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In brief, what does Touring do? Which services do you offer?

Our core business is to guarantee the careless and free mobility of every Belgian road user: car driver, motorcycle user, or cyclist. This is in Belgium, but also on an international level thanks to an extended worldwide network of technical and medical assistance. 

Next to that, Touring is also a mobility club, representing and defending the interests of every road user in Belgium.

Today we operate worldwide and take pride in our skilled mechanics, who undergo continuous training and even receive visits from mechanics of certain brands seeking our expertise. Our commitment to excellence and our unique capabilities and problem-solving skills set us apart. 

We also operate in collaboration with car manufacturers, leasing companies, and insurers, offering comprehensive assistance to their clients, that extends from phone support to complete problem resolution. Our services cover a wide range of needs, from technical issues to medical emergencies, and we have a global presence through partnerships and networks. Our recent acquisition by the AG Insurance company and the BNP Paribas bank has further expanded our capabilities and market reach, solidifying our position as a leader in the industry.

Approximately how many clients/subscribers does Touring have?

First of all, there are individuals and families subscribing to our services and insurances. Next to that, we are the chosen partner of some of the leading car leasing companies and car manufacturers that offer roadside assistance to their clients. Insurance companies also represent an important part of our clients.

It's difficult to provide a precise answer, but the numbers are significant, especially considering our partnerships and millions of vehicles currently under our coverage.

What problem or situation did you have to face that eventually led you to Hypervault?

In a practical and down-to-earth manner, Touring recently moved its offices to the Gares du Nord district. This relocation prompted the need to find a solution for sensitive document storage. Previously, important contracts and notarial deeds were kept in physical safes at various locations. However, the move made it impractical to transfer physical safes. The company recognized the opportunity to transition to a digital solution, specifically a digital vault. As the enterprise architect, I conducted market research, including exploring options with our partner, BNP, to find a secure and user-friendly solution. The decision was also influenced by the cost and the value assigned to the stored documents. Ultimately, choosing a Belgian company provided the necessary assistance.

Is this problem related to a specific department? If yes, which department? What is the size of this department?

It’s related to C-level management basically. Since it’s all about digitally securing a vast amount of legal documents, contracts, deeds, shareholder agreements, etc. There are all documents that are only to be seen or accessed by our top management.

How did you discover Hypervault? Was it through online research or a referral?

Purely through online research. Google. 

What made you choose Hypervault over other solutions? Which feature or aspect of Hypervault convinced you?

Once the basic features of Hypervault were checked, I appreciated how easy it was to get started, especially for different user profiles. I worked with the department secretary to organize and categorize contracts, identifying the most useful information to track. During a meeting, I handed her the laptop and told her to use Hypervault. She quickly grasped how to navigate and fill out forms, which was crucial for us. As an architect, I understand the trade-offs and complexities involved in the administrator's role, but for the end user, simplicity is paramount. I didn't sense any difficulty from the assistant; she already handles SAP and Excel proficiently, and she found Hypervault intuitive. The ease of use and search capabilities, particularly for document retrieval, were important factors for us.

"The ease of use and search capabilities, particularly for document retrieval, were important factors for us."

Why did you choose Hypervault instead of using Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive?

Are you serious? (Joking)  No, simply put: Security!
We wouldn't trust putting the documents we are talking about in Google Drive or anywhere else without encryption and proper password protection. It's crucial to ensure the security of the documents and their access credentials.

How did the deployment of Hypervault at Touring go in practice? What were the steps involved? And where are you today? How many people have access to Hypervault?

I followed the process by reaching out to Hypervault when I faced difficulties, and you provided prompt responses. It wasn't something I dedicated full-time to for a week; it was more sporadic based on the time I could allocate. Occasionally, it posed some challenges, but nothing significant. The positive aspect was that the time spent on the project, aside from minor licensing issues, was focused on internal organization and analyzing document types to create the most useful forms for our secretary. Hypervault itself didn't consume much project time.

Did you require significant support from Hypervault during the deployment process?

No, not at all.  As I said, I had a few questions related to licenses but those were immediately addressed.

Do you envision the use of Hypervault by a larger number of people in the future? For example, within other departments?

Well, I’d say that once the solution for the current problem is proven useful and showcased to the executive committee, it may be adopted by other business units and departments beyond its initial use. Right now it’s only contracts, but we are well aware of many more types of sensitive data that we might want to store within Hypervault. 

Are there any missing features in Hypervault that you feel are necessary? If yes, which ones?

One of the upcoming functionalities in Hypervault that we discussed is the notion of expiration deadlines and receiving notifications. This feature is highly valuable to us because it allows us to detect contracts nearing their expiration dates in advance. Currently, we rely on Excel sheets for such tracking, but having it organized within Hypervault eliminates the need for manual tracking. This functionality will open up possibilities for other use cases as well.

On the other hand, I guess what would also be welcome is a regular newsletter that would keep me informed of new developments or new features in Hypervault. 

To your knowledge, has Touring or any of its employees ever been a victim of a cyber attack, regardless of the type of attack?

Safety and cybersecurity are key nowadays. And just like any other company, we have to face security issues on a daily basis. 

