Speaker Interviews

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Interview with Ankur Rastogi: Paradigm Shift

John Bensalhia talks to Deutsche Lufthansa AG's Ankur Rastogi about his forthcoming talk at Frankfurt Cloud Expo and the benefits and challenges of migrating a complete application portfolio to the cloud...

AnkurAnkur Rastogi, Group Head – IT Application Management, Transition & Cloud Migration; Senior Director, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, is an MBA, with specialisation in Information Technology & Marketing, and has more than 20 years of international & multi-cultural experience in IT & management consulting.

“I have lived and worked in different geographical regions (UK, India, multiple African countries and now since the last 10 years, in Germany),” says Ankur. “During this tenure, I have handled a variety of roles across both large and small enterprises like Lufthansa Group, Lufthansa Cargo, Oracle, HP Enterprises and QS Advisory.”

“In my career, I have been fortunate to have worked with all stakeholders that are usually involved in IT supply chain, namely Buyer, Supplier and an Advisor who connects the two.”

At Lufthansa Group, Ankur is the Group-wide process owner for IT Transition & Operations: “I am responsible for what I refer to as the four pillars of process standardisation, selecting & managing the right partners, incorporating industry best practices, and utilising the technology platforms like cloud and automation.” Ankur is also heading the central cloud team which has the mandate for group-wide cloud adoption, creating and managing the cloud strategy, and migration of the entire application portfolio to cloud.

Piecing Together Solutions

At the forthcoming Frankfurt Cloud Expo, Ankur will be speaking about digital transformation and how cloud is becoming a key pillar behind it. “For many organisations, cloud continues to be an infrastructure platform,” says Ankur. “However, I believe cloud is a building block behind an organisation’s digital journey. It should be embedded in organisations’ digital strategy.”

“With new operating models, democratisation of technology, and the evolution of cloud platforms, stakeholders can piece together native solutions provided by cloud to create new business models. Cloud brings a paradigm shift in how we approach IT.”

Sustainable Connections

Ankur explains that the purpose of Lufthansa is to connect people, cultures and economies in a sustainable way. “We would like to create seamless and connected travel experience across different touchpoints and our different airlines. To achieve this mission, we would like to leverage the potential of innovation and digital transformation to develop customer centric products and constantly increase efficiency.”

Ankur adds that digital transformation is embedded in Lufthansa’s business strategy. “We aim to expand our position as one of the most innovative and digital airline groups in the world.”


Well-Oiled Service Orchestration

With respect to migrating a complete business portfolio to the cloud, Ankur says that it is not just an infrastructure platform. It helps in building and modelling new business solutions. “Cloud provides a lot of benefits – for instance, agility, flexibility, resiliency, scalability and elasticity. Cloud computing makes backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive. Cloud also helps optimise the consumption of services and provides adaptability to unexpected market conditions. Additionally, cloud adoption helps in contributing towards sustainability.”

At the same time, cloud comes with its own set of challenges, but only if not adopted in a correct manner. “Technical debt in applications causes unexpected challenges when moving to cloud,” explains Ankur. “Not every application is designed for cloud and we should avoid force fitting them there. Cloud also requires a well-oiled service orchestration and management layer.”

“Most importantly, cloud forces us to disrupt our existing and old processes across many different areas.”


Interview with Florian Jorgens: Technology, Processes, People

Florian Jörgens, CISO, Group Corporate Governance, Vorwerk SE & Co. KG, speaks to John Bensalhia about the constant risk of cyber threats and how there is a growing awareness of the outside security risks...

FlorianAs the son of a doctor's assistant and a policeman, Florian Jörgens came into contact with confidential information at an early age. “In my parents' home, it was taken for granted that only very superficial things could be said about professional matters in order to comply with data protection laws and to protect personal data.”

In fact, after joining the IT audit department at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Florian developed the idea of expanding this interest. “Through further stations, employers and contacts I can now look back on more than 10 years of experience in the areas of information security, compliance, governance, audit and data protection.”

Today, Florian is Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Vorwerk SE & Co. KG. Additionally, he is active as a keynote speaker, lecturer, author and research assistant at various universities.

Florian initially developed his professional interest in information technology in 2002. Whilst working as an IT specialist for system integration at T-Systems International GmbH, in application and system support he earned his BSc. in Business Information Systems. “Gaining further experience in IT auditing at PricewaterhouseCoopers and completing a MSc. in IT Management, I then worked for E.ON in Essen as a manager leading information security for the entire German sales organisation.”

Three Protection Goals

In March 2019, as Chief Information Security Officer at LANXESS AG in Cologne, Florian took over holistic responsibility for the group's information security.

“As CISO, I am holistically responsible for information security for the Vorwerk Group worldwide. This includes around 5,000 employees in over 20 countries as well as over 100,000 independent advisors of our products. In doing so, my areas of responsibility are very extensive. This includes, among others, the areas of: Policy, Process, Technologies and Awareness.”

At the core is the information security strategy, which has the task of supporting the business strategy, as Florian outlines: “By using state-of-the-art technological and organisational protection measures, we ensure compliance with the three protection goals of confidentiality, integrity and availability in order to support and protect our business.”

The Human Firewall

Discussing his talk at the forthcoming show, Florian says: “For decades, corporate IT departments have tried to protect company data from attackers by using more and more technology. Starting with antivirus programs, firewalls to heuristic scanners to EDR, MFA, SASE Zero-Trust and the use of artificial intelligence. All of these systems have or had their raison d'être. However, this ignores a fundamental fact. Today, about 70% or almost ¾ of all attacks continue to target humans and only 30% target systems.”

With that in mind, Florian's keynote lecture – entitled "The Human Firewall: How To Create A Culture Of Cyber Security" – will give an insight into the challenges and hurdles of awareness campaigns. Florian will be discussing elements such as the reasons for the continued high ranking of the human factor; what makes a didactic thread succeed; and how high participation rates are achieved. Also discussed in the talk will be essential content (and what does not belong in it);

which stakeholders have to be picked up; and information security for families and kids.

Risk Protection

For both businesses and individuals using computers, Florian says that in 2023, one thing continues to stand out: “The risk of falling victim to a ransomware attack is always hovering over us. That's why we invest a large amount of time to protect ourselves adequately.”

“Phishing is another ongoing issue,” adds Florian. “We also keep a close eye on new technologies and their potential to cause damage. AI and deep fake videos, for example. In principle, however, security still works in the same way as before: technology, processes, people.”

Growing Awareness

While the cyber threat remains, Florian points out that there is a steady increase in awareness. “The reason for this is the continuous awareness measures that companies use as well as the constant reporting in the media. Not a week goes by without "successful" cyber attacks. And even in private life, people are exposed to phishing attempts via e-mail or SMS and stolen access data.”

“That's why we at the Vorwerk Group tried a different approach: Via Information Security for Family & Kids, we want to reach parents in particular. The idea behind it is this: If employees consider something so important that they teach it to their own children, then there is a high probability that they themselves will pay attention to these things at work.”

“It's similar to wearing a bicycle helmet. Although they didn't wear helmets when biking as adults in the past, most parents put them on when biking together with their children, and later they wear them even when biking alone.”

Florian adds that studies have shown that while parents are concerned about their kids' safety online, they spend far too little time online with their kids to address or practice these things: a significant disparity. “A brief outlook on the implementation of that will also be in my presentation at the upcoming Cloud Expo.”

Interview with Swantje Westpfahl: Respect, Transparency, Communication

John Bensalhia talks to Dr Swantje Westpfahl, Director of the Institute for Security and Safety, about methods of combating cybersecurity and why trust plays such an important part.

SwantjeDr Swantje Westpfahl, director of the Institute for Security and Safety at the Brandenburg University for Applied Sciences, will be presenting two topics at this year's Cloud & Cybersecurity Show.

“On the first day, I’m going to talk about ChatGPT and how it can be used to learn how to hack things – in a positive and negative sense. I will also speak about best practices using it and where one should be careful giving away sensitive data.”

On the second day, together with her colleague Dmytro Cherkashyn, Swantje will talk about IT / OT Convergence and will demonstrate in a recorded hack how cyber-physical systems can be attacked. “We’ll show that cyber security of production and other OT facilities is a team effort between corporate security, IT and OT security.”

The Many Faces Of Cybersecurity

Swantje began – like so many in cyber security careers – with hacking computer (2D!) games. “Being very curious and really wanting to have a purposeful job, cybersecurity seemed the best option! However, when I started University, I didn’t even know that there was a sector like that. So I first studied to become a teacher (I have a foible for languages, literature, linguistics and teaching), then did my PhD in Computational Linguistics.”

The latter made Swantje think a lot about data protection and first qualified her for explaining cybersecurity to any kind of target group. “Now, I see that cybersecurity has so many faces and I love them all, I can only encourage people to come working in this field – plus, I get to hack stuff just to prove a point.” 

As the CEO and Director of the Institute for Security and Safety, Swantje's tasks are to develop strategy for the institute as well as being a contact point for collaborations and customers. “However, I still love to go out and deliver simulation exercises or awareness trainings. The teacher in me still loves that!”

Trust And Respect

Discussing the pros and cons for using Chat GPT to combat cyber security,  Swantje says that it is a mighty tool for language and code generation. “It provides fantastic language output and can be used in many cases to find inspiration and to make texts more user-friendly. At the same time, one should always be aware that this technology has it’s limits. There’s a reason it has a disclaimer upfront – so fact checking is a must and sensitive data as well as IP should not be posted as input.”

Swantje adds that In her line of trade, “one learns to mistrust.”

“Working with third parties always means that you need to establish trust and respect. You can do that via certifications but ultimately, it’s about getting to know each other before they let you see their crown jewels or the other way round. Thus, it’s mostly about respect, transparency and good communication.”


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