The 8th annual Cluj Innovation Days was organised entirely online on 12-14 October 2020. Under the title Reshaping work. Consolidating resilience, it focused on overcoming today’s challenges of work in terms of tech, business and innovation. The conference was dedicated to innovation throughout all industries. It aimed at bringing together experts from different areas who can provide key approaches in solving the challenges of today’s society.

The GEIGER project was introduced in a panel discussion Increasing the digital resilience of small businesses - GEIGER counter for cybersecurity. GEIGER had also a booth in the virtual expo area where the participants of the conference could get familiar with the project.

The panel discussion focused on the importance of the awareness of risks that small businesses have related to data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity, and that they get help in reducing those risks. It discussed potential solutions to make cybersecurity more accessible for small businesses, and introduced the GEIGER project.

Moderated by Bettina Schneider, a researcher from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), the discussion started with introducing the GEIGER Project and the members of the speakers of the panel: Heike Klaus, small business owner and co-founder of the e-abo app; Jessica Peichl, research assistant at the University of Education Freiburg (PHF); Edgardo Montes de Oca, founder and CEO of an innovative company in network and application monitoring services Montimage; Ciprian Oprisa, lecturer at Technical University of Cluj-Napoca and Senior Team Lead with Bitdefender; Fabio Sammartino, Head of pre-sales in Kaspersky, and Amedeo D’Arcangelo, designer of cyber-security products in Kaspersky.

A short introduction round was followed up by discussing the burning questions concerning cyber threats and solutions to deal with them. Indeed, the outbreak of the COVID-19 could not be omitted because of its strong negative impact on cybersecurity. According to Fabio Sammartino, the threat landscape has changed negatively, demonstrating complex cyber-attacks that also aim at small and medium sized businesses. Having access to some vital data remotely is also a fertile ground for cyber attacks. The dynamic character of this situation is also explained by our preferences to use more mobile technologies rather than PCs or laptops. To increase the resilience of the small business, the first step to take is raising awareness.

Unfortunately, in the current situation, it is easier said than done. As Heike Klaus pointed out, people do not have a deep understanding of cybersecurity and how to deal with cyber attacks. One of the key goals of the GEIGER project to create an education ecosystem that will serve the needs of small businesses is especially relevant today. As Jessica Peichl stated, the main challenge is that it should be adaptable to any changes in cybersecurity policies in different countries, and it should have a value for both beginners and specialists in cybersecurity. That is why the framework will include different levels of expertise, of which the higher levels will be certified programs. Obtaining a certificate means joining a community of ‘Security Defenders’ who can share their knowledge and teach others to overcome challenges related to digital security.

The GEIGER project also aims at raising awareness on cybersecurity issues through entertaining and effective games, such as those developed by Kaspersky. This is a great approach to target those who do not have any background or expertise in dealing with cybersecurity issues, and it allows them to start identifying and addressing the threats in the playful form, with the guidance of the Security Defenders.

At the end of the session, the panellists agreed that one of the main challenges for the GEIGER project is the affordability of the developed solution and the GEIGER toolbox. Small businesses do often not have an additional budget for pricey cybersecurity software or for expert services to evaluate their needs, so the GEIGER app should be both efficient and not out of the realistic price range for small businesses.

Watch the whole panel discussion here.

Cluj Innovation Days, 12-14 October 2020
Increasing the digital resilience of small businesses - GEIGER counter for cybersecurity

Bettina Schneider, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW)

Jessica Peichl, Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg
Heike Klaus, e-abo
Ciprian Oprisa, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Edgardo Montes de Oca, Montimage
Amedeo D’Arcangelo, Kaspersky
Fabio Sammartino, Kaspersky