Carlota Pico recently spoke to Netherlands-based Michael Heering, marketing director for the EMEA and APAC regions at SANS Institute, a global cybersecurity company. Aside from being a top information security provider, SANS also boasts a renowned training and research institute with some of the world’s leading practitioners. Check out the full interview to hear Michael’s practical tips for staying safe online, the initiatives SANS has taken during the pandemic to support people and companies around the world, and his advice for tackling marketing in two very different regions.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on our YouTube channel, listen to the podcast on Apple and Spotify, and read our recap below.

Key takeaways

  • When it comes to cybersecurity, one of the best things you can do is educate yourself about popular phishing scams and the tactics scammers use. Always be suspicious if people are contacting you with a strong sense of urgency or if important institutions want you to confirm personal information in an email.
  • Since people are now online more than ever, SANS decided to offer free educational materials and virtual summits on cybersecurity to the public. These online events saw a massive increase in attendance from 300-500 people to 9,000-10,000 attendees. 
  • Another initiative that SANS has offered are “Ask An Instructor” informational live streams. Slack and the GoToWebinar platform have helped to maintain a sense of a normal learning environment, despite not being able to physically be in the classroom.
  • Managing marketing for different regions is all about trial and error and continuous AB testing. Just because one thing doesn’t work well in one country at a specific time doesn’t mean it won’t be successful there later—or in another country right now.
  • One benefit of working at a company with markets across the globe is the ability to share marketing insights and findings across different regions. For instance, EMEA was the first region where SANS tested the LinkedIn poll feature and where they first launched Instagram, and other regions subsequently followed suit.


As marketers, we tend to forget that internal communication is still a big part of our roles and very important in organizations—especially now.

Rapid-fire recs

What’s an app or tool that you can’t work without?

Slack and Notion. Slack allows us to communicate internally when we’re apart, and you still have that “around the office” feel. Notion is a great app for internal communication as well.

See also: Top 10 apps for content and marketing professionals

A marketing influencer who you follow?

Gary Vaynerchuk, more commonly known as Gary Vee. He’s a great content marketeer. I’d recommend anybody who’s working with content to follow him, because he’s got great insights in terms of how you apply content marketing within your organization.

See also: 8 inspiring content and marketing influencers to follow

A valuable resource, event or group?

The Next Web. I’ve never had the opportunity to actually visit The Next Web conference, but I recently attended their virtual Re:Brand conference. They had amazing content, good moderators and great takeaways.

Connect with Michael and Carlota on LinkedIn.

This post was edited by Mary Kresge, a freelance content creator based in Madrid.


For more insights into creating informative content:

Content that educates and inspires – Sara Cronsioe, content lead at GetAccept

To see the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.