A Journey from Sweden to Silicon Valley and back with René Majcen

Intervju med Cynode, René Majcen

For this week’s blog, we interviewed René Majcen, a cyber security veteran with an impressive track record spanning over 30 years, who recently joined Cynode. Interviewing René was truly insightful. René brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. He not only delves into the past to give us the context but also provides valuable guidance to tackle cyber security challenges companies encounter today.

Intro to René Majcen

From the picturesque landscapes of southern Sweden, with roots tracing back to Croatia René Majcen has travelled, lived, and worked extensively across the globe. Working for the Swedish Trade Council and HP his journey in Cyber Security has led him from exotic cities in Asia to the bustling tech hubs of Palo Alto, US.

From the early days of modems and bulletin boards, René’s initial foray into the world of IT was as a hobbyist, tinkering with and building personal computers. Those were much simpler times and René’s career eventually lead him to Hewlett-Packard (HP), building complex and intricate environments that were less about security and more about functionality and connectivity. However, as technology advanced, so did the threats. Over three decades, security gradually shifted from the background to the forefront. The time spent in Palo Alto with HP was a testament to this shift, where the focus began to lean heavily on safeguarding digital assets.

René moved to Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) becoming the Technical Head of Cyber security, this move solidified his views around cyber security. In the past IT was a vehicle that allowed businesses to move a little quicker and be more efficient. But today IT is at the epicentre of everything that takes place in an organisation. It was clear that cyber security was no longer just an IT concern; it is a business imperative.

René believes the way cyber security is seen today is starkly different from 15 years ago. There are multiple facets to this change. For one, the nature and sophistication of attacks have evolved. René sees this is largely attributed to the increased attack surface, a consequence of our growing digital footprint. Years ago, desktop computers and servers were practically the only concern, and they were broadly protected by a physical boundary, they were in an office, or a computer room owned and secured by a company. But these days computers are on the move, or in the cloud never to be touched by human hand. The attack surface has been opened to include web sites, ATMs as well as tablets, Point of Sale (PoS) devices, medical equipment and the most ubiquitous of all, that little computer that goes everywhere with you, the one that has corporate and personal data on it.

Moreover, the technological threat landscape has become expansive. With numerous actors in the chain, interdependencies have increased to 3rd and 4th party risk, making the ecosystem more vulnerable. Cyber security, in many ways, has been transformed into a business in its own right.

To add to this security puzzle, we now have Artificial Intelligence (AI) which has added another layer of complexity. While AI holds immense potential for commercial efficiencies and automation, it also expands further the attack surface, making the task of securing digital assets even more challenging.

Recommendations for the Modern CISO/CIO

For organisations looking to bolster their cyber security posture, René offers some valuable principles:

Start with a Comprehensive Assessment and Define Your Baseline

René sees many organisations that want to build a better security posture, but they don’t know where to start. Getting the existing cyber resilience assessed and defining the baseline is crucial to charting the way forward.

Work With a Good Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP)

Partnering with MSSPs can offer immediate access to expertise and resources that might be beyond the reach of an individual organisation.

Classify Your Data

You can’t protect your data if you don’t know what it is, where it is and how it is classified. Being in control of your data is good for security and good for regulations.

Manage Regulatory Requirements Wisely

Regulations such as GDPR, NIS, and others provide solid frameworks to ensure that companies enhance their resilience and protect their own and customer data. However, many regulations have requirements that are open to interpretation. This means that regulatory compliance could be more costly than necessary. It is advisable to seek peer and expert advice in managing regulatory requirements.

Build Long Lasting Organisational Cyber Capabilities

Ensuring cyber resilience is a never-ending endeavour. The only way to have an efficient operation is to build capabilities around your people, processes, and technology, rather than focusing on short term wins or box ticking.

Human factor

We humans, still appear to be the most risk inducing factor for cyber security efforts. It is key to build programs to keep employees trained. It is important to have cultural ambassadors to raise awareness.

The Move to Cynode

René joins Cynode with a wealth of experience both in cyber security terms but also in terms of his understanding of businesses around the world and how they function. The decision to join Cynode was influenced by multiple factors. At its core, cyber security is about trust. Working with an experienced and trusted team amplifies the impact one can have in this domain. Additionally, the speed and agility offered by smaller organisations like Cynode provide a competitive edge in the ever-evolving world of cyber security.

About Cynode

Cynode is a Cyber Security initiative launched in September 2022 by Nordic LEVEL Group to further strengthen its advisory services offering and meet the strong demand from the Group’s customers. The initiative is positioned as the preferred Cyber Security partner for Nordic SMBs and Enterprises. The business focuses on minimizing organizations’ exposure to cyber threats and strengthening their Cyber Security posture with Advisory Assurance services.


Cynode Press contacts:

Sebastian Rosendahl

CEO, Cynode

T: +46 (0)70 968 54 03

E: sebastian.rosendahl@cynode.com

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