Aviva Zacks of Safety Detective had the chance to interview Marc Wilczek, COO and Managing Director of Link11, and found out how his company’s cloud security platform helps protect businesses without disruption.
Safety Detective: What got you interested in cybersecurity?
Marc Wilczek: A desire to help businesses survive. I enjoy trying to keep out the bad guys and to make sure organizations can run their business in a safe environment. I’ve been working in the cybersecurity field for the past 13 years.
SD: Can you tell me what Link11 does?
MW: We’re a cyber resilience provider. That means we protect our clients against a number of different threats, mostly related to unforeseen business disruption and outages. We do that through a number of different services. Without getting into too much technical detail, what all of these services have in common is machine learning and artificial intelligence that can detect abnormalities when it comes to data traffic.
If you think about the whole digital transformation that is keeping us all busy, the need for cybersecurity boils down to the fact organizations exposing their mission-critical services and reputation to the internet. Our job is to run our cloud security platform and services to make sure that cyberattacks don’t result in any outages. Using DDoS mitigation—one of the services we’re particularly strong in and our flagship service—we prevent bad guys from being able to take an organization offline.
SD: Which verticals use your technology?
MW: Financial services, logistics companies, utilities, media, e-commerce, and online gaming and betting. What all of these industries have in common is essentially a very strong dependence on their online presence.
These days, media is digital. It’s no longer in print. The same applies when it comes to banking because banking is not a brick-and-mortar business. It’s all online. And any disruption, any outage—for hours or even for days—would backfire and translate into massive financial losses. So our job is to make sure that there is no disruption, and that all these platforms, apps, and web portals are available 24/7, 365 days a year.
SD: What do you feel is the worst cyberthreat out there?
MW: Well, there is not just a single threat—it’s a combination of multiple things. But in the digital world, the risk of disruption is clearly one of the most pressing ones, because the internet is almost like electricity now. The internet plays such a vital role across so many different use cases. Think about autonomous driving and telematic services. If you need a parking space somewhere, if you want to order food online, it all depends on the internet. If the internet is not available—and I’m not just talking about minutes, but hours or days—the blackout can have massive effects on society as a whole. I clearly consider that as being one of the major risks. By the way that is in line with, for example, the World Economic Forum, which has said that large scale cyberattacks are among the top 10 risks going forward for the next decade.
What makes cybersecurity more challenging these days is that it’s not just individual bad guys and criminal organizations that are engaging in cybercrime. Nation-states are engaging in cyber warfare, too. So the landscape is getting much more complicated. More people with deep pockets are conquering the space. The risks are getting bigger, and measures need to be put in place to ensure the risks are being addressed and mitigated.
SD: How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic has changed cybersecurity for the future?
MW: Some companies were more prepared than others for remote work, and rolling it out was highly disruptive for a number of different industries. From a security perspective, the risks associated with remote work are much more complicated now.
For example, if your VPN server is attacked, your entire workforce will be blocked from accessing corporate data. If people were in the office and a cyberattack blocked the internet, people could at least work to some extent. But if your entire workforce is at home and your VPN connection is down, it brings everything to an instant standstill. Even worse, imagine if your security admins are at home too and can’t reach the systems because everything was down. That would be a very challenging situation. The time that lapses between the detection of the attack and the corrective actions can be extremely long, and the risks associated with that are going through the roof. Many organizations aren’t prepared to act in a remote fashion for such a long period. It’s definitely been a big stretch for many organizations.