Vodafone security CTO: ‘High-profile data breaches are becoming the new norm’

Vodafone security CTO: ‘High-profile data breaches are becoming the new norm’ 718 523 C-Suite Network
Vodafone security CTO: ‘High-profile data breaches are becoming the new norm’

Andrzej Kawalec, CTO of Vodafone Enterprise Security Services, says infosec readiness and resilience is the only answer in the face of high-profile data breaches.

Andrzej Kawalec is CTO and head of strategy and innovation at Vodafone Enterprise Security Services.

Prior to this, he was chief technologist for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise’s Enterprise Security Services group.

‘The way we see it, organisations that can respond and recover the fastest and build this cyber-resilience are the ones that will be able to manage their risk most effectively’

Kawalec spent 15 years at some of the world’s largest IT companies, including Compaq, Digital and Siemens, and has worked in board-level positions across the public and private sectors to help define and promote information strategies. Kawalec has degrees in international business and German from Ottawa and Bradford Universities.

In recent weeks, Kawalec presided over a Vodafone report that indicated that tightening up cybersecurity is actually helping businesses embark on new innovation journeys and to seize new opportunities.

Are firms getting better at cybersecurity or are they becoming more opportunistic as digital transformation opens new horizons?

I think there is an interesting link between those two concepts. The motivation for the research is that we are all very used to traditional security reports that count up the number of attacks over the last six to nine months and tell us how many more incidents have occurred and how many more data records have been stolen. And whilst that is really important and we recognise that, one of the things we realised is that very few people are looking forward to seeing the changes in behaviour: what are decision-makers doing? How is that affecting what people do?

The conclusion we drew was that not only are people who are the early adopters of technology (whether cloud, IoT or mobile) finding new ways of working and leading the way, but they are taking greater benefit from security. But this was one of the first times we were able to quantify a meaningful, tangible business benefit.

Andrzej Kawalec, CTO of Vodafone Enterprise Security Services. Image: Vodafone
Would you say businesses are realising a return on their cybersecurity investments?

The age-old difficult question has always been: what has been the return on investment on cybersecurity projects? Because if you do it right, ideally, nothing happens.

That’s where we’ve been stuck for many years as an industry, but now we are starting to see business benefits around faster time to market, about the security enabling employee productivity, increasing customer loyalty, all the way to being able to charge a price premium for enhanced security.