SAFETY4SEA: Your organization has been shortlisted for the 2018 SMART4SEA Awards in the ‘Cyber Security’ category alongside a number of other distinguished nominees. What would you like to share with industry’s stakeholders with respect to this development?
Paris Papanastasiou: Being a candidate along with three other remarkable organizations, at this institution which is vastly recognized by the world of shipping, is a great honor for our company. Our company is pioneering in the Cyber Security sector, having taken into account all regulations established by the classification societies and the needs of shipping, much earlier than the rest of the market. Coming from the world of traditional Information Technology, and having implemented many projects for large organizations, we rely on three key pillars: 1) Security, 2) High Availability and 3) Ease of User Management. 10 years ago, based on these values, we started designing our solution, VCell, a safe IT system against internal and external risks, which evolves according to business needs and is compatible with the regulations of Oil Majors and Classification Societies.
S4S: What are the key drivers and barriers towards ‘cyber hygiene’ in maritime industry?
P.P.: A vessel is a business entity in which there is no physical presence of an IT engineer, and this acts as a problem. Ideally, for the slightest malfunction of the system, there must be a physical presence of an engineer to provide a solution. Let us also remember that such a malfunction is followed by other key problems in ship communications with the land, which makes business difficult. As a key part, our system is designed to monitor all the pieces of software / hardware on a vessel, in order to proactively operate and achieve have an optimum IT hygiene system. Thus, there is no physical need for an engineer to be present and solve any problems, since all tasks are performed remotely and in real time.
S4S: Do you believe that the current regulatory framework is satisfactory to mitigate cyber risks? What could be done to move forward?
P.P.: I believe that the rules for Maritime Cyber Security, are at an early stage and it is certain that there will be appropriate correction in the future, in order to keep up with the business needs of the shipping market, gradually covering needs, according to the capabilities of this particular industry.
S4S: Do you have any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans that you would like to share with the rest of the industry?
P.P.: Our company's culture is reflected by the dynamic development of our products and solutions for the Shipping Industry. Our solution, VCell, evolves in a permanent basis to cover the entire range of customer needs. We are currently designing new features that will be included in our core product portfolio, as well as certifications from major classes.
S4S: What is your key message to the industry for enhancing cyber awareness to seafarers and ship owners/ operators and manage risk?
P.P.: Awareness is a key pillar for the proper preservation of IT systems hygiene, the proper use of all information systems by the crew, but also the correct information to ship-owners, which will help them reduce future risks and failures, which in turn are generated by the intense use of information systems and the management of the information, as our age demands. It is now deemed as necessary for the world of shipping to invest in security-oriented solutions, as well as in technological solutions and tools, to create healthy, balanced and efficient systems.
You may cast your vote for IQ Solutions at 2019 SMART4SEA Awards dedicated webpage till 21st of December 2018!
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
About Paris Papanastasiou, Managing Director of IQ Solutions
Paris is the CEO of IQ Solutions SA. He is a Systems Automation Engineer and one of the founders of the company. Paris leads by example, interfaces directly with the market’s demands, sets the vision of the company and participates in vision execution. Amongst various responsibilities, he emphasizes on the company’s customer-centric profile. He supervises and coordinates sales teams, customer service teams, and R&D teams, interpreting customer satisfaction in current and future demands, as the company’s highest priority. Paris is the strongest asset of IQ Solutions SA reputation, in terms of innovation and quality of work.