Ordina’s security solutions: meet the expert

Bouke Stijns

Now that the world has gone mobile and devices are increasingly connected, a simple firewall and antivirus software are no longer sufficient to secure your IT systems and company data. So what’s the solution? This is where Bouke Stijns and his team come in. They take a close look at your existing security system and work out a mature security policy together with you.

Bouke joined Ordina as security practice manager in 2018 and currently heads up the security team. He works closely with Mark Vandenwauver, head of the security and privacy business unit, and also with Ingrid De Bel, who heads up the privacy services. “Both Bouke and Ingrid combine experience and expertise with an extraordinary drive. That makes them the perfect leaders of our teams, which are characterised by a strong start-up culture. They encourage dynamism in their team, ensure that people challenge each other and encourage everyone to work flexibly and autonomously.”

Engineer goes IT

Bouke didn’t start his career in the world of IT. His degree in mechanical engineering led him to a world of hydraulic cylinders and chemicals. “That turned out to be totally not my thing,” Bouke says. “I realised that as an engineer I would be working too much in a silo. I rather saw myself as a consultant.” A master’s degree in management with a specialisation in IT management was his key to the world of IT. “I’ve always had a nerdy side,” he laughs. “As a kid I was over the moon when my father came home with a new PC. Later I built my own computers and IT turned out to be my calling.”

A steep learning curve

Bouke’s IT management degree opened the doors to Ernst & Young (EY), where he became a cyber security consultant. Shortly after that he joined PwC where he worked in the security team: “It was a fantastic experience. I worked directly for clients and was completely immersed in fields like data governance and privacy, business continuity, etc. At EY and PwC I went through a steep learning curve and I’m still grateful for that.” But after a few years he started to get itchy feet. “I wanted to play a bigger role in corporate strategy and started looking for an alternative.”

Outlining strategy

Just when he was about to take on a new job, he heard – over a pint of beer – about the Ordina security and privacy business unit. After a chat with Mark, Bouke was convinced and three days later, the contract was signed. “Mark is known worldwide as an expert in the field of security and privacy and won me over immediately,” Bouke explains. “He said that he wanted to expand the business unit into a household name. I thought it would be really interesting to help him draw up the strategy. The start-up mentality that he described also appealed to me. I’m glad about the experience I gained with the Big Four, but at Ordina I don’t have to be sure to colour within the lines – even better, I get the chance to draw my own lines. Everyone here, even beginners, is encouraged to take ownership and prove themselves. And they get excellent support in order to do that.”

Everyone here, even beginners, is encouraged to take ownership and prove themselves. And they get excellent support in order to do that.

Customer-oriented and pragmatic

Bouke’s job description is extremely broad: from defining visions and objectives to canvassing, organising events, supervising customer projects, through to recruiting and coaching. “I love that diversity, the high degree of autonomy and the interaction with both customers and my team,” says Bouke. “I kind of see myself as a people manager. I think it is extremely important for everyone to feel good at work and I’m convinced that our customers reap the benefits of that.”
What, in his opinion, are the assets of his team? Bouke: “Undoubtedly our customer-oriented, pragmatic approach. We always base ourselves on the needs – and possibilities – of the customer. You cannot present the same solutions to an SME as for a large multinational. In addition, we also have expertise and experience in various domains, which means that we can offer both technical and strategic advice as well as specific implementations. And we work very closely with other business units. Last but not least, our end-to-end approach is really unique. In all our projects we work around three main axes: technology, organisation and people. After all, if you want to develop a good security policy then you can’t isolate any one aspect from the others.”

In every project we work around three main axes: technology, organisation and people. You can’t isolate any one aspect from the others.

Ambition: the top

Demand for security solutions has risen sharply in recent years, according to Bouke: “All companies are raising their security and privacy budgets and I don’t expect an immediate change to that. However, we still have a long way to go in Belgium. We’re lagging far behind countries like the Netherlands. Everyone has heard of the concept of ‘cyber security’ at one time or another and is now looking for protection against cyber attacks. However, when anyone mentions the European NIS (Network and Information Security) directive, for example, many companies frown in concern. The directive orders key suppliers of critical services and digital infrastructure, such as telecommunications, oil and gas, utilities, health care, to submit a strict IT security plan by November 2019.”
Ordina’s security team is ready to help them. “Ordina has set itself the goal of being among the top consulting companies in the field of privacy and security by 2022. That’s ambitious, I know, but I really believe that we can achieve it.”

Is the security in your company ready for this? Do you want to know how we can help you? Get in touch with Bouke.