INTRALOT’s Dimitiriadis Elected ISACA President

Christos Dimitriadis, Group Director of Information Security for INTRALOT S.A., is taking on a world of cyber threats as the newly-elected International President of ISACA. This 140,000-member association serves information system professionals in 180 countries. Dimitriadis previously held the posts of international vice president for three terms, international board member for four terms as well as chair and member of multiple ISACA committees
since 2010.

The ISACA presidency is far from a ceremonial position. This fact is evident from the passion with which Dimitriadis speaks about his new role. “ISACA is very important for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s about the standards and the frameworks which can be adapted not only by individuals and professionals but by their corporations as a whole,” noted Dimitriadis. “Just as importantly, we are shaping the profession.”

The organization sets framework standards and certifies professionals for government and private entities. “The most important fact is that not only the private sector but the fact that governments, including the United States, are fully aware of the issue. This is why they have started developing more precise and more targeted cyber security strategies,” said Dimitriadis. “I believe it is an international problem that every jurisdiction is trying to address.”

Security is an evolving science but Dimitriadis points out that the security is far more than a technical problem. “It will always be a challenge. Nobody discusses 100% secure systems or anything like that. There is always the human factor and not only the human factor but also the culture of an enterprise or an organization that are a very important part of the situation.”

Taking a leadership position such as International President of a major association helps bring the lottery industry to the world and the world to lotteries. “ISACA is a leading association impacting many industries and contribution to many communities around information technology as well as the business community,” observed Dimitriadis. “I believe that this provides companies like INTRALOT with the ability to import international good practices which they need for becoming more secure and competitive.

INTRALOT donates some of the time that their highly valued director of security would otherwise devote to the company.

“Indeed, INTRALOT has always been very supportive to me, not only now as International President of ISACA but also in the past when I was a board member,” claimed Dimitriadis. “It’s a company that gives its employees and senior management the opportunity to evolve because they know that if we as the internal stakeholders evolve, then the company will evolve as well.” Dimitriadis joined INTRALOT in 2007.

Award winning journalist Misha Glenny quipped that there are two types of companies in the world: those that know they’ve been hacked, and those that don’t. Dimitriadis has more confidence in the world’s lotteries than Glenny.

“Fortunately lotteries are set to operate in a highly-regulated environment. So if a hacking incident like that happens, there are many layers of control that can locate any violation attempt. Moreover, gaming authorities and respective ministries have to be notified,” asserted Dimitriadis. “So the gaming committees that audit the lotteries also have their processes in place in order to identify such incidents. So it’s very hard, especially in the lottery sector, to hide an attack. This is a good thing for the lottery industry and these processes create more trust, a vital part of our business.”

Lottery draw systems are closed loops so it might be tempting to think that there is less of a threat. “Still lottery organizations and their suppliers need to maintain awareness. They have to keep improving. They have to keep improving the skills of their employees. They have to keep improving the frameworks and strategies in order to address any threats,” underlined Dimitriadis. “I don’t think that there is a system anywhere in the world that is not connected to the Internet somehow.”

Cyber security is job security notes Dimitriadis. “ISACA published this survey a few months ago and 92% of those who plan to hire cybersecurity professionals this year say it will be difficult to find skilled candidates” said Dimitriadis. “ISACA is trying to fill this gap by creating top-class certified professionals in cybersecurity. We’re also focusing on increasing the skills of our professionals.”

The target objective seeks to ensure that security is a strong enabler of the lottery industry as a whole.

“Security is an enabler to stay in business and be more competitive and more productive,” asserted Dimitriadis. “We have very highly trained professionals at the moment but we’re always looking for improvement because it’s the nature of the job.”

La Fleur's Magazine July/August 2015