Chair Jan De Blauwe’s New Year’s Address 2022

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Our Chair, Jan De Blauwe, extends warm New Year's greetings to all the Coalition members. In his address, he reflects on the past year and looks to the future.

Dear Coalition member,  

 

As we wrap up what has been a very difficult year for many people around the world, it is appropriate to reflect on the past year and look to the future. The Europe of today looks very different to the Europe of last year.  

The war in Ukraine is a call to action for increasing our country’s capabilities to better protect, collect, defend, and fight in cyberspace. The set-up of a dedicated Belgian Cyber Command constitutes a key milestone in the fulfilment of this policy ambition of Belgian Defence. We gladly accept the Department of Defence’s invitation to the other actors in the cybersecurity ecosystem to foster a stronger collaboration and to reflect on how we can shape this space together in a meaningful way. 

2022 has been another successful year for the Coalition, both in terms of activity and membership. At the close of the year, our community boasts 147 member organizations and 6 associate members (a 19% growth in membes) and is in a good financial standing.  

The March edition of GRC: Be Connected! – our partnership with ISACA Belgium and Solvay Brussels School – marked the return to in-person events, which are genuinely irreplaceable. We rejoiced in the lively face-to-face interactions among our members during the 25 in-person events and meetings (out of 42 total) organized this year.  

Last October, our BE-CYBER experience sharing event drew 150 people benefitting from the insights of industry experts and policy makers on recent geopolitical and regulatory developments and security trends. We hope that BE-CYBER will become our annual signature event and we look forward to seeing you at our second edition in October 2023.    

During the year two new initiatives were launched: the establishment of a dedicated focus group for healthcare institutions and the development of the EDUbox Cybersecurity for secondary school students.  

In the focus group ‘Cybersecurity for Healthcare’ the Coalition is reaching out to support and bring together hospitals and other healthcare institutions and provide them with a forum to share ideas, network with each other, and learn from other sectors’ experts. To strengthen their cyber defence, healthcare institutions can benefit from richer and regular exchanges with peers, both from within and outside their sector. 

For many years the Coalition has sponsored the Cyber Security Challenge Belgium and will continue this commitment in the future. We do also hope that the EDUbox Cybersecurity will trigger other projects targeting youngsters who are considering an education and career in the exciting and rewarding field of  tech and cyber. It is important that we equip parents and educators to spark interest among youngsters in the field of cybersecurity. As signatory of the Digital Inclusion Charter and visibility partner of DigiskillsBelgium.be, we recognize that cybersecurity skills are an essential element of the digital skills that a child requires for school, work and life.  

By creating an Application Security focus group we hope to deepen our partnership with SecAppDev.org. Our Cyber Security Personality of the Year 2022 – Sebastien Deleersnyder (Co-founder & CTO of Toreon) – will assume a pivotal role in this focus group considering his pioneering role in setting up OWASP Belgium.   

As a whole suit of cybersecurity-related regulations will impact many of us, the NIS and Cybersecurity Act (CSA) focus groups will be merged into a new focus group – EU regulations & Standardizations – with an enlarged scope. As a National Cybersecurity Certification Authority (NCCA), the Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium (CCB) is best placed to guide us through the regulatory challenges; in this focus group the CCB has a direct sounding board for its legislative initiatives. 

After four successful editions of the Cybersecurity Awareness and Culture Manager course, the Awareness focus group will now concentrate on the development of online training videos to enhance citizens’ cyber awareness. This initiative will support the Safe-on-Web platform managed by the CCB and visited by more than 200,000 users. In 2023, we will organize the national awareness campaign with the CCB and other partners for the eight time.  

On behalf of the board, I would like to thank you for your continued trust and support. I also wish to thank the operations team for their unrelenting efforts towards delivering the many events and other activities of our association and positioning it well for future opportunities.  

Finally, I wish you and your families a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year! 

Best regards,

 

Jan De Blauwe

Chair

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About the author

Cathy Suykens joined the Cyber Security Coalition in April 2018 as Operations Manager. She boasts a longstanding career in the financial services industry in different domains with various assignments abroad.