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Women in Security: Enterprises in Security Should Seek Curiousity and Attitude

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Serra Luck, the Vice President for Strategic Business Development at HID Global, speaks about why she chose the security industry as her career choice

Tell us about yourself and your current job role.
I was born and grew up in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, and have earned my degree in Statistics from Middle East Technical University. At that time analytics and statistical models had been used in finance mostly however after a summer trainee program at a renowned financial institute, I decided to progress in the technology sector where I could be close to innovation and rapid change and could work in an environment where I would have customer-facing contact.

Technology was exciting even 30 years back, I  worked with computers that were the size of a fridge and discs that were the size of a physical music album (LP), have seen the worldwide web take off, and learned statistical programming. I moved to Dublin, Ireland in 1997 and worked for Oracle in their EMEA Direct Marketing Division until I decided to pursue an MBA. I earned my master’s degree in international management in Germany in 2000.

From 2000 to 2010, I had the opportunity to apply my analytics, technology, and management skills at Siemens Headquarters in Munich. There I worked at various customer-facing roles in business development across information and communication and medical segments with a focus on identity and access management. Identity and privacy had been two pillars that kept me intrigued over the years especially with the dawn of cloud, connectivity, and IoT.

HID and I crossed our paths during HID’s pursuit to connect physical access control with logical access and provide the best of both worlds to their channel. I felt I could make a difference and combine my acumen of the IT and identity business with the physical dimension. That is why I decided to join HID in 2010.

At HID I held various positions, starting with Segment Management. After that, I moved towards business development for mobile access. At the time when I stepped into that role many years back, mobile access was a new concept in the security industry. Back then we have built the foundation for what the offering has evolved into today. The role was exciting, I was part of the core team that incubated and led HID, the industry market leader, into a new offering as well as a new business model. From there on I was promoted into roles to set up end-user and consultant business practices, inside sales team, and build sales excellence across the global business.

Today I lead the strategic business development team for the largest business area of HID, namely Physical Access Control Solutions (PACS).  In my current role, I am responsible for leading the vertical engagement, consultant specification, strategic alliances, marketing, and sales excellence teams for PACS globally. Looking back, the red thread in my career so far has been a lot around transformation and change management next to the technical, sales, and business development parts I get a lot of energy out of change management. Empowering teams, departments, and business units to embark on a journey to discover new territories and challenging the status quo is something I enjoy very much.

Tell us about your journey into the security industry. Was the security industry your first choice?
HID being a leader in the identity space with credential authentication, authorization and administration capabilities were and are clearly innovating and genuinely investing to make physical security a strategic stakeholder in IT transformations. Everything I did in the IAM (Identity and Access Management) space was connected to security, compliance, and governance with a focus on software and services. HID added the hardware dimension to the multifaceted security approach.

From my perspective, the security industry makes a difference in people’s lives. What we do as an industry helps to mitigate risks, we strive to enable our customers to create trusted environments so that they and the people who use them can fulfill their potential and have ease of mind when it comes to being secure to move freely.

Have a look at what we do for K-12, for universities, hospitals, airports, age care facilities, multi-tenant buildings; we are genuinely in the business of protecting people, things, and places. We have a responsibility, we have a brand promise, “ it just works” we deliver reliable, durable, and easy-to-use products and services with the highest security standards in the market and best in class customer support. Technology, innovation, and the element of protecting what matters pulled me into this industry; that is why I am still here. Having seen the impact of what we do, my respect for the security industry and for those who serve keep growing to date.

During your tenure in the security industry have you experienced major changes the industry has gone through?
I did and these are very remarkable moves. The first one I can call out is the move from hardware to software and services. HID-led mobile access has been a strategic shift in the security mindset of end-users as well as security installers/integrators from an added-value perspective. The possibility of giving and revoking access rights in real-time, using different form factors other than a badge, opens many opportunities in a connected ecosystem.

The second one is digitisation. Industry 4.0 and digitization are not only about automation and robotics. Digital engagement/marketing, social engineering, user journey-focused agile development, and innovation are also prominently finding their foundation in the physical access control world. How we communicate and what we communicate to our end-users have fundamentally changed; with the possibility of using Omni-channels to access information and any offer, we are much more cognizant of the desires of the user and user experience.

