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Women in Security: An Enlightened Generation of Hiring Managers Can Welcome More Women to the Industry

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Unnita Sonake, the Practice Lead for Data Analytics, at SpireData, says that the stereotype that STEM is better suited to men seems to still persist in many countries

Tell us about yourself and your current job role.
I lead the Practice for Big Data and Data Analytics at SpireData, where we work on Cybersecurity Analytics, Risk Analytics, and Security Data Lake projects.

Tell us about your journey into the security industry. Was the security industry your first choice?
Analytics is my first choice but analytics has many applications within the cybersecurity landscape. So I deal with Cybersecurity Analytics and primarily Security Data Lake projects. A security data lake (SDL) is a security-focused data management tool that provides the ability to ingest data from many diverse security tools and then utilise this data for cybersecurity analytics.

During your tenure in the security industry have you experienced major changes the industry has gone through?
Yes, of course! The industry is getting mature and has undergone changes from reactive action to proactive action to predictive attacks to now developing data Lake to identify, prevent security threats, and analyse attacks.

Are there any challenges you face on a day-to-day basis working in this industry?
The major challenges are real-time analytics and data infrastructure required to implement the real-time analytics, fast and easy implementation, and end-point monitoring.

What sort of future do you foresee for the security industry as a whole?
The cybersecurity market was valued at $156.24 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach $352.25 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 14.5% during 2021-2026 with increasing investments going into AI, Machine Learning, and IoT application in the security industry.

What more needs to be done to welcome more and more women into the security industry?
It’s not just for the security industry but the stereotype that STEM is better suited to men seems to still persist in many countries. Women being underpaid compared to men and the lack of enlightened generation of hiring managers and C-Suite officers is needed to welcome more and more women.

Interviews

Outlook 2022: “Continuing to Protect Our Customers From Cyberattacks”

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Werno Gevers, the Regional Manager of Mimecast Middle East, says his company continued to add strategic partners to its cyber resilience ecosystem and API development platform

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
Following the major lockdowns of 2020, organisations embarked on rapid digital transformation. This year, most organisations followed a hybrid work model that saw some employees working from the office some of the time, in between periods of remote work.

The global cybercrime industry – already experiencing a period of unrestrained growth and expansion thanks to new attack tools and the growing digitisation of our everyday lives – is pouncing on the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in hybrid work models. These offer a plethora of potential attack surfaces, with remote working employees especially vulnerable due to the generally lower levels of protection against cyberattacks on home networks and personal devices.

The new hybrid way of working has certainly brought the issue of cybersecurity front and centre to boardroom discussions. This industry has never been more relevant. And because digital transformation journeys have been fast-tracked, a large number of organisations could not do their due diligence to protect their new cloud footprint.

We also saw a series of highly publicised ransomware attacks around the world forcing organisations offline and leading to major disruption of an organisation, their supply chains and critical national infrastructure. This forced organisations to sit up and pay attention to the importance of adequate cybersecurity.

What sort of opportunities did 2021 bring along?
As mentioned previously, the increased attention paid to the importance of cybersecurity certainly created opportunities for us across our entire offering. Our customers and partners looked to us as trusted advisors to help them navigate this new way of working and ensure they were adequately protected.

One area of focus that certainly became more relevant was the increased exploitation of brands online. Criminals capitalised on the fact that consumers were spending more time online for entertainment, shopping and making transactions, by impersonating their favourite brands to launch realistic and believable phishing attacks.

Mimecast conducted research among consumers and compiled a Brand Trust report that showed that 75% of KSA respondents and 78% from the UAE would stop spending money with their favourite brand if they fell victim to a phishing attack involving that brand. The research has cast a spotlight on the role of brands in protecting their customers from cyberattacks. Compared to a global average of 57%, this places the region’s consumers among the most unforgiving of all markets surveyed.

More than 80% of consumers in the region (83% in UAE, 82% in KSA) believe it is the brand’s responsibility to protect itself from email impersonation. A similar percentage said it is the brand’s responsibility to protect itself from fake versions of its website.

Implementing effective controls, such as brand exploit protection services and DMARC, can limit opportunities for criminals to imitate beloved brands and dupe their customers. This has led to an increased demand of Mimecast’s brand protection services.

Did you face any challenges in 2021?
Like any organisation we saw the effects of the pandemic continue to impact many of our customers. The last couple of years has been hard for many industries and organisations. And this created a knock-on effect for us. But we helped our customers wherever possible and helped them as best we could to navigate these difficult times.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
We supported a number of small, medium and large customers with their digital transformation journeys, by helping them to secure their valuable data and reduce their risk and exposure to cyberattacks. We launched Mimecast CyberGraph, a new add-on for Mimecast Secure Email Gateway (SEG) that is engineered to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help detect sophisticated phishing and impersonation attacks.

