Interview With Michaël Vanderheeren – Barco

Aviva Zacks of Safety Detective sat down with Michaël Vanderheeren, Product Director Meeting Experience at Barco, and asked him how he feels cybersecurity will change with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Safety Detective: What got you interested in cybersecurity?

Michaël Vanderheeren: I have always been a computer addict in a sense—on the geeky edge of the computer side of the world. I studied engineering and computer science, and I’ve been always interested in what software can do and the trade-off between experience and security.

SD: What are the divisions within Barco?

MV: Barco has three different divisions: an entertainment division, a healthcare division, and an enterprise division.

If you go to any cinema worldwide, there is a 50% chance that the movie you’re seeing is being projected by a Barco projector from our entertainment division. In healthcare, we deliver, amongst other solutions, medical screens for operating rooms and for diagnosing.

For the enterprise, we have a presence within control room environments, and we service the corporate meeting space—from the huddle room to the board room—with our ClickShare solution. ClickShare gives you the capability to wirelessly share your screen from your laptop to the meeting room without having to have an HDMI cable plugged in. In February, we added ClickShare Conference to our portfolio which enables you to do wireless conferencing with remote participants.

Within the context of our enterprise market, of course, there is no doubt that security plays a big role. We have defense customers, for example, who oversee global security cameras and government operations from their control rooms.  As you can imagine, security is of paramount importance for them.  For those customers and for all of Barco’s ClickShare customers, we take security protocols very seriously and employ state-of-the-art security measures across our entire product portfolio.

SD: What are the industries that would use your different technologies and services?

MV: Barco’s product portfolio is used across a multitude of industries.  We have security experience in defense and avionics with Barco because we make screens for planes, defense equipment, and vehicles. We’ve also worked with governments, oil, and gas.

With ClickShare, it’s much broader than that: large enterprises, Fortune 1000 companies, within different industry verticals all leverage the product. If you look at the ClickShare solution, every company has meeting rooms and is looking to enhance their collaboration within that meeting space.  We have about 750,000 meeting rooms worldwide equipped with ClickShare systems. So, any company that is looking to enhance productivity, creativity, and collaboration is a viable customer for the ClickShare solution and they all want to share in a secure way within and beyond the meeting room.

SD: What do you think is the worst cyberthreat out there today?

MV: The worst cyberthreats today are the threats that find their way into a company via the employees. As an IT organization, this can be a critically vulnerable point. You are able to put many defenses in place: antivirus equipment, firewalls, and specific server equipment. But it’s up to the employee to be conscious about how they work and to employ the tools that are required to maintain a secure environment. To me, that’s the weak point and the point that is being exploited the most. You frequently find phishing attacks or sending malicious emails as avenues that hackers use to gain entry into a company.

In Belgium, there were two examples of companies that were recently overtaken by a virus and malware that was spread via the email of employees. This is going to happen more and more.  Social engineering has become an “on-ramp” for hackers.  By learning who someone is and how they work, hackers leverage that information to access company information.  So, it is the employee that could present the greatest risk but there is also an opportunity to educate and empower that employee on how to implement security best practices and make him or her a guardian of the company.

This is exactly where our ClickShare solutions fit. We provide a secure and easy-to-use experience that people trust within their working environment. We developed the product with security in mind and adhere to the ISO27001 process to ensure we act accordingly. These are important elements as a vendor to ensure trust is installed in the products that your employees use.

SD: How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic has changed cybersecurity forever?

MV: I think a good example is in the collaboration space. People are working from home much more than they did before. You can see that from the statistics. People are using video conferencing software like Microsoft Teams, Webex, or Zoom much more than ever before.

As recently as a few months ago, there were a lot of things that were still “accepted” in terms of security. But now, with more and more people working from home, companies are becoming very conscious about the tools their employees are using from home, especially those recently installed as a result of their users who, in absence of on-site IT, are finding their own solutions to problems they need to address.  This is what they call shadow IT, or applications and infrastructure that are managed and utilized without the knowledge of the enterprise’s IT department. This has been what is happening with Zoom as millions around the world start to jump on the platform to collaborate with their friends and business partners.

But as more and more people start to use it, vulnerabilities start to expose themselves. Now let me say that I think Zoom did a tremendously good job responding to this whole situation, but, at the beginning of the crisis, they scaled up their video conferencing and were not fully prepared for the effect of it. In other words, they expanded so quickly and in such a short time that they forgot about one crucial thing—security, specifically scaling security with the rest of the infrastructure. And it’s important even more with COVID because with people working from home, you want all those connections to be secure.

As a result of this, many companies are making sure that they have everything under control and are running all their traffic through secure channels such as a VPN which requires users to login. But there is a delicate balance to be made here between the user experience and security. As you design a product, you need to weigh in the security aspects and the impact on the overall user experience. A company can always tightly lock everything down, but if it becomes inflexible and unusable, then what is the point?   And I think VPNs are a very good example where you need to give people the tools and the flexibility to work in an efficient way if they work remotely.

Businesses will begin to re-open and employees will return to the workplace. However, I think that COVID has fundamentally changed how we work. Remote workers will now be a standard, not an exception, for how we collaborate so it is imperative that we have smart and secure collaboration solutions, like ClickShare, to ensure seamless engagement whether in the office or working from home. This is our new reality and preparing our workplace and our employees to work smartly and securely is essential for future success. And again, for Barco, balancing security and usability is a continuous exercise—being conscious of the environment our products are being used in and designing solutions to meet our customers’ needs.

About the Author

Aviva Zacks
Aviva Zacks
Cybersecurity Expert and Writer

About the Author

Aviva Zacks is a content manager, writer, editor, and really good baker. When she's not working, she enjoys reading on her porch swing with a cup of decaf.