their own stuff and to build around that one maybe little wall which helps in terms of getting the most important things hygiene-wise solved, but not having 100% managed device. So this also could help. And then there are hints, you get an email from a time zone or from a location, this center that you have interfered with from earlier is not correct or as different, then you might get some small thing, "Yeah, this email's out of your organization or this was sent in a unusual time." So hinting basically that users have a more closer eye on what they're currently doing and facing also helps to do better decisions in the end.

Mike Anderson: No. That's definitely great advice. So I want to shift a little bit to, we'll call this the futurist questions. So as we look forward and I'm sure you've learned that if you look back the past five years, there's probably a bunch of things you would've said, "If I could do that different, I would've do it this way." If I fast forward to five, 10 years out, let's just say 2030, what will security and IT leaders wish they would've invested in now when they look back in 2030?

Andreas Rohr: 2030 is pretty long period, but let's say the in next five years. Still challenging enough to do, basically guessing what would've been important is to get yourself flexible in the ecosystem of partners you are acting in, and this leads to a way of integration of non-controlled resources. Being either data flows or services, et cetera, was a very flexible way of plugging them into a connection and enforcing on that very abstract layer, certain policies and things you might wanna change, if you change your partner, if you change your platform, et cetera. And this leads to a zero trust principle and the second one to kind of fabric which you control, but which is flexible enough to be not a monolith over time and rather allowing you to make use of different cloud services, of different partner networks, et cetera. And if you do not invest in the ability to have those things pluggable, then you will have way more time you need to go to market for new setups. And this will be in the end, in competitive advantage or even not if you don't do that. So investing into pluggable way and enforcing points to make sure your decisions are governed the right way, this is what you want to have. And in the end is to a certain extent, a zero trust.

Mike Anderson: That's great. So since you brought up the zero trust word, a lot of times we think about cyber, why do we invest in cyber? It's to really avoid breaches and it's to avoid business disruption. So if we look at zero trust, how do you see that evolving? How does that play into how companies think about protecting their data? 'Cause obviously that's core of what we're trying to protect from a data breach standpoint.

Andreas Rohr: I believe that zero trust actually helps differently than most of the folks think of in terms of preventing breaches and getting better governance around data fences, if you want to. It's rather to be more flexible when you change your architecture, your application landscape, your partners, your acquisition, et cetera, and by that having a time to market reacting on changes. And for that reason, you might not wanna have a lot of assumptions you put into your architecture and your data flows. So zero trust and also very data-centric workflow approaches help you to stay more flexible. And the best site benefit to it is, if you are very good in doing so and controlling who's able to to use what data service from which location and device type and whatnot and authentication level, then you are also likely doing a better job on protecting it to have an entire big breach. You might lose the one or the other system or the one or data, but not an entire thing, if you have this micro segmented way of governing the different parts, if you want to. And the ability to do so will get you competitive advantages, if you ask me under the as a side, if you implement it correctly with a good governance and security operations, then you'll also have the side effect of protecting your data better.

Mike Anderson: No. That's good. That's great advice. And if I think for a minute, all the companies that you're working with today, zero trust obviously being a hot topic, 'cause you go to RSA and every vendor has it on their booth. I'm sure we'll see the same this year. If you were to say, what are the top two or three things that you're hearing from, CIOs and CISOs and boards that you're working with today? What are the hot topics you're hearing today?

Andreas Rohr: The most pressing thing is we know that no one can protect themselves to 100%. It's really [0:38:05.0] ____ by folks where they basically have the fear that they will not see the signals early enough and then basically have a sweep weak in average downtime and losing millions or even two digit billion in that sense during that downtime and not talking that they cannot make new business, et cetera. So this is truly was number one, risk, which they also struggle with to get an insurance coverage for, so that's disruption of their core business and without kind of having done enough in terms of also duty of care. So most directors in the board know that they cannot neglect this kind of as a statistical risk, but they need to take care of that. And they also wanna make sure that whatever they do is not something which they could have prevented with some more focus or budget. And the second thing, also related to that, is they wanna make sure that their most critical supply chain partners are in kind of the same position as themselves. So having the disruption of business, not necessarily for their own systems and environment, but for those of their supply chain being it up or downstream. Also making sure that they basically do not lose revenue streams. And this is actually what I hear most and security is just the common denominator between that.

Andreas Rohr: So it's really making the flow of data of value streams resilient to such attacks. And the remaining things just come as a derivative out of that. This is what I hear most and zero trust is, sorry to say, is something which is not an artificial topic because this is the more strategic thing to get better, which is a second agenda to what they are actually concerned of today. So this will solve the problem in 3-5 years, but not necessarily today, because zero trust is not a product. They start to understand that. And then I also tell them, "Don't fall for those that tell you it's a product." Just it's that Greenfield was a new thing, make your learnings, adapt it to your needs and then over time try to migrate it and accept 20% not being ever zero trust enabled. Just leave it as legacy and build some bigger fences around that and make sure you have those things under control and don't overthink things.

