The how and the why of cyber innovation

Martijn Dekker
5 min readDec 3, 2022

Currently security professionals are struggling with at least three problems. They are facing a big shortage of qualified people to fill the growing number of vacancies in their workforce. They are facing the need to secure a growing attack surface, mostly due to a longer supply chain. And the third problem they are facing is the growing sophistication of the attacks and threats.

One of the strategies any security leader needs to consider is taking a leading role in driving innovation in the security solution space. Next to explaining the ‘why’, I will also provide some suggestions for ‘how’ to do this and call out some essential succes factors. And I will show a succesful implementation.

The hacker mindset

To adress the first problem we should look at the hacker mindset. To attrack people to the cybersecurity field, we need to understand what are the characteristics of people that would be interested to do so and what would make them happy and succesful teammembers.

A simple search on wikipedia yields the following definition of the hacker culture, which in my experience is very true:

The hacker culture is a subculture of individuals who enjoy – often in collective effort – the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming the limitations of software systems or electronic hardware (mostly digital electronics), to achieve novel and clever outcomes.

The highlighted words (collective, intellectual, creatively, noval and clever) reflect the most important properties of the hacker culture. Any security leader looking to add people to their team, is looking for people that like to work with others, like intellectual challenges and that find joy in discovering new and clever solutions. By providing opportunities to work on innovative cybersecurity solitions you can create a place where those professionals want to work.

Ecosystem security

Security professionals are realising that to secure the assets of their organisation they need to take into account the security of the assets in the surrounding eco system as well. This is caused by the fact that the level of connectedness is increasing and supply chains are becoming longer and extended. This also implies…

Martijn Dekker

Martijn is a PhD, top-executive, scientist and CISO with more than 25 years of experience pushing the limits of information security.