“Mittelstand meets Start-up”: Joint projects on cybersecurity benefit all

When it comes to cybersecurity, small and medium-sized businesses can learn a lot from start-ups – and it was precisely this opportunity that numerous representatives of companies from the region took advantage of at the Digital Hub Logistics event “Mittelstand meets Start-up” in Dortmund at the beginning of March. No less than three IT start-ups from the Ruhr area informed the participants about current developments, especially for medium-sized businesses. At the same time, the aim was to identify cooperation opportunities between established companies and start-ups in the sense of matchmaking.

Learnings for cooperation

A good example of this is the cooperation between the hub member BEULCO and the Bochum-based start-up PHYSEC: The representatives of both companies shared their experiences in implementing a joint project. The speakers advised the participants of the event to always involve an employee with a particularly high understanding of technical processes in corresponding projects. They observed that a frequent problem is that the participants do not “speak the same language”.  In this specific case, however, the Bochum IT specialists already had the relevant industry know-how, while the experts in the company had a proven technical background. This made it possible to get into the complex subject matter very quickly and easily and to work more efficiently.

Of course, the event also dealt with specific topics relating to cyber security. Already in the introduction, which was presented as a video lecture, a representative of the Digital Hub Cybersecurity from Darmstadt – like the Digital Hub Logistics part of the de:hub initiative of the German federal government – had shown the necessity for companies to consistently protect and secure their data and information systems. Many companies would still only become aware of this after an incident or in view of the damage caused. However, the participants of the event also agreed that existing legal standards and regulations often cannot keep up with the speed or dynamics of developments in the digital world. It was therefore all the more important that SMEs and start-ups jointly develop new approaches. These could then not only meet their own requirements, but also exceed the minimum criteria and thus make systems significantly more secure.

At least the participants of “Mittelstand meets Start-up” have already laid the foundation for such projects …

These start-ups were among them

  • The Bochum start-up securious helps companies as a digital security consultant with the automated determination of IT security and the introduction of basic protection.
  • PHYSEC, based in Bochum, ensures the secure implementation of IoT applications. By combining applied cryptography and communications engineering, the start-up offers innovative security solutions based on the latest research results for applications in the Internet of Things. The Bochum-based company was awarded the German IT Security Prize in 2018.
  • The Gelsenkirchen-based start-up XignSys stands for secure authentication via smartphone. The company’s XignIn technology enables user-friendly implementation of projects involving authentication, payment and digital signatures – without passwords and without additional hardware.