Providing companies in industrial environments with cybersecurity solutions, Industrial Cybersecurity Engineer Adrian Cubillo, protects industries from Madrid’s modern Metropolitan city to the hot desert in Abu Dhabi.
Working at Siemens – a calling or simply destiny
Looking back at my career, I realized that I have stumbled across Siemens repeatedly. It all started at University when I first got in touch with Siemens Automation Systems. From this moment on, I read their articles and followed some experts on social media. Starting my professional career, I worked in a Siemens partner company and enjoyed programming innovative automation systems using Siemens products. Later, in my previous job, I had the honor of certifying Siemens energy equipment in Nuremberg, Germany, according to IEC standards for industrial communications.
The teamwork and environment I saw from meeting some Siemens employees inspired me to apply for a job in Spain. No sooner said than done… and with success. I started working at Siemens Digital Industries in Madrid a few months later as a Security professional. Now I can say that I am very proud to have officially been part of this big Siemens family for the last three years!
Exciting projects that make you sweat, literally
In my 1st project at Siemens, I was already able to live a more comprehensive international experience – a great wish of mine. I had previously worked in Malaysia, Singapore, Netherlands, Germany, and Austria, but this time, a new adventure was coming… I was involved in one of the most exciting and most significant cybersecurity projects at Siemens Spain – Protect an oil refinery in Abu Dhabi. In this context, we had to implement holistic cybersecurity and DCS solution for seven automation plants and a central control plant of an oil refinery company located in the desert, 300 kilometers from Abu Dhabi.
It was not only the temperatures that made us sweat! It was a challenging project due to the project’s magnitude and complexity: it included almost the whole Siemens industrial security portfolio. It required a domain knowledge of the cybersecurity solutions based on network security and system integrity. Additionally, this project had to meet leading security standards and specifications for industrial environments, such as IEC 62443. A successful outcome required a collaboration of different Digital Industries business units and regions: Siemens Cybersecurity and Process Automation colleagues from Germany, United Arab Emirates, and Spain, the Management, HR, Finance departments, and Siemens partners were involved. I experienced the incredible ecosystem that Siemens has, finding diverse cultures and professional profiles within the company.
Among other tasks, I was involved in the on-site implementation and commissioning phase to make the system ready for a secure operation. After working tirelessly for several weeks in the hot Abu Dhabi desert, we finally could solve all the problems encountered on time and with the maximum quality – this was the best souvenir to bring back home!
Behind the scenes – What does a Security Engineer do outside of work?
Luckily, I was already used to the heat: In Madrid, where I am based, the temperatures can rise enormously in summer. And for this, we have our solution: In my neighborhood, there is a traditional festival in July called “Naval battle”, where people arm themselves with water pistols and buckets to cool each other down. Even local firefighters join, shooting water cannons from their fire trucks – using recycled water, of course! It’s amusing, and I join in whenever I can! But this is not the only activity I enjoy in my leisure time. I like nature and outdoor activities like running, hiking, and mushroom hunting. These activities help me to relax and disconnect after long working seasons. I recently discovered some magazines from when I was a teenager focused on two different topics: psychology and cybersecurity. Surprisingly, I still maintain both interests to this day.
“Industrial cybersecurity is real – we protect industries”
Cybersecurity is a big trend that needs to be treated carefully. New solutions and tools are launched every day, but not everything that carries the word ‘cybersecurity’ is adequate to use in industrial environments. There is no one size fits all solution. Working in this specific area requires knowledge and experience, which also needs to be disclosed to the customer. The speed of cybersecurity in enterprise environments (Information Technology) is not the same as in industrial settings (Operational Technology), where any applied measure must guarantee its robustness. Siemens offers well-proven solutions in OT environments, and this is our added value and what strengthens the relationship with our customers. There is no company 100% protected against cybersecurity threats. However, we help to protect the customer production by first ensuring the system availability. The Siemens “Defense in depth” concept is based on adding complementary layers of cybersecurity, which means that with every project, from the smallest to largest, we add value to the customer’s plants and help avoid threats and risks.
Protecting productivity – A challenge one gladly accepts
What most excites me about my work is that my position as an Industrial Cybersecurity Engineer allows me to merge two worlds that I like: automation and security. At Siemens, we are pioneers in providing these two combined services, and I can put my skills and background from these two topics into practice. The continuous improvement on-field and sharing experience with my colleagues from Spain and the headquarters, in conjunction with the highest Siemens technology, makes this possible! Looking for a cybersecurity opportunity, designing a security solution together with the customer, turning this idea into an offer, and finally making it come true by implementing and managing the project is fantastic!
Being part of the whole process of an industrial cybersecurity project is the reason why I start every day with motivation
Read more inspiring stories of our Digital Minds and explore career opportunities like Adrian’s here: https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/jobs/digital-minds.html