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The Nominees for the 2023 Cybersecurity Defender of the 12 months Award in EMEA

Cybersecurity professionals are sometimes perceived as sole practitioners, plying their craft in dimly lit rooms. Nothing might be farther from the reality, as one of many keys to being a profitable cybersecurity skilled is the power to collaborate and, extra importantly, to share information as far and vast as potential.

At Cisco, we now have shaped the Cisco Insider Advocacy program, which consists of a worldwide group of execs keen about working and spreading their information with others. We rejoice these people’ efforts with annual awards in numerous disciplines and locales. In 2023, Cisco will acknowledge prime advocates by area for the International Advocate Awards. Our first occasion – highlighting Cisco prospects from throughout the EMEA area – is across the nook. All of it occurs at Cisco Dwell in Amsterdam, in a stay ceremony on February 8!

I’m joined on the Advocate Awards judges’ panel by my colleagues, Cindy Valladares, Director of Model Technique and Buyer Advocacy at Cisco Safe, Caroline Surujpaul, EMEA and European Advertising and marketing Director at Cisco Safe and Sarah Stephens, Senior Safety Advertising and marketing Chief for EMEA at Cisco Safe. We’re happy to introduce the nominees for the Cybersecurity Defender of the 12 months Award in EMEA.

We have now 5 distinguished nominees, and whereas we now have but to pick a winner, you will notice how every of their contributions to Cisco’s cybersecurity group raised our consideration.

Nominees for 2023 EMEA Cybersecurity Defender of the 12 months

Alessandro Braga  – CDO, Expertise Backyard

Alessandro was featured in a current profitable case examine about the Way forward for Work with Umbrella, in addition to an earlier piece about simplified safety utilizing Cisco Meraki in Expertise Backyard.

Alessandro additionally authored a guide about digital transformation lengthy earlier than it was a typical buzzword. That’s typical of Alessandro’s foresight, the power to be proactive to modifications earlier than they’re commonplace. He’s certainly on the leading edge.

Alessandro considers his involvement within the Advocacy group as “a very simple aim for me. First, as a result of I’m very keen about cybersecurity, and second as a result of right here I can discover very invaluable friends and professionals to share data with.” Alessandro’s skills are borne from ardour, drive, and adherence to a private code of excellence; he realized safety in a strictly hands-on type. He’s additionally a member of Cisco’s “League of Cybersecurity Heroes.”

Christoffer Vargtass Hallstensen – Head of SOC, Norwegian College of Science and Expertise

Christoffer, the most recent Cisco Insider Advocacy group member, has gotten off to a brisk involvement with the group. He was just lately featured within the case examine “NTNU Helps a Numerous Tutorial and Analysis Group with Proactive Safety,” which detailed how the Norwegian College of Science and Expertise tackled the administration of a dizzying 110,000 endpoints connecting to the college’s VPN.

Christoffer totally embraces the ideology of collaboration, mentioning that when he was looking for a safety resolution, “We didn’t desire a vendor. We didn’t desire a product. We needed a companion to assist us assault this huge drawback of cybersecurity.”  He additionally demonstrates a fervent dedication to sharing by authoring half a dozen works within the cybersecurity realm, starting from scientific to educational articles. His involvement within the Insider Advocacy group has earned him a spot in Cisco’s “League of Cybersecurity Heroes.”

Mark Healey – Senior Cyber Safety Engineer, South Yorkshire Police

Mark is without doubt one of the most erudite cybersecurity professionals one might meet. He has in depth instructional credentials and enjoys sharing his information, making him one of many High 10 most engaged advocates of the Cybersecurity Channel inside the Cisco Insider Advocates group.

Mark’s skilled involvement extends past his native precinct, providing his information of safety finest practices throughout the UK Policing group. In finishing his most up-to-date college diploma, he authored a dissertation that “has led to an initiative to enhance the safety posture of my office.” Mark’s assist to different Cisco prospects has additionally led to his election as Vice-Chair of the Web Society Cybersecurity Particular Curiosity Group. He’s additionally a member of Cisco’s “League of Cybersecurity Heroes.”

Luigi Vassallo – COO & CTO, Sara Assicurazioni

Luigi is a invaluable member of the Insider Advocacy group and was just lately featured in a video and written success story about Zero Belief and XDR.

Luigi is an agent of change who embraces the collaborative spirit of a real cybersecurity skilled, as exemplified in his complete skilled strategy: “For the reason that infrastructure is now cloud-based, we needed to change our mindset relating to cybersecurity as effectively. It was vital to have the individuals, the method, the organisation, and the expertise underneath the identical safety umbrella.”

When not working to make sure the safety of the Sara Assicurazioni setting, Luigi has devoted time to talking at occasions, such because the “Consultants Studying from Consultants” international digital session, a particular digital roundtable devoted to Zero Belief and, final however not least, his presentation at Cisco Dwell Emea in Amsterdam about XDR and Zero Belief. His contributions to the Insider Advocacy platform mirror a tireless dedication to the cybersecurity group. Luigi can also be a member of Cisco’s “League of Cybersecurity Heroes.”

Diego Zengin – International CTO, Grupo Cosentino

Final yr, Diego participated as speaker on the Tech Discussion board: Convergencia entre redes y seguridad. He can even be featured in a future ThreatWise TV – Cisco episode

Diego recognised early on that distant work would place his organisation outdoors the scope of their safety and took proactive measures to satisfy the problem. A part of his proactive strategy is to freely talk his concepts, resulting in his involvement within the Insider Advocacy group. This has additionally earned him a spot inside Cisco’s “League of Cybersecurity Heroes.”

Diego’s view of working with Cisco’s merchandise is summed up in a catchy phrase: “If it’s linked, it’s protected.” His involvement inside the Insider Advocacy group makes us echo that sentiment by stating that he’s linked, serving to to maintain everybody protected.

Supporting Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion

One level of notice is the absence of girls from the listing of nominees. This was not the results of bias, as Cisco has a historical past of considerable range, fairness, and inclusion.  As you’ll be able to see from the actions of the present nominees, the choice was primarily based strictly on contributions to the group. We’d like to see extra engagement and membership within the Insider Advocacy program, not solely from girls however from a broader geographic space. This may enhance the alternatives of potential nominees and add an excellent wider palette of inclusion to your complete nomination course of.

We all know that there’s a complete inhabitants of cybersecurity professionals who search extra reference to like-minded people, and we welcome you to affix this cohesive group.

Be part of Cisco’s most strategic, forward-thinking buyer and companion advocates so
we are able to function your story of ardour and dedication on our subsequent nomination listing!


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Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs,, and With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


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