Interview with Roland Streber: Cybersecurity and Remote Work

By Silvia SALA and Qingyi XU

It was a Tuesday during the lunch break when Roland Streber, CEO of ProNewTech, found time to join our interview. He discussed with us what are his impressions about remote work and cybersecurity issues. Let’s read what he told us.

1. How do you see consulting companies in this situation?

For consulting agencies is common to realize international projects and work remotely. In other words, our company has been able to switch from office work to remote work right on March 13th. Our VPN infrastructure and Microsoft Teams provided us with all the necessary instruments to keep working. Only the construction site supervision has been heavily affected since they had to close their site.

In this situation, the public authorities have been the major issue for us, since they haven’t been able to operate at home and forced some of our activities to pause. Unfortunately, this public sector is nearly not digitalized in Luxembourg.

2. Is COVID19 a big threat for consulting services?

Not really. We can realize several tasks like writing an RFP remotely/in teleconference mode. Likewise, we worked on the majority of our consulting activities during the lockdown period.

On the other hand, the public sector stopped all activities on the first day of COVID19 and refused to work from private computers/tablets. As a consequence circa 40% of the turnover dropped down. For sure this will heavily impact our results by the end of the year 2020. Unfortunately, we won’t either be eligible for any type of aid in the future, since our business kept running during this crisis.

3. While working remotely during this COVID19 we are all using different platforms. Are they safe and how can we secure our company?

Our organization has safe in-house IT infrastructures. We only use Office 365 cloud and sometimes One Note / SharePoint and Teams services as collaboration tools.

From my point of view, it is a pity that no EU company is offering efficient video collaboration services such as the USA. If they did, we for sure would use European systems.

Moreover, we protect our data by using FW / VPN services and we store them in private NAS systems. As well, our virtualized servers are in-house. We strictly suggest and avoid to use public cloud services because it is difficult to guarantee their safety.

4. How are your employees working now? What is their working routine now? Do they have meetings?

Our team has been entirely working at home from the 13th March till the last week. Every morning we hold a team meeting on Microsoft Teams to preserve the company’s spirit alive.

During these moments, we exchange every positive news regarding our business, e.g. new potential projects.

5. Some analysis shows that there are 1 million unfilled Cybersecurity Professionals positions worldwide (potentially rising to 3.5 million by 2021). How does your business respond to that? How do you see future trends?

ProNewTech is actively doing consulting in Cybersecurity and it one of our biggest demands right now. We are aware that a lot of companies are worried about hacking attacks and a more significant number of companies have experienced cyberattacks recently. 

Usually, we recommend our customers to create in-house infrastructures to have more control. They need as well to avoid adopting cloud-based Firewall systems. For example, our ISO 27 00X based risk analysis assists them to bypass lots of cybersecurity risks.

As we all demand to protect our private data, we see a bright future in the cybersecurity domain concerning our business.

6. Do you agree with studies that predict that IoT Attacks will be more frequent and easier to be done? Do more connected devices mean more risks for users and companies?

Connected devices are, and will be a challenge. We may need them and they surely help us to regulate and monitor huge amounts of applications. For instance, IoT technologies can improve our activities: they can help us to reduce energy consumption, build smart cities, and smart cars.

However, this type of device has limited capabilities and the field of IT security will have to work to avoid possible failures. We can’t rely on a single device, but we need to create a proper system that monitors it.

Only in this case, IoT devices will be a great asset for our societies. If such network rules are not respected, more single failures of an IoT device are likely to happen.

For this reason, I believe that we Europeans need to create our domains and infrastructures too. We have relied too much on American or Chinese tools so far. The major issue about utilizing them is that, since they have been created in another Country, they adhere to the regulations of that specific state. The biggest challenge for us Europeans for the next years will be to create our IT systems and software. This way, they will respect our laws in matters of privacy, and we will be able to decrease the risk of cyberattacks from abroad.

Thank you Mr. Streber for discussing with us those important matters and we hope all our readers will profit from your suggestions.