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Exclusive: The state of cybersecurity and best strategies to combat cyber attacks

Digital transformation is altering all aspects of business operations, but cybersecurity should be smack in the middle of it. Technology provider Genetec shares key insights in this exclusive interview

Businesses must embrace the cloud as the key to unlocking work-from-anywhere cybersecurity When it comes to protecting data, threats aren’t just coming from the outside The strongest encryption cannot defend your system against weak or compromised passwords

In January 2021, Genetec Inc. (“Genetec”), a leading technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions, surveyed physical security professionals based in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. 

Key findings from the survey highlight how 2020 has refocused priorities, and digital transformation is altering all aspects of business operations. The strategies for 2021 are to embrace the cloud, focus on cyber resilience (67% of respondents are planning to prioritize it), and build security operations on a unified platform.

To find out more, AMEinfo conducted the following Q&A with Ephrem Tesfai, Sales Engineering Manager at Genetec.

1- Hackers and cybercriminals always seem to be one step ahead of the game. How do we stop them? 

Emerging cyber threats, hazards, and criminal activity introduce new vulnerabilities and risks. A poorly secured camera, unencrypted communications between a server and client application, or out-of-date firmware are exploited by cybercriminals. 

The UAE saw a 250% increase in cyberattacks during 2020, with phishing and ransomware incidents increasing in frequency, and cybercrime is still the number 1 threat to Middle East’s businesses today. 

Security systems can no longer focus solely on physical threats. That’s why having a security strategy to protect any system against both physical and cyber threats is critical.  Businesses must embrace the cloud as the key to unlocking work-from-anywhere cybersecurity to ensure that they are on the right track for remaining safe in the new normal. 

Building a secure and compliant system with a single approach isn’t enough. Multiple layers of defense are needed, such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and authorization to help face new threats and keep customers’ data and operations safe. 

2- How can technology prevent cyberattacks?  

When it comes to protecting data, threats aren’t just coming from the outside. With more integration and collaboration between each part of our security systems, the paths to access sensitive data have multiplied. That’s why you need to control who can see your data, and what they can do with it. 

The first step is to use strong authentication methods to prevent undesired access to your system. This keeps your video and data from getting into the wrong hands. Once authenticated, the next step is to use authorization to manage who can access what part of your security system. This allows you to restrict the scope of activity within the system by giving access rights to groups or individuals for resources, data or applications, and by defining what users can do with these resources. 

Customers require solutions that help protect data from malicious attacks in multiple ways by securing all aspects of physical security systems – including communications, servers, and data. For example, Genetec protects data from malicious attacks in multiple ways by securing all aspects of physical security systems.

Read: The absolute top cyber threat landscape predictions for 2021

Read: In the midst of COVID-19, we’re seeing a pandemic of cyber attacks

3- What are the best practices that SMEs and large corporates can use to limit their exposure to cyberattacks? 

As important as technology is in protecting your organization against criminal cybersecurity, there is another factor at play: your people. The strongest encryption cannot defend your system against weak or compromised passwords. 

Therefore, it’s important to implement the right processes and put proper training programs in place. Employees need to be educated on the IT best practices and potential social engineering techniques they may face. For example, starting with simple tips on password creation and identifying phishing emails from legitimate communications, will help mitigate the cyber risks. 

4- Do companies have the resources, time, and capacity to create a secure cyberculture with staff?

A new study commissioned by global ICT firm Avaya revealed that UAE workers are the world’s best-equipped for remote working, with 64% claiming that they have access to the technology necessary to work from anywhere – a higher number of respondents than seen in any other country. 

At a business level, the UAE has a National Cybersecurity strategy in place that aims to create a safe and strong cyber infrastructure that enables citizens to fulfill their aspirations and empowers businesses to thrive.

This new strategy positively impacts all segments of society by enhancing citizens’ confidence to participate in the digital world and encouraging innovation in cybersecurity securely. 

Businesses need to refresh their cybersecurity policies and plans and invest in their talent and leadership team to include cybersecurity experts to keep up with the ever-changing dynamics of ICT. At Genetec, we develop resources and provide support to help strengthen companies’ cybersecurity practices.  

5- Can internal threats be flushed out?  

Maintaining the security and upkeep of an organization’s systems, devices, and procedures can flush out Internal threats. Whether through secure corporate communication or purchasing cyber liability insurance, among other options. 

According to the most recent Mimecast ‘The State of Email Security’ report, 78% of businesses in the UAE indicated they had been impacted by ransomware in 2020, a massive increase from the 66% of companies that reported such disruption in the previous year. 

The cyber threat landscape across the UAE is constantly evolving, with attacks becoming more malicious and sophisticated. A growing number of organizations across the UAE have revealed that their businesses were disrupted. They ended up facing financial losses, due to a growing wave of cyberattacks. 

6- From Genetec’s point of view, what are the opportunities that can be availed to companies to mitigate cyber risks?

As a security provider, operations, and business intelligence solutions, we can help protect organizations from such risks. We work tirelessly to inform companies of new threats and help them mitigate risks. 

A strong network of trusted vendors can be maintained through supply chain risk management while securing an end-to-end supply chain. This strengthens an organization’s physical security and helps protect against potential cyber-attacks.

Also, ensuring that all employees can effectively detect and avoid suspicious communication attempts is vital. 

Since the repercussions of a cyber-attack can have a long-lasting negative impact on an organization providing consistent user education to employees is an investment that goes a long way.

To create a successful cybersecurity strategy, it’s necessary to understand what you must defend against. We help to understand the threat actors and assess potential security risks, while our comprehensive approach assists in mitigating that risk and building a defense-in-depth strategy to achieve greater cyber resilience.