We continued to add strategic partners to our industry-leading cyber resilience ecosystem and API development platform. We also joined Exabeam’s XDR Alliance as a founding member. The alliance is a partnership of leading cybersecurity industry innovators committed to an inclusive and collaborative extended detection and response (XDR) framework and architecture. We continued to provide best-of-breed security solutions to our customers in order to stop bad things from happening to good organisations

What promises does 2022 bring along?
We will continue to be trusted partners to our customers, helping them navigate an increasingly complex and dangerous cyber threat landscape. We aim to grow our current offering, improving our solutions to keep up with the constantly evolving methods of cybercriminals.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
Cybersecurity solutions will continue to be in demand as cybercriminals continue to work overtime. What’s important is ensuring you have adequate security solutions to protect your entire organisation, that you implement defence-in-depth and that you ensure you have a suitable cyber resilience strategy in place. Take ransomware for example – the cyber threat that has made headlines and caused disruption throughout 2021. These attacks are not going anywhere and are only becoming more complex and dangerous. And the shift to remote work has resulted in the need to protect numerous new devices, leaving organisations more vulnerable to ransomware through unsecured networks.

The solution to ransomware does not lie with a single technology, entity, or idea. Organisations need an integrated security strategy in place as no single solution can provide adequate protection against ransomware – or restore full productivity and recover all data in the wake of a successful attack. Additionally, regular and effective cybersecurity awareness training for all employees in addition to improved security controls can help improve the overall resilience of the business and prevent or help limit the damage of these attacks and remove the need to pay ransoms.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
We will continue to protect our customers from cyberattacks and help them to reduce risk, cost and complexity at their organisations’ perimeters and reduce threats inside their networks. But we will also help protect their brands online, by preventing brand impersonation and reducing opportunities for cybercriminals to launch attacks on their customers. We will continue to work with organisations of all sizes but will be looking to increase our footprint in the enterprise space.

As the world of hybrid work becomes commonplace, we will work with customers to ensure their employees are secure as they work remotely and communicate using email and other collaboration tools. A key product we will be focusing on is the artificial intelligence offering that we launched this year. Mimecast CyberGraph uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help detect sophisticated phishing and impersonation attacks.

It is designed to detect anomalies and leverages machine learning technology to help organisations stay one step ahead of threat actors by alerting employees to potential cyber threats. We will continue to focus on supporting all industries with their cyber resilience needs since no industry is immune to cyber threats. But going into the new year we will have a strong focus on manufacturing, wholesale and trade, retail, and healthcare as we are seeing that these sectors are among the most targeted by cybercriminals.

What milestones have you set for 2022?
We will continue to grow and support our customers across the Middle East. This includes working with our strategic channel partners to reach new territories and untapped industries. But it also means ensuring our existing customers are happy, well supported and making the most of their Mimecast services. We also want to ensure that customers and prospects are aware of the importance of layered security and this will mean educating the market on the importance of a defence in depth strategy and why they cannot rely on a single cloud service provider for their cybersecurity needs.

What would you like to do differently in 2022, when compared with 2021?
After the disruption of the last couple of years, we really hope to be able to spend more time having a face-to-face meeting with our customers and prospects and hope to attend more in-person events. While there are certainly benefits to a virtual world, one cannot deny the importance of human interaction and the benefits of networking.

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Intersec

Intersec 2022: Invixium to Show Off Touchless Biometric Solution

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Shiraz Kapadia, the CEO, and President at Invixium, speaks about his company’s participation at Intersec 2022

Are you participating in Intersec 2022? If yes, which products and solutions will you be showcasing at the event?
Invixium is proud to have attended Intersec every year that the show has been held since 2013, and we are excited to return for 2022. At the end of 2021, we launched our groundbreaking mobile platform for security, IXM Mobile, which includes five features to improve health, safety, and convenience: remote enrollment for face recognition, digital card and dynamic QR code as credentials, custom mobile attestation questions, and vital signs screening.

We also plan to showcase our flagship touchless biometric solution, IXM TITAN, as well as the add-on Enhancement Kit for frictionless temperature screening. Rounding out our solution is IXM WEB, our enterprise-grade software suite that adds powerful analytics to biometric security system management. Invixium will also be proudly launching TFACE, a slim, affordable face recognition device. This solution is ideal for businesses looking for modern, touchless biometric security with the high quality ensured by manufacturing all our products in Canada.

What are your expectations from the event this year?
We view Intersec as a vital show for our business – it’s the largest security-focused tradeshow in the Middle East. In 2013, we inaugurated our company at the show, and since then we launched groundbreaking products year after year at Intersec because of how much impact this show has for us. Despite COVID-19 protocols, we’re expecting strong attendance and look forward to meeting face-to-face with our partners and clients again.

Do you hope for a business relief from the event?
Meeting in person adds incredible value for both our company and our partners and customers. This is very positive for business in terms of building the strong relationships that our global strategy demands.

