Zühlke – Empowering Ideas

Organization and Culture

In cybersecurity or paragliding – specialists like Gian-Luca Frei are flying high in Bern.

Gian-Luca on:

  • Why is Zühlke Bern "A nice home base"?
  • How do good team spirit, short distances and international flair come together? 
  • Whether it's virtual clouds or real clouds above the mountain tops, why do things remain exciting in Bern?
4 minutes to read

Gian-Luca Frei's day-to-day work is as varied as the local mountain landscape.

He joined Zühlke Bern in 2019 as a Security Engineer. His relatively small but fast-growing department handles all cybersecurity issues, such as supporting software engineers with regard to the security architecture, conducting internal reviews and external client reviews, designing and constructing architectures and implementing security solutions.

Pioneering project right on the doorstep

Gian-Luca was able to work on a particularly interesting task virtually on his doorstep: highly innovative approaches were used in the construction of a modern technological architecture. These included a microservice architecture based on Node.js and an app programmed with React Native. As a security engineer, Gian-Luca was particularly interested in analysing and verifying the security aspects. "Ultimately, we were able to examine a prototype of the project on site in Bern and see how it all worked," explains Gian-Luca. The collaboration with the team was typical Zühlke – "informal and uncomplicated".

Good team spirit & short distances

The whole team studied the architecture on the whiteboard and then discussed suggestions for improvement in small groups. It is exactly this close cooperation and the friendly atmosphere among colleagues that Gian-Luca appreciates so much about the Bern location.

"The team is a bit smaller than in Zurich, but you know almost everyone who works in the Bern office. You can always swap ideas with people, even away from work" – about his favourite pastime, paragliding, for example. Almost every weekend it draws him to the mountains. They are only a stone's throw away, after all.

"In Bern we have everything you could need," says Gian-Luca, plus of course the river Aare, which winds its way through the whole city. "You're never far away from a quick dip in the river. Especially in the summer, this is really wonderful. You can treat yourself to the occasional 'Aareschwumm' during your lunch break."

International calibre

Despite its 'local feel', at the Bern office Gian-Luca also deals with international clients: a large international bank, for example. What is special about this project is that the team designed the entire architecture for this online banking system starting from the very beginning: from authentication and through login to the connections to core banking systems.

"Especially for me as a security engineer, the extremely large number of security measures that are required for online banking are interesting. We're working with cutting-edge approaches and a modern, Kubernetes-based microservices architecture." The project proved to be particularly complex. This was because an entire technology sector had to be replaced with a new online banking system. This only works with a very agile approach, because new things constantly have to be taken into account. Understanding the detail of this very complex system while at the same time maintaining an overview was one of the biggest challenges for the security team.

Here, too, close cooperation within the team and a fluid exchange of knowledge play a decisive role. This is particularly encouraged at the Bern location. In our Open Space format, co-workers from different projects meet once a month and each presents a topic that is of special interest at the time. "It's really a great setting to find out more about other projects. The exchange of ideas with colleagues from other areas is also valuable. This is particularly true when, for example, they reveal a perspective from the business side or highlight an exceptionally hardware-related project," says Gian-Luca. As the location for a total of three separate security-related conferences, Bern is also an important focal point for a whole range of companies. Swiss Cyber Storm, the ISSS Berne Conference and the Temet Public Key Cryptography Conference are all held here.

"A nice home base"

Gian-Luca likes the combination of 'local feel' with 'big-picture thinking', which also demonstrates that Zühlke Bern is an inclusive part of the Zühlke network. "Anyone who starts with us doesn't have to commit to Bern or Zurich. We are a company that offers many opportunities beyond Bern." The Security Engineer puts it in a nutshell: Zühlke Bern is simply a "nice home base".

And what does the future hold for Gian-Luca? "Me personally? I'm going to be focusing a lot on cloud security, because that's an area that's becoming more and more important to industry and it's evolving non-stop." Particularly in terms of the security perspective, this is an extremely interesting environment. No matter whether it's virtual clouds or real clouds above the mountain tops, things remain exciting for Gian-Luca in Bern.

Would you like to be a member of the Zühlke team together with Gian-Luca? Check out our current vacancies.

Picture credits: © Copyright Bern Welcome

Gian-Luca Frei
Contact person for Switzerland

Gian-Luca Frei

Security Engineer

Gian-Luca Frei is a security engineer and has been with Zühlke since October 2019. He has in-depth experience with systems with the highest security standards, such as e-banking portals and inter-banking payment protocols. In addition to his professional engagements, Gian-Luca has done research on modern cryptographic protocols for which he has received the ISSS Excellence Award 2019. During his computer science studies with a specialization in IT security, he worked part-time as a software engineer in a startup. Gian-Luca’s areas of expertise are security architecture, web security, penetration testing, identity and access management, and cryptography.