Branko Primetica, an IT expert from the USA, came to Serbia to bring it closer to global IT trends
The fact is that information technologies are our present, which is changing at an unimaginable speed because of everyday innovations. In addition to all spheres of modern life, they are especially important when it comes to cybersecurity.
We talked about this topic with Branko Primetica, who currently serves as a partner with Cedars International (Cedars), a leading consultancy focusing on the Western Balkans providing digital transformation, environmental management, and capital placement services for both the public and private sectors. Prior to Cedars, Branko served as President and Chief Strategy Officer of EGT for 20 years. EGT, a company that he co-founded, is an award-winning provider of management, IT, and cybersecurity consulting services for the United States Federal Government. With his entrepreneurial leadership, Branko helped build EGT from the ground up to over 350 employees.
A thought leader and published author, Branko has been recognized for his achievements and expertise. He’s received multiple awards – such as the Rising Star Award and the Fed 100 Award – received a certification of recognition from ACT/IAC and was named a finalist for the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s CTO Innovator of the Year Award. He previously sat on the board of directors for AFFIRM and served as a co-lead for the National Defense Transportation Association’s Mentoring Program. He has co-authored various industry-focused publications, including the “Practical Guide to Federal Service Oriented Architecture,” the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, the U.S. Government’s IPv6 Transition Roadmap and the Federal Risk Authorization Management (FedRAMP) guidelines. Additionally, he has served on the U.S. Cloud Computing Commission and has consulted for global forums on current IT trends (including the U.S. Congress, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the governments of Serbia and Poland).
What made you decide to come to Serbia and start a business here?
I have always been an active member of the Serbian Diaspora, working to advance Serbia’s image in the United States and sharing technology and policy best practices with ministers here. I believe this is a point of inflection in Serbia’s development, where innovation and entrepreneurship are on unprecedented levels in both the public and private sectors. My desire is to assist with these efforts so that Serbia incorporates lessons learned from the U.S. and to help it successfully by-pass the challenges and obstacles faced by other nations and businesses through their digital transformation.
How important is cybersecurity to digital transformation?
Cybersecurity at the enterprise and system level is critical to safeguarding data about citizens, personally identifiable information (PII), and confidential information. With the advent of digital services and IoT, for example, the threat surface is becoming increasingly larger. This calls for standardized system level IT security planning, continuous monitoring of system security and IT threats, and comprehensive incident response plans.
How did digital transformation help your clients save money?
The best answer to this question is a consolidation of redundant IT services. Whether we are talking about large corporations or government ministries, IT systems are often implemented “for the sake of IT” to fill a pressing need, without doing a proper assessment of what services are already available within the organization. This results in unnecessary spending, redundant systems which offer the same IT services, and performance inefficiency. Have a proper enterprise architecture (EA) helps avoid this issue and enabled my company to save the US Government more than $300 million to date.