interview Samir Aliyev

Today we’re turning the tables and speaking with Samir Aliyev who initiated the Global Cyber Conference. A wholehearted entrepreneur, Samir established the Swiss Cyber Institute in 2019 which offers cyber security education programs, training, and access to an exclusive global cyber security community.  

Samir also happens to be Academic Program Director of CAS Data Protection Officer and Cyber Security for Leaders Programs of the Executive School of Management, Technology and Law at the University of St. Gallen, where he teaches cyber security risk management and data protection governance to senior-level executives. 

In this interview, Samir explains how the conference project emerged, sheds some light on the conference’s key topics, the expected attendance, and what he’s working towards to make this event one of a kind.

What motivated you to host such a conference? 

To unlock the true potential of the digital economy, cybersecurity must be prioritized in all domains of society and the economy. I thrive to help societies build safe and secure networks and this led me to create the Swiss Cyber Institute which provides cyber security educational programs for career preparation and preparatory training for the Swiss Federal Exams. 

My initial vision was to combine three pillars, namely education, community, and thought leadership, and hence, provide the opportunity for leading experts to share best practices to help the cybersecurity industry function better. It is no secret that a gathering of people from the same industry and with similar objectives will really help us build a sense of community. 

Despite a growing awareness of cyber risks, decision-makers and cyber experts are yet to be aligned in terms of prioritizing cybersecurity at all levels of their business strategy and processes. Therefore, hosting a conference networking and learning platform for cyber security key decision-makers was the next natural step for me, enabling these stakeholders to gain a shared understanding of what needs to be done to strengthen cyber resilience.

Tell us more about the Global Cyber Conference? 

The Global Cyber Conference aims to gather over two days 500 security leaders and over 50 world-class speakers from Swiss and international multinational and SME companies, public authorities, and academia. It will provide a unique opportunity to network amongst peers, share insights and learn about the latest trends to enhance cyber security within businesses. 

Another reason to consider attending our event stems from the fact that it is going to be a conference with no sales pitches where we aim to deliver marketing-free unique cyber security knowledge.

Which themes can attendees expect? 

Our conference agenda is built around three main themes: digital transformation, secure finance and banking, and human-centric cyber security. 

First, Digital Transformation. Cyber security’s importance is increasing dramatically as the digitalization of businesses accelerates. Our conference speakers will share insights on the key challenges security leaders are facing to enhance cyber resilience within their organizations and the wider ecosystem. 

Our second theme is about Secure Finance and Banking. Cybercrime is a major threat to the banking and financial services industries which are critical to our global economy. It is crucial to stay ahead of cybercriminals and be fully aware of the measures that security leaders should implement. 

The third theme will look at Human-centric Cyber Security. Digitalization is already ubiquitous with endless possibilities and so are the perils for the people. Adopting cyberculture at the heart of organizations will increase cyber resilience.

“We have a strong team working on the Global Cyber Conference. The combination of our open-minded nature, endless curiosity, our coordinated way of working, coupled with pragmatism, is what sets us apart and will allows us to deliver a spectacular event.”  Samir Aliyev

What does make the Global Cyber Conference different? 

In the first place, the Global Cyber Conference is an in-person event. We all know that digital events have gained some popularity, however, I believe that digital events come across as a pale imitation of traditional events. 

Our conference is curated by the Swiss Cyber Institute’s Advisory Board and community experts. At the Global Cyber Conference, we will welcome business leaders, senior security professionals, cyber security and risk management practitioners, and media partners. Companies that operate in cyber security and data privacy areas will benefit from an unparalleled opportunity to build business relationships with some of the leading and most influential cyber security decision-makers. 

To give you a short overview, we have successfully attracted several international speakers from leading organizations in a very short time span, including Christopher Painter who is the former Senior Director for Cyber Policy at the White House, Steve Brown from Mastercard Europe, Philipp Grabher, CISO of Canton Zurich, Daren Argyle, CISRO at Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, Howard Whyte, Executive Vice President & CISO at Truist Financial Corporation, Anna Pouliou from Deloitte Belgium, Kevin Morrison from Alaska Airlines, and many more. 

Our conference delegates will get the chance to take part in a special session with Kevin Mitnick – the world’s most famous ethical hacker – who will reveal critical vulnerabilities and explain how technology will impact organizations. Kevin Mitnick hacked into 40 major corporations just for the challenge, he is now a trusted security consultant to Fortune 500 and governments worldwide.

“We’ve had many things to celebrate at Swiss Cyber Institute over the past two and a half years. I’m confident that there’ll be many more ahead. Every success, be it big or small, contributes to our vision of creating an unforgettable conference experience for both our speakers and participants.”  Samir Aliyev

A final word on what the future holds for Global Cyber Conference 

We’re looking to grow quickly and already plan to organize the Global Cyber Conference in Geneva and Zurich in 2023. Our journey has been very exciting so far and we’ve already entered our next growth phase. We absolutely want you to become a part of this journey and be part of one of Switzerland’s biggest cyber security conferences. 

Our plan is to make 2022 and the coming years just as positively transformative as the previous. Swiss Cyber Institute will continue to focus on improving operational efficiency, driving global partnerships, and further developing our cyber security community value proposition. All in all, we have a great journey ahead of us which promises to maximize our solid impact on the state of cyber security in Switzerland and globally.