Practical Dialogue (seminar) Cybersecurity Market Development in Ukraine: Tools and Cooperative Activities

On 29 June, 2023, the USAID Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure in Ukraine Activity, in partnership with Aspen Institute Kyiv, held Practical Dialogue (seminar) on “Cybersecurity Market Development in Ukraine: Tools and Cooperative Activities”. The objective of the dialogue was to promote the development of the cybersecurity market during times of conflict by establishing cooperation mechanisms among market representatives, implementing best practices from related service markets, and utilizing marketing tools to promote market products and services.

The Practical Dialogue brought together representatives from the cybersecurity market, business associations, and civil society organizations.

In the opening remarks, Valeriya Ionan, Deputy Minister for Eurointegration, Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, emphasized the importance of uniting the market to realize joint initiatives and the government’s openness to supporting them. “Today, we observe great interest in our country as a global technological hub for new technologies. That is why the government actively engages private companies in cooperating to increase investments in digital technologies, particularly cybersecurity,” noted Ms. Valeriya.

Maksym Darkin, Digital Development Advisor at the USAID Office of Economic Growth, highlighted the necessity of enhancing the attractiveness of the cybersecurity market for consumers. “Strong cybersecurity for ordinary individuals and businesses is a matter of national security. Therefore, we see the growth of the cybersecurity market as one of the key directions that need to be addressed by both providers and users starting today.”

Denіs Poltavets, Director of Program Development at Aspen Institute Kyiv, expressed gratitude to the USAID Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure in Ukraine Activity for the opportunity to implement a program to foster cross-sectoral dialogue to support the development of the cybersecurity market. He also emphasized the significance of uniting the efforts of market participants in this direction.

Challenges Facing the Cybersecurity Market

During the first session, “Cybersecurity market development — needs, challenges, and opportunities” speakers discussed industry changes in 2023, critical issues in the domestic market, penetration of foreign markets, and changes in demand for products and services by Ukrainian consumers. Vitalii Yakushev, CEO of 10Guards; Andrii Kuzmenko, leading Cyber Security Specialist at IBM Security Ukraine; Oleksiy Sevonkin, BDM at Octava Defence; Andrii Borenkov, Head of Advisory at BDO in Ukraine, highlighted the insufficient development of the cybersecurity market, low awareness of the cybersecurity market in Ukraine, and a shortage of qualified professionals in the field as key market challenges.

  • Before the onset of a full-scale invasion, Ukraine was among the top 10 countries of high cyber risks. Currently, the number of cyber threats in Ukraine are increasing, but companies are postponing investments in cybersecurity. This is due to low awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and choosing to invest in other industries.
  • After the full-scale invasion, the cybersecurity market demonstrated its resilience. War and blackouts have prompted companies to seek new solutions, including migration to the cloud.
  • A severe problem in developing the cybersecurity market is the need for more skilled professionals and motivated students. This is attributed, in part, to the need for more innovative teaching approaches.

Strategic marketing as an element of cybersecurity market development

During the “Brand development and cybersecurity product marketing” session, representatives from marketing agencies discussed the experience of using marketing tools by market representatives. Session speakers Maksym Illiukhin, Partner at twid.studio, Head of Product at Obimy.app, ex co-CEO at fedoriv.agency, Nataliya Morozova, CEO, Havas Village Ukraine, Euhenii Myroniuk, Managing Partner for Strategy of the Brain Tank Group, shared practical advice on marketing tools that can be used to promote cybersecurity market products and services effectively.

  • Investments in reaching a broad audience of clients for long-term relationships become an essential element of business strategy.
  • To develop the market, it is necessary to have a deeper understanding of the needs of your clients and the specifics of the market’s operation. This allows for finding innovative solutions and addressing the issues that concern representatives of the defined market.
  • It is essential to clearly understand the company’s purpose in the market and choose suitable tools to achieve it.
  • Collaboration with experts from other fields is a crucial element in market development. Combining different knowledge and experiences enables the creation of comprehensive and successful development strategies.
  • Communication in one language with your audience is a prerequisite for its effectiveness.

Experience from Related Markets for the Development of the Cybersecurity Market

The third session, “Development of Related Markets: Challenges and Best Practices,” focused on analyzing best practices and tools used in insurance, legal, and security service markets. Yuriy Kotliarov, Partner at Asters; Anastasia Truska, Head of the Marketing Department of SHERIFF Security Holding; Vitalii Bilchych, Adviser to Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Director of Partner Relations Department shared practices on customer acquisition, implementation of marketing strategies, and collaborations with representatives from other fields.

  • Conducting client interviews before starting cooperation allows for obtaining valuable information about their needs and issues and increasing trust and engagement in the company’s development.
  • One of the critical aspects of strategic marketing can be a focus on CEO’s publicity. This helps to enhance trust in the brand and create a positive company image.
  • Providing turnkey services can increase customer loyalty to the company, eliminating the need to search for additional contractors.

The practical dialogue sessions (seminars) were moderated by Oleksandr Smychnikov, Business Consulting Director, 10Guards LLC.

During the final discussion, participants explored potential joint initiatives to overcome current challenges.

  • The state can support Ukrainian companies’ activities in foreign and international markets. It is also essential to promote the development of cyber diplomacy as a direction.
  • Currently, there is no platform for collaboration and addressing urgent issues for cybersecurity market participants. Therefore, there is a need for the establishment of an influential cluster association.
  • To stimulate the cybersecurity market, compliance standards need to be established, and the value of cybersecurity should be emphasized. Targeting small and medium-sized businesses is critical to market stimulation. The Security Operations Center (SOC) plays a vital role in this.
  • Comprehensive support from the state at all levels is crucial for the effective development of cybersecurity products.

During 2022–2024, 15 stakeholder dialogue events will be held to discuss and find better solutions in the Сybersecurity field to build and improve Ukraine’s cyber resilience. 

The Cybersecurity Dialogue Program was made possible through support from the U.S. Agency for International Development under a grant provided by the USAID Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure in Ukraine Activity.