No Digital Transformation without Cybersecurity

From Beijing to Munich to Chicago: Siemens' cybersecurity experts met at a global conference to exchange ideas and discuss current and future challenges in the field of cybersecurity for Siemens. Their goal: to strengthen Siemens and its customers against cyber-attacks even more effective – today and in the future.


by Hubertus Breuer

The damage that cyberattacks can cause is immense: espionage, blackmail attempts, machine failure. That's why in October 2018, Siemens founded a global ‘Cybersecurity’ organization under the leadership of Natalia Oropeza. It comprises a whole ecosystem with tasks ranging from the protection of IT, OT and all of Siemens’ products.


Today, with around 1300 cybersecurity experts, the company is a major global player in this field - from the energy sector to the industrial sector, from smart infrastructures to healthcare. "Cybersecurity represents one of Siemens' most important technology and research priorities," explains Natalia Oropeza, Chief Cybersecurity Officer at Siemens. "And our expertise in this area enabled us to establish a holistic cybersecurity strategy that benefits all Siemens companies and their customers.”

The basis for the Siemens’ strategy is decades of expertise, high-tech solutions and, above all, a global network of cybersecurity experts who work closely together.

From sunrise to sunrise

The basis for this strategy is decades of expertise, high-tech solutions and, above all, a global network of cybersecurity experts who work closely together. Only with their combination of different skills, experience and perspectives the company is capable of tackling the manifold challenges of cyberthreats. Therefore, a first, on a single day in May 2019 all of Siemens’ cybersecurity experts from IT, OT and product security were invited to discuss current developments in the fields of cybersecurity, exchange ideas and define the next milestones in cybersecurity at Siemens.

Instead of meeting in a single conference hotel, though, they gathered at three Siemens locations around the world – first in the morning in Beijing, then after central European breakfast time in Munich and finally, also in the morning hours, in Chicago. It was a 'Follow-the-Sun-Event': From sunrise to sunrise once around the world - a total of about 500 colleagues joined at these locations. Each had its own presenter, each had speakers whose presentations were broadcast live via video, and for a panel discussion experts in all three cities were able to exchange ideas virtually. Those who could not make it to any of these places were able to participate from other Siemens locations. For example, around 300 colleagues followed the conference in Zug, Switzerland, and Erlangen, Germany.


The big advantage of a global event like this one: Whether the experts participated in China, Europe, North America or virtually from another place – they were able to exchange new ideas with each other. And that benefits everybody: As different as the technologies of the various Siemens businesses are, the types of cyberthreats and thus the necessary solutions are all the more similar. 


In addition, future milestones for an effective cybersecurity strategy were defined and presented. In the future, for example, the "Growing your Business with Cybersecurity" program will teach managers about cybersecurity. This expertise should not only make Siemens businesses more secure, but also that of the company’s customers.


One thing is certain: This Cybersecurity Conference won’t be the last. The topic remains immensely important far into the future. "Attacks will continue to increase, not least because more and more devices are digitally connected. In addition, developments such as A.I. will also present us with new challenges," says Natalia Oropeza. And, reflecting on her experience the conference, she says: "Thanks to our global expertise in the field of cybersecurity, we have shown that we are well positioned to face the challenges of the future and to protect ourselves and our customers against cyberthreats.”


Hubertus Breuer

Picture credits: Siemens AG

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