U.S. Ambassador Douglas Hickey welcomed key business insiders and IT professionals to the embassy. 

SASE Security Summit: Important lessons and insightful stories from the cybersecurity front

Taking place at the U.S. Embassy in downtown Helsinki, the spectacular venue offered surroundings for an event where key business insiders and IT professionals were showered with the latest insider details on the modern cybersecurity landscape.  

U.S. Ambassador Douglas Hickey, with a Silicon Valley background, opened the event with a mix of humour and serious notes on the need for robust security measures in the digital age.  

The recent cyberattack on the City of Helsinki’s infrastructure, caused by an uninstalled security update, underscored the summit’s discussions with a sense of urgency.  

Industry experts from Finland and abroad shared insights on current cybersecurity issues, SASE, generative AI, and the risks posed by seemingly harmless interactions in both public and private sectors.  

DNA and Netskope experts shared terrific and terrifying tales  

The importance of diligence and oversight in cybersecurity, highlighted by the US Ambassador, was reinforced by Dominique Akl, VP of Network and Cloud Solutions at DNA. In his speech, Akl recounted a coordinated cyberattack on Telenor’s 40 retail stores, initiated by a deceptive phone call from someone posing as support personnel. Thanks to the swift action and technological expertise of Telenor staff, the attack was mitigated by deleting unwanted applications and purging infected systems. 

Ilona Simpson, CxO Advisor to EMEA Netskope, in her speech, emphasized the need for a deep understanding of the cybersecurity landscape and the importance of translating threat assessments into practical operations. She detailed the roles of CIO and CISO, focusing on the challenges faced by CISOs.  

“When I consider what modern cybersecurity solutions can offer businesses, agility stands out. Opening new stores, moving supplies, onboarding, transitioning locations, serving customers... We simplify operations and ease the workload of operational teams by collapsing complexity into single-dashboard solutions like SASE. This enables transparency, visibility, easy policy application, and advanced automation, ensuring compliant and resilient operations,” Simpson closed her lightning-paced and inspiring keynote. 

Juho Saarinen’s deep dive into SASE: how to untangle the systems spaghetti  

Juho Saarinen, DNA’s Business Manager for B2B Managed Security, provided an in-depth yet accessible overview of SASE, Managed SASE (MSASE), and the practical applications of the SASE cloud. In his speech, he highlighted how SASE can streamline complex systems. 

Referencing Telenor’s survey data, Saarinen noted that while over 60% of people in the Nordics are concerned about cyberattacks, according to The Digital Life survey, 10% don’t see cyber threats as relevant to them. He emphasized the need to raise cybersecurity awareness in the workforce and build resilient systems that ensure safe and efficient operations despite this gap in understanding.  

He emphasized that while SASE can help secure operations despite the IT talent gap, its implementation still requires deep technical expertise, which many companies lack.  

“We need to keep building cyber security awareness across the workforce within companies, but we also need to build systems and architecture that can withstand this gap in understanding while ensuring safe and efficient operations,” he said. 

Saarinen explained that DNA partnered with Netskope to develop the DNA Cloud Managed SASE service to address this challenge. He cited Gartner’s prediction that the SASE market will exceed $25 billion by 2027 and asserted that SASE is no longer a future technology but a current necessity.  

Benjamin Särkkä: AI isn’t the problem – It’s the lack of understanding  

Benjamin Särkkä, VP of Offensive Testing and Security Assurance at Volvo Group and a renowned white-hat hacker, closed the event with insights on AI and cybersecurity. His keynote stressed the need for deeper AI understanding and investment within organizations. 

In his speech, he asserted that current business challenges with AI stem from misunderstandings about AI’s potential, lack of discourse on implementation, and reluctance to invest in tailored AI solutions. To illustrate, Särkkä shared an experience where an AI image software blocked his attempt to create a specific image, leading him to explore self-governed AI models.  

Särkkä highlighted the growing issue of a lack of informed discussion surrounding AI, tech stacks, and cybersecurity measures. He noted that many individuals, even within the IT landscape, lack an understanding of modern technology.  

Särkkä illustrated this with the example of how people perceive their smartphones as magic devices rather than understanding their inner workings. This lack of understanding poses challenges for security professionals in conveying practical issues to others, including CxO-level personnel.  

“We need to invest in people who are passionate about understanding the technology and staying on top of how AI models are advancing. Companies must invest in people, in growing their capabilities, in cultivating higher learning. That will lead to a future where businesses have greater control over their systems, where they have clearer insight on how new technologies are used, and how to best utilize AI. I think that’s a worthwhile investment that could carry us pretty far,” Särkkä concluded.


Ready to infuse your business with modern-day, tailor-made security solutions scaled to the breadth of your business? Delve deeper into DNA’s Data Security Services and ensure your company’s data is secured day in and day out!