In our digital world, data is regarded as the new gold. But is it something anyone would actually protect in a tank? After all, when hackers manage to bring entire nuclear power plants to a standstill, a company needs more than just guards at its doors. A company needs people who can guarantee digital security. Who can put up shields that make them invincible in the face of criminal attacks. People who consider cyber security when creating new products. People like Romeo.
Romeo is the Global Lead for Enterprise Cloud and IoT Security (Internet of Things), so he knows how to put up powerful shields. “It’s not enough to simply know how to solve a problem,” he says. “It’s just as much of a challenge to find a suitable solution for the company and be able to implement it.”
At ZEISS I can try out new features – that’s not the case everywhere. I have the freedom to explore different avenues.
Romeo goes above and beyond the industry standards to ensure ZEISS’ digital systems are impenetrable. “I want my work to give ZEISS the edge over its competitors,” he says. He begins by getting a general idea of the current setup. His aim is to find any potential security gaps long before they can even be created. As Romeo says: “I’m not here to put out fires. My job is to make sure that nobody has the chance to start a fire in the first place.”
Take his project at Medical Technology. Since 2019, the company has had to provide security documentation for all its digital systems. In other words, it has been obliged to provide evidence of how it guarantees the security of a system or platform. Otherwise, confidential patient data could be at risk. In the age of “data gold” people shudder to think what criminals could do if they get their hands on this information.
Romeo saw this as his cue to help the company obtain security documentation for all of its digital systems and platforms. Even though it’s not yet a legal requirement in – for example – metrology, ZEISS has already begun doing this for all of its digital systems. So that it can ensure product safety. And the safety of all its customer data. Romeo’s idea has thus become a shield for ZEISS products, and helps make them a little more secure.
To develop ideas like these, he needs an environment where they are taken seriously and where he can make a real contribution. “At ZEISS I can try out new features – that’s not the case everywhere. I have the freedom to explore different avenues,” says Romeo. The engineer has a PhD, and he uses his background in science as a reliable sensor. So are his measures having the desired effect? Are they making ZEISS more secure? “I believe an idea must have a solid scientific basis – otherwise it’s simply not worth pursuing.”
So he builds models and adapts them in line with industry needs. And it’s often easy to get his colleagues on board. His scientific prep work is his greatest asset.
When Romeo isn’t working on a way of ensuring cyber security, he can be found writing articles on digital security for trade journals. He also attends his fair share of conferences: “This is how I continue pursuing my passion for science,” he says. “I love looking for new solutions and implementing them in an industrial setting. The links between the two are the key to ensuring secure systems.”
His journey to becoming a well-known expert and cyber security leader began in his home country of Cameroon in Africa, where some of his family still lives today. Back home, he still holds a share in a company that produces communications systems and consults on security issues, too. “The cyber security requirements are the same in Africa as they are in Europe,” he says. So it seems everyone needs people who can protect their most important assets. People like Romeo.