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Honoring our ‘Cybersecurity Defender of the Year’

Congratulations to security advocate Wouter Hindriks of Avit Group!

Cybersecurity defenders have had an extra challenging job to do over the past year and a half. While critical, securing our digital world can sometimes be a thankless and exhausting endeavor, especially under these unprecedented circumstances. One tried-and-true way to get through difficult situations, however, is by connecting with others.

Sharing security insights through ‘The Cisco Gateway’

The Cisco Gateway is a peer networking community developed several years ago for Cisco customers around the globe. Currently, over 14,000 customers are using it to share technology insights, feedback, and best practices, and also make meaningful connections with others in the industry.

Feeling part of a community and helping others has become especially crucial recently, in cybersecurity and beyond. The Cisco Gateway provides a safe, virtual environment for making those connections, but it wouldn’t work without the thousands of customers who participate in the community each day. For this reason, we are acknowledging those valuable contributors through our Cisco Global Advocate Awards 2021.

Honoring customers and partners with the ‘Cisco Global Advocate Awards’

Cisco customers and partners who go above and beyond, harnessing innovation and sharing their technology experience, were nominated across 10 categories for the award, including the ‘Cybersecurity Defender of the Year’ category. Members of the Cisco Gateway were encouraged to nominate themselves and other members for this cybersecurity award, and finalists were then evaluated and selected by a panel of experts from both inside and outside Cisco.

The Cybersecurity Defender of the Year award recognizes the Cisco customer who undertook the most innovative security project and inspired others through passionate cybersecurity advocacy. There were seven Cisco security customers shortlisted for this award, and the winner was announced today during our virtual awards ceremony.

Celebrating the ‘Cybersecurity Defender of the Year’

Taking home this year’s award is Wouter Hindriks, security lead at Avit Group in the Netherlands. He was nominated by several other Cisco Gateway members due to his contributions to the community. Hindriks has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, and has been a member of the Cisco Gateway since 2017. He is a prolific communicator, imparting cybersecurity advice and helping peers understand and embrace Cisco’s security technology.

In his previous role at an IT services company, Hindriks was instrumental in adopting a holistic approach to fighting ransomware and other cybersecurity threats by implementing Cisco SecureX. We are excited to celebrate Hindriks for his significant efforts in making the cyber realm a safer place.

Recognizing cybersecurity award finalists

Our other six finalists for ‘Cybersecurity Defender of the Year’ have also demonstrated an impactful commitment to security excellence and thought leadership. They are: 

Blair Anderson – Technology Director, Shawnee Heights Unified School District 450
Shawnee Heights deployed Cisco security solutions on Apple iOS to gain control and visibility into Internet traffic for its fleet of 4,300 iPads. Now, students and staff have secure access to online school content from anywhere.

Enric Cuixeres Saez – Head of Information Technology, Leng-d’Or
The mission of food manufacturing company Leng-d’Or is to create healthy snacks with minimal environmental impact. When cyberattacks began to affect the productivity and security of its day-to-day operations, the company turned to Cisco to get back on track.

Roberto Alunda – Telecom and Security Engineering Global Director, Mediapro
Mediapro is a leading organization in the European audio visual sector. The company adopted Cisco SecureX to integrate and unify its various security solutions, leading to a 90 percent reduction in the time needed to detect threats.

Joel Marquez – IT Director, Tamimi Markets
Tamimi Markets is one of the fastest-growing supermarket chains in Saudi Arabia. To keep up with that growth, it has implemented secure access service edge (SASE) architecture from Cisco for improved network performance, security, and visibility.

Bahruz Ibrahimov – Senior Information Security Engineer, AzEduNet
As the largest educational network in the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzEduNet provides connectivity and online services to the national academic, research, and educational sector. With Cisco Secure, it has reduced security incidents by 80 percent for 1.5 million students.

Ryan Deppe – Network Operations Manager, Cianbro Corporation
A large-scale construction company, Cianbro Corporation uses Cisco Umbrella to protect its environment from Internet-based threats. As a result, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in the amount of malware activity on its network.

Congratulations to Wouter Hindriks and all of our inspiring cybersecurity award finalists. Their dedication to helping fellow security professionals during this uniquely challenging time is truly impressive. We thank them and all the members of the Cisco Gateway who take the time to reach out and share their tech knowledge. This type of collaboration is exactly what we need to protect the world from today’s ever-evolving barrage of cyberthreats.

Want to get involved?

Further information on the awards can be found on the Cisco Global Advocate Awards page. If you’re a Cisco customer who would like to become more involved in our community, sign up for The Cisco Gateway to begin collaborating and gaining valuable insights from Cisco and your peers.

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