Then third the commoditization of IT and us expecting to receive every service at our workplace with the same ease and speed and simplicity as we have in the private world; that means if I am able to buy, subscribe, delete, activate, terminate, update service with a click in the private world, why cannot I do that at work? That is why we have invested/continue to invest heavily in the cloud to give this ability to our customers.

Finally the return to workplace challenges: Will we work all the time from an office or not? How will this impact us and our channel and end-users in the coming years? How can we adapt to change? The voice of customer efforts we lead across functions evaluates all angles that will ease adapting to changing requirements.

Are there any challenges you face on a day-to-day basis working in this industry?
Working in a global business and having a team in many corners of the world from California to Sydney, the current travel restrictions and regional lockdown policies as well as resulting remote work situations are challenges. I guess we are all taking our toll in connecting with our customers, with our teams, and our people. While we do our utmost, homo sapiens is (I am) a social creature, we need live interaction, we want to debate face to face, we want to mingle. We have new members of the team who never had the chance to meet the larger team face to face. We all look forward to seeing each other again.

What sort of future do you foresee for the security industry as a whole?
Security is there to stay but will go beyond security as well playing a vital role in bigger ecosystems. In my view, the industry will transform and merge with IT in the years to come. We will see a time where we will move in spaces and those spaces will recognize us. There will be mechanisms that will adjust all ecosystem controls towards the individual automatically and in crowds, with machine learning and patterns the systems will advise best options or even pick for you. So technology in combination with new ways of identification and authentication will most likely change the known access control user experience we see today fundamentally.

Data analytics will derive conclusions and the assets-related predictive analytics will evolve to more sophisticated security predictions/forecasts. Identity will play the most crucial role and whoever holds the identity of whoever is favored as the most reliable identity holder will scale. This will not be limited to governments, private enterprises will be part of this. The security experts will walk to a site and let augmented reality tools guide them for best practices. Digital competent installers/integrators will provide less error-prone services.

End users will have a full view of their assets and maintenance maps. Due to all these technology shifts, we are seeing the dynamic of new entrants offering adjacent and complementary functionality to traditionally single-purpose physical security offerings. All these changes will lead to a new dynamic as to who provides value where and the role of players in our renewed industry.

What more needs to be done to welcome more and more women into the security industry?
While I look for new team members, the most important attribute I seek and encourage is curiosity. The second is an attitude; the right “can do” attitude. We should encourage enterprises in security to seek curiosity and attitude. Education and technical knowledge may be gained over time but others not. That is why I encourage recruiting women who have these traits, and where possible directly from universities and coach and grow them. I know for a fact that for us that had been a rewarding experience and we will continue to do so.

I do not think we make a good job of marketing the value of the security industry in our job advertisements. We should speak to the desires of women who seek diversity, who seek to make a change, who look to take part in projects that have a meaningful impact. Security has many aspects which can intrigue women that seek a career in innovation, technology, analytics, risk management. The security industry is that place because it holds all these elements. Our eye for detail, multi-tasking nature, and conflict management skills are of great value when it is a matter of creating trusted environments.

Also, I call on employers to consider the positive impact of diversity at the leadership table. Diversity can come from many areas including gender diversity, women and men have different gifts. I strongly believe that companies need to diversify to remain competitive. Bringing in people with different backgrounds and perspectives can lead to better decision-making, greater innovation, and higher engagement in the workplace; different views stimulate creative problem-solving.

Albert Einstein says the best: We must not only learn to tolerate our differences. We must welcome them as the richness and diversity which can lead to true intelligence.

GITEX

Video: Netscout Focuses on its Solutions That Provide Business Assurance

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In this video, Emad Fahmy, the Systems Engineering Manager at NETSCOUT, says his company combines service assurance, cybersecurity, and BI to help regional businesses:

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GITEX

GITEX Global 2022: Palo Alto Networks to Showcase its Cybersecurity Tech

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Tarek Abbas, the Director of Systems Engineering for Emerging Markets at Palo Alto Networks, says GITEX Global has always been a great platform to showcase innovative cybersecurity products and services

Which products and solutions will you be showcasing at the event?
Yes, we have a much bigger presence at GITEX Global 2022 this year to be able to showcase our leading cybersecurity technology. Customers visiting GITEX will be able to see live demos of our best-in-class cybersecurity platforms representing our 3 main security pillars plus our services: Strata (The Networks Security with NGFW and SASE), Cortex (Endpoint security and SoC Automation, Unit42 Incident Response), Prisma Cloud (Cloud Security) and Professional Services.

