Chair Jan De Blauwe’s New Year’s Address 2021

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On the eve of the new year, Chair Jan De Blauwe looks back on seven years of the Cyber Security Coalition.

Dear Coalition member,  

 

Almost seven years have already passed since the Coalition was created by founding members VBO-FEB, Proximus, Belnet, KU Leuven, and ULB on January 26th, 2015.  

In the brief history of its existence, the Coalition has played a key role in advocating greater attention for increasing cybersecurity threats as an integral part of our economic and social development. One of the major contributions in this area is the annual national awareness campaign in partnership with the Centre for Cyber Security Belgium (CCB). The success of this year’s campaign focusing on phishing can be measured by the Safe-on-Web app installations, well over 100,000 times since the new app’s launch last November. 

I am particularly aware that the success of the Coalition rests upon the valuable support of our members and the arduous work of the permanent chairs and focus groups’ participants who so generously volunteer and give of their time, so let me take this opportunity to thank every one of you for your wonderful support and dedication.  

2021 saw the delivery of exciting experience sharing events such as the GRC: Be Connected! webinars in cooperation with ISACA Belgium and the Belgian Cyber Security Convention co-organized with Brewery of Ideas. After the third edition of its popular training, the Awareness focus group has already initiated 80 people into the best practices for an effective cybersecurity awareness plan. A major new achievement was the launch of the Cyber Security Personality of the Year award honouring excellence in cybersecurity. Unfortunately, Corona again threw a spanner in the works, and we had to adjust the ambitions for our in-person events. These unpleasant tidings were mitigated by the formal confirmation by ministerial decree that the Coalition is to receive a federal grant of EUR 70k by the end of this year. 

In January, Miguel De Bruycker will resign from our Board after six years of distinguished service.  Under his vice-chairmanship, the Coalition received strong impulses for which we are very grateful. Miguel would like to concentrate fully on the many (new) projects launched within the framework of the European recovery plan and prepare for Belgium’s digital future. Deputy Director Phédra Clouner will take over the torch, as such ensuring the continuity of the partnership with the CCB and will further build on the foundations laid by Miguel.  Our sincere thanks to Miguel and welcome aboard, Phédra! 

Recently Hilde Lion has joined the Operations team. She boasts a lot of experience in facility and event management and is a welcome helping hand in keeping the growing operations under control. Pascal Champagne will support Christian Mathijs in the further development of our community focusing on the southern part of Belgium. This reinforcement will allow Cathy Suykens to dedicate more time to specific projects and the Coalition branding, whereby the website redesign will receive priority.  

We are always pleased to receive your suggestions for events, especially if this is backed by a willingness to help make it happen! Please, contact me or the colleagues of the Operations team to discuss your ideas and any other issues you would like to bring to our attention. We encourage your active participation in our 2022 programme which will be developed in the Programme Committee and permanent chairs’ meetings. Check the calendar on the Coalition website and subscribe to our Cyber Pulse newsletter to learn about all the activities the coming year has in store.  

On behalf of the Board, I want to thank you once again for your support and endorsement of our efforts. As you enjoy the festivities with friends and family, please accept my best wishes to you all and your families for a safe and enjoyable Christmas and a happy New Year. 

I look forward to meeting you again in 2022 in the hope we soon can socialize and network again.  

Best regards, 

 

Jan De Blauwe 

Chair 

Cyber Security Coalition 

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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.