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Del van Rooyen on Cybersecurity Excellence and Team Collaboration

Recently, Del van Rooyen was awarded Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of the Year at the Innovation and Excellence Awards 2024. This prestigious recognition stands as a testament to his exceptional leadership and contributions in the field of information security. On a personal level, Del is humbled by the award, and credits his team for this achievement, emphasising the importance of collaboration and continuous improvement in their work.

“It is a credit to what the team has achieved, so by no means is it just a reflection upon me. I wouldn’t have been able to have achieved it without the team.”

Del’s Career Journey and Passion for Security

Del began his career as an auditor before becoming an IT and security specialist. He spent some time in the United Kingdom working for several multinationals before returning to South Africa and focusing on the banking sector, which he is deeply passionate about. He finds banking exciting due to its technical challenges and the complexity of various products, particularly in investment banking.

Del explained that his transition into cybersecurity was driven by a passion for security and a sense of responsibility. Being a father to three girls is an additional motivator for his dedication to this field. He emphasises that security needs to be both personal and professional, advocating for vigilance in both areas to prevent compromise.

‘If you understand the risks and implications of being a victim personally, you should apply the same vigilance in your professional life.’'

Leading by Example and The Evolving Nature of Cybersecurity

Del approaches leadership in the same way that he approaches being a father. He leads by example, encourages ownership and responsibility within his team, and focuses on their individual development. Del values making a positive impact, whether through successful project implementations or fostering a culture of security awareness.

According to Del, cybersecurity is in constant evolution, particularly in areas such as perimeter security transitioning into identity-centric security, driven by the increasing prominence of cloud computing and decentralisation. Additionally, challenges and opportunities arise from technologies like AI and deep fakes, demanding continuous adaptation.

Advice for Aspiring Cybersecurity Professionals

For those interested in entering the cybersecurity field, Del advises leveraging existing skills and understanding the diverse disciplines within the industry. He highlights that success in cybersecurity involves both technical knowledge and interpersonal skills.

Banking Sector: Collaboration in Banking Cybersecurity

Finally, Del shares that there is a unique collaborative nature in the banking industry’s cybersecurity efforts – it is important to share information and experiences to collectively improve security and respond to incidents more effectively. Collaboration is not without its challenges. Sharing sensitive information requires trust, and competition between organisations can sometimes hinder cooperation. However, the benefits of collaboration far outweigh the drawbacks. By working together, organisations in the cybersecurity field can create a more secure digital environment for everyone.

“If you do get attacked, it’s essential to address it head-on. This is the reality we live in today. That’s why we’ve built in control measures and layered risk mitigation processes to compensate.”

Building a Secure Digital Environment: Committed to Sasfin Values

While Del appreciates the recognition, he stresses the need for ongoing efforts in cybersecurity. He sees the award as a platform to promote cybersecurity awareness and networking opportunities within the industry.

In his approach to work, Del perfectly embodies the values of Sasfin, integrating them into his daily practices. This commitment to Sasfin's values is evident in how he operates:

  • Greatness: Del strives for continuous improvement, setting high standards for himself and his team.
  • Respect: He values his team's contributions and encourages them to take ownership of their work.
  • Integrity: Del is passionate about cybersecurity and driven by a sense of responsibility.
  • Partnership: He fosters a collaborative environment within his team and advocates for information sharing across the banking industry to improve security.

Del's dedication to these values not only enhances his own work but also contributes to a culture of excellence and integrity within Sasfin, and his chosen industry more broadly.

Del’s Leadership and Continuous Efforts

Del’s dedication to his role was further highlighted when he was unable to accept the award in person due to a rare cybersecurity incident at Sasfin. This incident exemplifies Del’s character and commitment, as he goes beyond to actively confront these on the frontlines, even while receiving prestigious recognition. His unwavering focus on his team and the ever-present nature of cybersecurity challenges encapsulate the essence of Del’s leadership.

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About the Author

Lebohang Kgaye
Senior Marketing and Communications Business Partner, Sasfin Bank

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