"The pandemic drove us forward".

The third edition of the Swiss Cyber Security Days will take place on March 10 and 11, 2021, not in the physical world as before, but completely virtually. A conversation with initiator and organizer Béat Kunz.


m&kMr. Kunz, is it a particularly big challenge to Swiss Cyber Security Days to organize in times of Corona?

Béat Kunz: Yes, that was and is very challenging. After all, setting up digital platforms has not been our core competence up to now. We had to bring together various providers, it's a relatively complex technological structure, including livestreaming and ticketing servers and a system for simultaneous translation of the keynotes into three languages. To do this, we had to put together a competence network with the best people to make the whole thing fly - and we succeeded. This team is mastering the whole thing with flying colors. As a result, we've already launched the SCSD 365 platform, which wasn't supposed to launch until 2022. The papers and expo section of SCSD365 will be accessible throughout the year and will be continuously supplemented by up-to-date virtual conferences and editorial contributions.


Thematically, you are moving in the digital world anyway - was it therefore easier to move the event into the virtual space? 

Clearly, in the area of information security, people are more responsive to this. Most of our partners and sponsors have responded very positively. They have also recognized that, especially in times when physical presence and meetings are not possible, you simply cannot neglect such a networking opportunity and source of information.


What are the highlights in this year's program?

It is certainly the most attractive program since the launch of the Cyber Security Days. We offer topics that concern everyone, such as national security, to which Army Chief and Corps Commander Thomas Süssli will speak. Likewise, the French Major General Didier Tisseyre, Commander of Cyber Defense (Comcyber), will speak, Also a presentation by the Federal Commissioner for Cybersecurity, Florian Schütz is on the program. In addition, Martin Vetterli, President of the EPF Lausanne, will speak about the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in Switzerland. A panel from the Cyber Peace Institute will contribute a possible "roadmap" toward cyber peace, and an international panel from the World Economic Forum will discuss global aspects of cybersecurity. The second day will feature the National SME Day, where SME bosses and decision makers will also be made aware of issues such as cyber threats. Awareness-raising aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises will be used to raise awareness of cyber risks. Specific cases of attacks on Swiss companies, their consequences will also be discussed and practical solutions sought. We are particularly looking forward to the keynote speech by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Other notable supporters and speakers, in addition to those already mentioned, are entrepreneur André Kudelski and Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, who is also the patron. Among others, the Geneva Center for Security Policy and the European Space Agency will also be represented.


The Swiss Cyber Security Days will take place for the third time on March 10 and 11. Have interest and participation in the trade fair increased significantly?

Yes, especially with the digital platform, our community will continue to develop and strengthen, especially on an international level, where our level of awareness is growing significantly.


Has the topic also gained in importance?

Yes, if only because many now work in home offices. According to a recent study, a quarter of Swiss SMEs have already been the target of a cyber attack. More than a third have suffered financial or reputational consequences. That's why there is an urgent need to talk about it more and look for practical solutions together.


Do Swiss service providers in the field of cyber security have particularly good opportunities in a global comparison?

Swiss companies and educational institutions such as ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne enjoy an excellent reputation. Since we are considered a neutral and secure country, it is naturally particularly attractive to store and manage one's data in Switzerland. There are various initiatives to this end, for example the company Mount10 will present its cyber defense offering at the SME Day.

In which industries is the topic particularly relevant?

Among other things, interest in cyber security in the healthcare sector has increased enormously. Pharmaceutical companies working on vaccines are currently particularly exposed to attacks.


How fit is Switzerland in international comparison?

As the organizer, we are convinced that Switzerland must become more autonomous in the field of cyber security. We can rely on a broad innovation potential. However, there is also a great hemorrhaging of experts in Switzerland.


What connects you personally with the topic?

Four years ago, I realized that until then there was no national platform in Switzerland in the field of cyber security. I shared my vision and the idea with some colleagues. With the support of various experts, we then decided to create this platform. After all, we are all confronted with this issue on a daily basis. This way, we can contribute to making our world a little safer.

Will the hybrid delivery format gain traction even after the covid pandemic is over?

It's safe to say that digitization in live marketing is evolving. Very strongly and very quickly - the Covid crisis has greatly accelerated this. But I'm also convinced that physical events will continue to exist, because we're human beings and we want to use all five senses, they're simply part of us. That's why the social aspects are so important - that's why there won't just be the virtual level in the future.


So despite everything, does the Corona crisis also have something positive for you?

Yes, that is absolutely the case. For me, the glass is always half full. Personally, I always see such situations as a challenge. I'm always very motivated when such challenges arise - and I'm lucky to work with a super team.

The Cyber Security Days will take place on March 10 and 11, 2021.

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