Mike Anderson: No. That's definitely great advice. And there's too many companies out there that say, "Buy my product and now you'll have zero trust." And that just, as you said, doesn't exist. So it's definitely great advice. You did touch on insurance a little bit and if I think about the insurance base, I'm starting to see a lot of people saying, "You know what? We're gonna self-insure or we're gonna go take the dollars we spend on insurance and invest it in our security program." 'Cause they feel like there's so many basically ways that the insurance companies can get out of paying like avoiding nation state saying if it's nation state attack, it doesn't apply. How are you seeing people's thinking? Are you seeing that same kind of thing where people are going, "You know what, why don't we just self-insure and invest that in our security program?" Are you seeing that? What's the future of insurance look like in the cyberspace?

Andreas Rohr: There are large insurance companies that basically stated below cyber risk are not... We cannot insure those risks anymore because it's, from a standpoint, of an insurance companies, they can't really measure the maturity state. So how likely is a company fall for attack? And the second one is the prerequisites to be met are sometimes arbitrary, page insurance companies. It's different and it's actually a nightmare to fill out those questionnaires and sometimes we help them to strategically make the cross at the right place and also to not state wrong things, but the actual thing, so they're the choices cannot say afterwards. "Yeah, you stated here that and you haven't adhered to it or haven't actually implemented it." So spending the dollar maybe on own security rather than insuring it, in a good mix of risk management, you always wanna have deferred ways to an insurance company that's classical management practice. So I would advise not to do that at all. So it's reasonable to also cover if really things go the worst way to have some costs or disruption of business covered, absolutely make sense.

Andreas Rohr: If it's ridiculously high offer of a cost, then you might think of, "I better put it to my ability to react and detect on things." And maybe kind of boost some of the security initiatives, but I wouldn't trade the one for the other. You should go strategically with your trust in architectural things and in making sure you do the right homeworks yourself, the full hygiene, and then also try to also get the insurance companies to believe that you do a good job in security and you will still get that. But over time I think the insurance mark will not offer very lucrative policies on getting insured on cyber risks. That's my gut feelings. I can't prove that. But what I see and hear and and see how we would measure that from a statistical and mass perspective, which was one of my studies before I started professional career, then I don't see that we are able to calculate with models that actually describe properly with, because it's not a statistical fundamental.

Mike Anderson: I'm gonna switch us now to a fun part of our podcast, which is we call quick hits. I'm gonna ask you a few questions, rapid fire and let's see what answers you got. So first one is, what's the best leadership advice you've ever gotten?

Andreas Rohr: That was very early in my professional career. And this basically the CEO said to me, "Even if you're the best subject matter expert in what you are trying to solve here in the world then you rather listen to your team and tell you what you will get surprised what answers they will come to you with." And this might not be as good as or as valid as you might have done it yourself, but more important thing is will be their contribution there will make sure it's sustainable and you can basically sleep better and go for the next challenge. And that's so true. And 90% of what you perceive as would've been the best solution to the thing is based on your own experience and others have other experiences. So that also goes for diversity. So while they listened then and get surprised, and I got surprised very often, which I like most. So I really encourage everyone to try that out and give that a chance.

Mike Anderson: Definitely good advice. All right. What would your last meal be?

Andreas Rohr: So I used to be in India, in Mumbai for some time, so every other months for two weeks or three weeks. And I think I would like to have, and they eat very spicy over there. So what I liked most was spicy chicken masala and some garlic Naan bread. So I miss that a lot. So maybe that's the one I would order.

Mike Anderson: All right, last one. What is your favorite book you've read this year?

Andreas Rohr: I read a book of Ellis Miller that's actually pretty old book already, I think 30 years old or so. And it's called 'The Drama of the Gifted Child.' And it's about raising a child in a way that they do not adhere to the expectations around them and adapt and do what they want, but rather find what they're really passionate about and develop that further. So that's a very nice book to read and help your kid to find their way. So I like that a lot.

Mike Anderson: I'll have to put that on the reading list, as a father of four kids there's probably some good nuggets in there for me to take away. Well thank you Andreas. This is about all the time we've got today and I really appreciate the conversation. So we had a great conversation with Andreas today. The three things that I took away from this, first and foremost, and Andreas has touched on it a couple of times, is working across our organization, looking at our surroundings, leveraging the people around us in the ecosystem 'cause that's gonna help us be a lot more successful. The second thing that I look at is when we look at tools, don't just collect tools but make sure they're integrated and make sure they're aligned to the outcomes that I wanna drive in my organization that's gonna help you be more effective and efficient at the same time. And the last thing I took away from our conversation is, think about the value streams of your organization and how do I embed security into that so that I've got the right risk posture related to that particular value stream in my organization? Super insightful conversation and I hope you enjoyed it. Tune into our next episode coming soon on the Security Visionaries Podcast.

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