Build trust: Why real knowledge is crucial to overcome false promises

by Black Hat Middle East and Africa
Build trust: Why real knowledge is crucial to overcome false promises

In February 2024, ZENDATA Cybersecurity was selected as the global cybersecurity company to join the UAE Ministry of Economy’s NextGEN FDI program. And this is just one of many achievements the company has realised over the last decade, under the leadership of Steven Meyer and Isabelle Meyer (Co-Founder and Co-CEO at ZENDATA Cybersecurity). 

We asked Isabelle how her career path evolved, and what she loves most about her job. And she shared why overcoming misinformation and false promises is one of the cybersecurity industry’s key challenges.  

Could you share your career journey so far - particularly any pivotal moments along the way that led you to where you are today? 

“I started as a lawyer, where I graduated from three different universities and obtained my last LLM in Canada. I worked in major law firms prior to becoming General Counsel for an engineering company where I focused primarily Oil & Gas, Shipping and Civil Engineering. 

“Twelve years ago, I decided to follow Steven Meyer’s dream at the time, to open a cybersecurity company out of Geneva, where our HQ is still based. Steven is a genius in this field – whatever he predicted happened; and with my clients, expertise in growth and curiosity in cyber, I thought we had the perfect recipe. 

“After more than a decade, we have multiple offices, working with all major governments and international organisations.”

Could you share any milestones that ZENDATA has achieved over the last year or so? 

“The last year has been insane! From building the first cybersecurity museum in the world for HE Dr Al Kuwaiti, Head of the CSC in Abu Dhabi, to being selected as the world leading cybersecurity company, under the Next Gen FDI by HE Dr Thani. We have grown in Oman, Saudi, Qatar. We are blessed and grateful for the trust and support we have in the Middle East.”

I see that ZENDATA runs webinars to give clients an insider perspective on the hacker perspective. Why do you think it's important for organisations and security professionals to put themselves in their adversaries' shoes, and try to understand the world from their viewpoint? 

“There is a lot of fakeness in cyber companies, a lot of sub-contracting for example. It became a hot topic a few years ago, and now a lot of companies are pretending to do cybersecurity and to have the knowledge. 

“It created a lot of insecurity in our sector and lack of trust. Which makes sense – companies are getting hacked on false promises of vendors. This is the biggest challenge, to overcome the nonsense spread around. It is important to talk about the real challenges.”

What's the best thing about your job? 

“Every day is different! I meet with royal families, government, CEOs, FBI, NSA, students! I talk about threat intel, OT environment, incident responses or building SOC. I advise on so many different types of projects and we get to know some of the most exciting intel around the world.

“There is always that challenge of: ‘we are here to protect citizens, companies and the society.’”

What's one thing you wish everyone knew about cybersecurity? 

“For top management: It is not about the tooling – yes it helps, but you need to know your risk exposure, your threat actors’ landscape and you need to adapt your level of protection accordingly, obviously, it’s all about understanding your risks.

“For everybody: please have good passwords. But we’ve been saying this since the 1970s.”

And finally, why are events like Black Hat MEA valuable to you? 

“The community! It makes us grow, gather, and create. Being surrounded by the best minds in the world gives you so much energy and so many new ideas. Black Hat is different, it’s technical, the subjects are great and inspiring. We need this – it is not as commercial as other events.” 

Thanks to Isabelle Meyer at ZENDATA Cybersecurity. Join us at Black Hat MEA 2024 to grow your network and acquire the latest industry knowledge. 

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