What are your expectations from the event this year? 
GITEX Global has always been a great platform to showcase our new and innovative cybersecurity products and services. It’s a great opportunity to meet new and existing customers, partners, and other leading technology experts to discuss recent updates and trends in cyber security and get their feedback so we can continue our conversation developing our relationship as their security partner of choice.

What will be your theme of participation at GITEX? 
Palo Alto Networks is the world’s cybersecurity leader. We innovate to outpace cyber threats, so organizations can embrace technology with confidence. We provide next-gen cybersecurity to thousands of customers globally, across all sectors. Our best-in-class cybersecurity platforms and services are backed by industry-leading threat intelligence and strengthened by state-of-the-art automation. Whether deploying our products to enable the Zero Trust Enterprise, responding to a security incident, or partnering to deliver better security outcomes through a world-class partner ecosystem, we’re committed to helping ensure each day is safer than the one before. It’s what makes us the cybersecurity partner of choice.

Do you plan to run any online engagements such as webinars and offline engagements such as tech talks, demos, keynotes, and so on, alongside GITEX? 
Yes, we are proud to have Helmut Reisenger, Palo Alto Networks EMEA & LATAM CEO joining us for the event and delivering a Keynote at the GITEX Global Stage on Day 2 of the event. We will also run 6 different demo stations with live demos showcasing our leading cybersecurity platforms and services that are backed by industry-leading threat intelligence and strengthened by state-of-the-art automation. We will also run technical enablement sessions/workshops at different times during the week.

How have your regional strategies changed in recent months? 
Amid a time of geopolitical and economic uncertainty, the pandemic continued hybrid work, and the accelerating shift to the cloud, attackers have not stood still. Customers have never needed a strong cybersecurity partner more. Palo Alto Networks delivers what’s next in security to help organizations get ahead of the threat landscape, with broad industry recognition of our best-of-breed platforms: network security, cloud security, and security operations. We are committed to our customers in the region to deliver a seamless experience that puts them on a fast path to value.

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GITEX Global 2022: CrowdStrike Participates Under the Theme “Redefining XDR”

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Roland Daccache, the Systems Engineering Manager for META at CrowdStrike, says the company wants to connect with the event’s visitors, prospects, customers, and partners

Are you participating in GITEX Global 2022? If yes, which products and solutions will you be showcasing at the event?
This year we are excited to be participating in GITEX, with our local distributor Cyberknight, focusing on the theme of XDR and log management. We will be demonstrating our new platform modules, specifically identity protection, with so many customers looking forward to enhancing their Active Directory security posture, and we will also be showcasing our new capabilities in the threat intelligence space.

What are your expectations from the event this year?
GITEX is one of the largest exhibitions in the region, and with the world finally returning to some level of normality following the pandemic, we are thrilled to connect with the event visitors, prospects, customers, and partners, to listen to their pain points and discuss how CrowdStrike can help with all aspects of their cybersecurity aspirations.

What will be your theme of participation at GITEX?
Our theme for the year is “redefining XDR”. With a lot of buzz in the market around XDR, we are focused this year on bringing to our audience the value of XDR, the foundational elements of EDR, identity, and threat intelligence, and how all of these components weave together to protect the organizations’ bottom line.

Do you plan to run any online engagements such as webinars and offline engagements such as tech talks, demos, keynotes, and so on, alongside GITEX?
We already have two sessions scheduled at GITEX. I encourage all attendees to look them up in the event agenda and join us! We are running the CrowdStrike Adversary Universe World Tour in Dubai in the same week in the evening, as part of our 28 cities tour across EMEA – an example of the many activities planned in Dubai and the region for the year.

How have your regional strategies changed in recent months?
We have listened to the pain points of organizations in the Middle East, and taken initiative to significantly expand our workforce regionally, to help us serve more clients in the areas of EDR, XDR, identity protection, log management, and threat intelligence. On a global scale, we have also introduced many new modules and capabilities and acquired an external attack surface management solution to help our customers reduce their digital risk exposure.

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