Aji Joseph, General Manager, Middle East of managed security provider RadarServices speaks to AMEinfo about the growing digital market in the Middle East and security challenges it face.
How are digital markets in the Middle East growing? What do you see as key challenges in the region?
Digital markets are growing at a fast pace in the Middle East, with Smart Government and Smart City initiatives from countries like the UAE. IT security is one of the biggest challenges faced by organisations and end-users in the region with people having access to a lot of sensitive information on their laptops and Smartphones, and attackers trying various ways to breach corporate networks and steal sensitive information. Organisations find it difficult to keep pace with cyber-criminals as security products like antivirus, firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems are breached on a regular basis. With more organisations embracing technologies like Cloud and IoT, these threats are growing in an exponential manner.
As you mentioned, the digital security risk is growing as digital business growth increases. What should be the strategy from governments, service providers and businesses in the region?
New government initiatives like NESA (National Electronic Security Authority) compliance in the UAE will help organisations improve their security. Every organisation is looking for a robust security solution, but, these days, traditional security mechanisms like antivirus, firewalls or network monitoring software may not sound an alert whenever there is an attack. What is needed is a proactive security strategy. This does not mean that conventional security mechanisms have become obsolete. Firewalls, antivirus and other tools fulfill their respective tasks. However, they need to be accompanied by an effective mechanism that monitors and provides real-time analytics of the IT infrastructure for a more scalable security approach. Cyber-threats have grown up with a vengeance. Effective protection can only be achieved if the results of security monitoring tools are constantly analysed by experts so that they are properly configured and adapted to any changes in the environment.
International consulting firm Strategy&, in a market research, had suggested that all governments in the region must come together to set up a central national cyber-security body. Do you support this idea?
Governments in the region are taking cyber security seriously and are taking appropriate measures to proactively protect government organisations and bigger organisations. However, the challenge is in translating the same message to private organizations, since a majority of them consider IT as an expense centre.
What does RadarServices offer more than firewalls and antivirus in terms of cyber security? How does your business model differ?
Security as a managed service helps organisations to stay secure with proper guidance from experts and technology. It helps them focus on their core business rather than worrying about cyber security. Managed services are more effective than relying on one or the other security products, as security experts analyse the customer network on a regular basis using a huge portfolio of tools. More and more corporations as well as public institutions are going for managed security services as they are not only more effective but also more efficient compared to having a dedicated internal IT security team that needs to be expanded and trained very well over time as attacks get more and more complex day by day. RadarServices’ service includes all necessary tools as well as highly experienced, specialised and constantly trained experts to configure and update them 24/7. Customers enter yearly agreements and thus do not have the huge long-term investment risk that comes with an in-house solution. And finally, we guarantee that no data leaves a client’s premises at any time while using our services.
Can you give us a brief idea about Radarservices’ presence in the region’s markets? Any expansion plans?
The Middle East is a very import market for us. RadarServices is the market leader for IT security monitoring and IT risk management as managed services with 100 per cent European roots. We experienced very high demand for our “non-US” services in the Middle East and thus set up an office in Dubai years ago. We operate with a broad sales partner network in all countries in the Middle East. Our plans include a set-up of a regional Security Operations Centre (SOC) in the region by 2016 to provide our customers with a complete local service operation.