NEC XON appoints Armand Kruger as Head of Cybersecurity

Issue 2/3 2023 News & Events, Information Security

Armand Kruger.

NEC XON has announced the appointment of Armand Kruger as the Head of Cybersecurity. Kruger will oversee all cybersecurity offerings including cybersecurity strategy, programmes, and executive advisory.

Jason Barr, NEC XON Executive Safety Solutions says Kruger brings deep cybersecurity nous to the new role, having served as the Head of Cyber Operations at NEC XON. “His core focus has been on tactical incident response and threat hunting, and we are delighted to promote Armand into this key position given the excellent reputation he has built with us over the years,” says Barr. Before joining NEC XON, Kruger worked at Vodacom as a threat hunter, focusing on cyber threat simulations and attack scenarios.

Kruger has been involved in countless major cybersecurity incidents, including digital hands-on-keyword battles with ransomware operations. He believes that incident response can be complex, and business coordination is key, but the unspoken rule leaders tend to forget in stressful situations is to remain composed and systematically find the source of the threat.

“The contemporary demand for connecting numerous individuals in far-flung locations through interconnected systems, data sources, and storage presents a complex and extremely demanding cybersecurity landscape. This landscape comes with various competing requirements like accessibility and availability versus privacy and protection. Hackers frequently take advantage of the vulnerabilities that arise due to the intricacies of managing and maintaining these diverse environments,” says Kruger.

He harnesses a ‘hacker mind-set’ to help customers become cyber resilient. “The biggest cybersecurity risks facing companies today are embedded in the rise of the cyber economy with digital cartels driving cyber risk. It’s important to be proactive to maintain threat resistance. Constant cybersecurity housekeeping is vital to stay up to date and eliminate most threats, while intensive research into emerging threat tradecraft keeps the more serious threat actors at bay,” he says.

Methodology and security culture

Kruger believes that cybersecurity strategy stands on three legs: strategic, operational, and tactical. He sees architecture, culture, operations, mission, and direction as vital components of a successful cybersecurity programme and measures the effectiveness of these components by comparing them to industry standards and validating them through tactical simulations.

He believes that a cybersecurity culture journey is vital to balance the need for strong security measures with the need for employees to access the systems and data they need to do their jobs. He says that employees need to know why these measures are in place and align how they think, consume data and behave with that understanding. Given the move towards ecosystem business, that culture must extend beyond the company walls.

That third-party risks are a major concern for cyber leaders and Kruger emphasises that partners and third-party vendors need to understand the strategy that the business is following and the reason for the enforced security measures. Either they comply, or they don’t do business.

AI and machine learning in cybersecurity

Kruger sees artificial intelligence and machine learning playing a major role in the future of cybersecurity, especially around automated security operations. He says that cybersecurity skills will always be essential, but that AI has the potential to augment cyber capabilities if used correctly.

To stay informed about changes to regulations and standards related to cybersecurity, Kruger personally invests in research and industry communication. He evaluates the strategic direction of change, compares it to the clients’ business goals and embeds them into the cybersecurity strategies he implements.

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