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“We constantly need to adapt to new threats”

Recently nominated for the “Security Profile of the Year 2024” award, Ralph Benton’s dedication to cybersecurity is truly impressive. We take a look at his professional journey, his important role in safeguarding our marketplaces and his passion for cybersecurity.

Ralph, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Chief Security Officer (CSO) at Schibsted Marketplaces, heads the central security team. His responsibilities range from heading up strategic security initiatives to handling operational tasks such as managing security incidents.

Ralph educating kids about cybersecurity at the Schibsted coding camp, emphasising the importance of online safety from a young age.

“My workdays vary a lot from day to day,” Ralph explains. “To make the right security decision, it’s very important to understand the business security needs, and as security is teamwork, stakeholder management is crucial for success.”

Ralph’s entry into cybersecurity began about 20 years ago in a multinational manufacturing company where he took on a role in IT security awareness training. Over the years, Ralph held various positions, ultimately becoming the Group Information Security Manager and then their first-ever CISO.

A new cybersecurity landscape
The rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape presents significant challenges. “The biggest challenges are not knowing what new threats are around the corner,” Ralph notes. “The cybersecurity landscape is evolving rapidly, with attacks now being a profitable business run by criminal gangs, sometimes with connections to nation states intelligence services. For Schibsted Marketplaces, the main threats are service disruptions and the theft of customer information.”

Strong cybersecurity measures are crucial for Schibsted Marketplaces. “We are responsible for the personal data of many Nordic citizens,” Ralph explains. “Our online services are also an important part of the digital infrastructure in the Nordics. The new EU directive NIS2 defines digital marketplaces as important infrastructural functions and sets legal requirements on our cybersecurity efforts.”

Ensuring security and privacy at Schibsted Marketplaces
Since joining Schibsted almost five years ago, Ralph has led a three-year Cybersecurity Program that has significantly improved the company’s security posture. “We now scan over 10,000 domains for vulnerabilities and monitor 11,000 devices, including Media domains and devices,” Ralph explains. “We have a 24/7 security incident process and run five bug bounty programs where friendly hackers report vulnerabilities for rewards. We work closely with our internal development teams to address any issues promptly and conduct mandatory security training for all employees to ensure they understand how to protect themselves, their colleagues and our customers.”

Award nomination
Ralph’s nomination for the “Security Profile of the Year 2024” award is a testament to his contributions to the field. “I was sincerely surprised when I was informed about the nomination,” Ralph shares. “It’s great to be recognised, but security is teamwork, and this nomination is a testament to the support and engagement from my colleagues and the Schibsted Management Team.”

The key achievements leading to this recognition include the cybersecurity transformation at Schibsted and Ralph’s personal engagement in creating and supporting networking communities for knowledge sharing in cybersecurity. “Our transparency and willingness to share our progress and learnings have been appreciated and inspiring to other organisations,” Ralph concludes.

Looking ahead, Ralph is committed to maintaining high security standards and continuing to innovate in the face of new challenges. His vision for the future of cybersecurity at Schibsted Marketplaces reflects his dedication to protecting the company’s digital infrastructure and the personal data of its users.