What will be your theme of participation at Intersec 2022?
Touchless biometrics have taken center stage in our industry over the last two years and continue to be in high demand. Solutions like these offer the perfect blend of high security and convenience from face recognition with prevention from the spread of illness. We will showcase our touchless solutions in their ideal ecosystem – with IXM WEB and IXM Mobile. Visitors will be able to see and feel our modern, high-quality solutions, and ask their questions directly to the manufacturer.

Do you plan to run any online engagements such as webinars alongside Intersec 2022?
We will continue to do webinars for those who can’t attend the show due to travel restrictions, but Invixium is focusing heavily on in-person meetings during Intersec. We are looking forward to spending time one-on-one with as many of our customers and partners as possible.

How have your regional strategies changed in recent months?
Our regional strategy has always included forming lasting partnerships. We recognized that this requires local presence and made the decision to establish an office in Dubai Internet City in 2020 with a local industry veteran, Wisam Yaghmour, as the leader of our sales effort for MENA, Turkey, and Pakistan.

While we still focus on design and manufacturing high-quality products and solutions from our Canadian headquarters, Invixium’s presence in the Middle East allows our growing customer base in the region to benefit from local sales contacts and support.

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Interviews

Outlook 2022: “Web Apps Are Now the Primary Interface Between Customers and Businesses”

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Toni El Inati, the RVP for Sales – META & CEE at Barracuda Networks, says Middle East businesses have faced unprecedented change over the last 18 months

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
Cybersecurity has been one of the few industry segments that has grown significantly since the onset of the pandemic. This if course relates to the heightened level of cybercriminal activity last the last 24 months. At Barracuda, we have been closely monitoring the threat landscape and we continue to offer best-of-breed solutions to counter new and evolving threats.

What sort of opportunities did 2021 bring along?
In our recent report titled ‘The state of application security in 2021’, Barracuda researchers found that 72% of organisations got breached through web applications. Moreover, the causes of these attacks varied, with top threats including bad bots (43%), software supply chain attacks (39%), vulnerability detection (38%), and securing APIs (37%).

At the same time, in an increasingly digital world, web applications are now a primary interface between customers and businesses. This makes it imperative for organisations to secure their web applications. Consequently, we have seen strong momentum for our Cloud Application Protection solution which provides powerful application security that is easy to use and helps protect applications deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or hybrid.

Also, this year, with high-profile ransomware attacks crippling critical infrastructure, the spotlight has once again been shone on this threat vector. Diving into the anatomy of the typical ransomware attack reveals that they often start with a malicious phishing email intended to trick the recipient into disclosing login credentials.

The first step in protection is therefore to protect user credentials from email attacks. This involves blocking phishing attacks before they reach users’ inboxes, training employees to recognise phishing attempts, and having tools and procedures in place to effectively execute an incident response. Barracuda Total Email Protection, a suite of powerful security solutions that offer protection against a wide range of email threats, has proven effective in protecting Middle East businesses from this threat.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
This year, Barracuda has received several industry awards and accolades. We have been recognized as a Visionary in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Network Firewalls and as a Challenger in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Application and API Security. We were also named a Leader in “The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Email Security, Q2 2021” wherein Barracuda was specifically cited for offering “a product portfolio that includes integrated solutions for email security, cloud backup, email archiving, DMARC authentication, SA&T, and web security.”

In July 2021, we acquired SKOUT Cybersecurity, a move that expanded our portfolio for MSPs, enabling us to offer them an extended detection and response (XDR) platform for proactive real-time continuous security monitoring with response services for managed endpoints, networks, and cloud.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
I also think there will be a renewed focus on governments prioritizing cybersecurity initiatives, building alliances with vendors, and sharing data with other countries. This level of collaboration will help improve security for everyone.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
Middle East businesses have faced unprecedented change over the last 18 months and rapid digitalisation has left many vulnerable to cyberattacks. While the threat landscape is indeed daunting, Barracuda’s message to regional businesses is that robust protection is both affordable and easy to deploy.

While packed with powerful features, Barracuda’s enterprise-grade security solutions offer consumer-level ease of use, enabling organisations to focus on realising their digital ambitions with confidence in the security of their digital services and assets. This is a message that has resonated strongly with businesses of all sizes, and we will continue to emphasise this value proposition to our customers and prospects as we look to establish and deepen our engagements with organisations that are looking to effectively secure their critical digital infrastructures.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
Extended detection and response (XDR) as currently, detection and response in the XDR context are enormous gaps for many organisations. They will need help with detection and response, which will drive increased demand for this emerging technology.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
Email security and application protection are key requirements for Middle East businesses. In line with this, two focus solutions for Barracuda in the region are its Cloud Application Protection, and Total Email Protection solutions. Cloud Application Protection protects applications deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or hybrid.

Total Email Protection combines gateway defense with inbox protection and user security awareness into a single, comprehensive solution. With the increasing use of Microsoft Office 365 by Middle East organisations, the company is also focused on Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup, a cloud-native platform that delivers a fast search and restores experience for Office 365 data, including Teams, Exchange Online, SharePoint, and OneDrive.

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