We are convinced that no one can be sure never to be a victim of a vicious attack. We have experienced safety issues in the past, that’s no secret. But the important aspect is to take every possible and reasonable measure to ensure the safety of our operations, our data, and those of our clients.

Are you aware of or do you have an idea (or an approximate estimate) of the annual budget that Touring spends on IT security?

As I said just before, safety is key for us and this implies a substantial budget. But I won’t go into the details or the figures…

A year ago we got in touch with Leonor Loureiro from the Portuguese chapter of Women4Cyber. Their team was onboarding Hypervault as a solution to store and share their confidential data. We learned about their organisation along the way and grew respect and admiration for what they do and the principles they uphold. 

We love to put our customers in the spotlight. Today we’re giving the stage to Leonor and W4C PT, because we firmly support their cause.

Could you tell us what Women4Cyber (W4C) does?

Leonor: I can say that Women4Cyber is a nonprofit private European foundation with chapters all over the continent, one of which is W4C in Portugal.

It is relatively new and aims to promote, encourage, and support women's involvement in the cybersecurity industry.

The foundation works across several functional areas to achieve its goals. Training programs are specifically tailored to our needs. We include awareness-raising, best practices, and female role models for women, particularly younger ones, and those attempting to enter the cybersecurity workforce. 

Another initiative is that our mentors published a book featuring +100 influential women in Europe. This can serve as a role model for many people looking for role models in cybersecurity and I think it could be very useful for women who want to enter the field.  

In addition, we’re running a mentoring program. Many of the mentors are in fact the women who contributed to the book; they all have extensive experience working in cybersecurity. 

What are the primary issues with the lack of women in this field?

Leonor: From my point of view, the primary cause is a lack of representation, which is why developing role models is our priority. 

Another problem is significant differences between young boys and girls drawn to IT and tech-related areas (in terms of schooling and top markets). 

This is undoubtedly due to cultural factors, and there is also a stereotypical view of what cybersecurity is, namely an antisocial male with a solid technological concentration. 

Unfortunately, women don't seek this as their career because they believe they lack the mindset or aren't capable of doing so. 

The field of cybersecurity is much larger and more diverse. Of course, it's technical, but it also includes many other elements, such as legal and social considerations and a lot of communication.

Every year, the number of open positions in cybersecurity increases dramatically. And since they cannot meet that demand, it is apparent that they must address the gender discrepancies.

How many people are currently on your team in Portugal?

Leonor: Well, actually, we are in expansion. There are currently 15 of us.

As I said before, we’re organized into various work streams. We have a workstream devoted to Research & Innovation, Education & Training, Marketing & Communication, HR, Legal and Partnerships. 

Women4Cyber Portugal

Who can participate in the workstream? Can students engage?

Leonor: To be honest, one of our main areas of focus is working with the younger population to support and encourage young people who want to pursue careers in the cyber sector; for this reason, we also have a training and education side centered on reskilling. 

A workstream for the youth or younger population for school-aged children and university students.

I have witnessed that many women in the firm had made career changes. For instance, one tech woman studied forensic science before transitioning into cybersecurity. 

Would you like to scale up this project?

Leonor: I love to say that the organizational structure is set up so that the foundation operates at the European level and that various chapters are then concentrated at the National level. The foundation corporates as a national chapter while considering all the elements of the European Union as a whole.

"Every chapter is therefore quite new, and each has a unique structure." 

For instance, we will shortly begin a group ambassador recruitment campaign that will run concurrently with the foundation and be a global initiative. We’re also be launching other initiatives at the national level as well.

At present, Women4Cyber has another dozen chapters in the pipeline. As the foundation is also new, all chapters are not established simultaneously. As a result, some chapters are more mature and older (2–3 years old), while others have just started. 

Some of it depends on the laws of the various countries because there are multiple requirements for establishing nonprofit associations in different nations. Since we all operate inside a similar framework in terms of the work streams, objectives, and goals, each chapter can naturally determine what activities and purposes it has at the national level as well.

What brings the future?

Leonor: W4C Portugal is a relatively new organization. We are still striving to complete the infrastructure in all familiar elements. There is also a focus on working on several new initiatives.

We also hope to start mentoring programs at the international level and want to create training resources in Portuguese because we do not currently have any. 

In terms of actual initiatives, we concentrate on growing the group ambassador programs at the international level, creating more engagement with school-aged children and university students, and expanding the group ambassador programs.

The legal sector is vital, so we want to raise awareness, and develop resources connecting the legal and cybersecurity professions. 

We’re actively seeking to collaborate with other nonprofit organizations in Portugal to develop cybersecurity training and educational tools. 

Plus, our podcast is launching very soon. The first episode will be in Portuguese and air in the coming months. It will feature interviews with experts in the field of cybersecurity who can explain the area to those who are interested in it and offer advice. 

Later episodes will also cover other cybersecurity-related topics.

How can we get in touch with the organization?

Leonor: For this, there are two possibilities. One of them is our website or get in touch with us on LinkedIn; our community is vibrant. There is a closed group as well where we regularly share cybersecurity opportunities and resources in Portuguese and encourage anyone interested to join that.

Thank you, Leonor. Great to see your team is doing so well and that the contributions make a significant impact on influencing women of today’s generation.

 Links to the website and social media of W4C: