Cybersecurity Q&A

Cybersecurity Q&A

Security Middle East magazine talks to Ibrahim Azab, Regional Sales Director for CyberRes, MEA, about how security operations are evolving in the Middle East and how the CyberRes suite of products can help organisations stay ahead.

How have security operations and technology operations become more closely aligned?

“Security is no longer a silo or something that just ‘has to be done’ but has become part of the enterprise ecosystem and the alignment with technology operations has become instrumental for success. Actually, while the question is how they have become more aligned (being in the same direction) we at CyberRes believe that they have also to be ‘in sync’. Security operations and technology operations have to be ‘synchronized’ and, to our eyes, vision and beliefs, that means that they not only have to be ‘in the same direction’ but at the same pace, at the same rhythm, in an ‘orchestrated’ way. It is imperative that security operations and all that goes with it (threat management, vulnerability detection, super-correlation, etc.) are seen in a unified and simplified way to enhance the security posture of a company, to embrace a proper security governance and, in a nutshell, to provide a more robust and solid approach to the governance of the enterprise IT.”

What can organisations in the Middle East do to bolster their cyber resilience?

“I understand that it may sound aggressive but my answer is to get ‘obsessed’ with protection and defense. Why? Because cybercriminals are not going to stop… and they are obsessed with attacking and hurting the companies and the region at large. Companies here in the Middle East should start considering cybersecurity as a whole, from the endpoint to the data centre, from the network to the Cloud, from the data to the applications that host it. We also believe in the importance for organisations to embrace not just security (identity, protect, defend, respond, recover) but also resiliency (the capacity to endure, to withstand, to resist). And they can do that by asking the right questions to the right people at the right time, in three dimensions: identity, data and applications. Adapting and adopting strategies and tactics in the world of identity management, access control, application security, data discovery, information protection, privacy, security operations, threat intelligence, compliance, governance, assurance. We believe in that and that’s why we have created a second-to-none portfolio in that direction. There’s no way companies can save the day leaving behind precious disciplines and, consequently, holes and gaps in their infrastructure and security strategy.”

How can organisations maximise the benefits of new technologies without disregarding previous investments that have been made in security technology?

“It is imperative that investments that have been made are protected (as long as they bring robustness and solidness to the castle we want to protect). New technologies should complete and complement existing deployments and co-exist with the technologies that were once relevant and, hopefully, professionals and users have embraced through a learning curve. That’s the reason behind a ‘transparent security’, a security that is built – for example – in the Cloud, with the Cloud, through the Cloud; one that respects whatever investment has been made on identity management. But that enhances control and visibility. We believe in a security that amplifies its reach and that multiplies the effort on threat management and risk governance. Again, unifying and simplifying something that will never work in silos… not anymore.”

What do you foresee to be the biggest challenge that Middle Eastern companies will face in the next decade?

“The biggest challenge has always been – and will still be – the false sense of security, thinking that we have enough, that no one will be interested in the data a company has. Of course, this is a question to be answered with bigger and more targeted threats, nation-states attacking critical infrastructures with a geopolitical goal (especially through the energy market), organisations seeing their names on the first page of the newspaper the next day since the biggest breach ever has impacted them. This all will happen and we – the world, society at large – need to be ready for that. Attackers and those who want to create harm and destroy will not stop… why should we?”

How can CyberRes’ suite of products help futureproof an organisation against known and unknown threats?

“We have products and technology that have more than 20 years in the market so when it comes to understanding challenges and existing threats we feel that we are very well prepared since we have been here from the very beginning. And when it comes to unknown threats, the technology that sits at the centre of our offering (unsupervised Machine Learning) is capable of understanding things never-before-seen, patterns of behavior that are unexpected, communications that should not be happening… and, thus, being able to alert it or stop it. Unknown threats may come from disgruntled employees, from a misuse of technology assets, from a new actor in the cyber criminal arena or even from military operations in cyberspace. Unsupervised Machine Learning and the way we provide unparalleled control and visibility provides the confidence to our customers that they will be know, whatever happens, if deployed rightly.”

The ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity risks can make it hard for organisations to stay protected. How does CyberRes address this challenge?

“By envisioning what may happen. By asking questions such as ‘What if…?’. By understanding and comprehending where the corporate assets are (the jewels in the crown) and how to protect them. By assessing the security posture and the appetite for risk. And then, utilising the best technology on the planet (for us and dozens of thousands of our customers around the world) to protect not one but all the dimensions of the corporation, country or region at large. Yes, the nature of cybersecurity is ever-evolving… and so is the nature of protection and defense and, more specifically, cyber resiliency (that gives the name to our company, CyberRes). The reason behind it is that the verbs used to define resiliency are ANTICIPATE (threats), WITHSTAND (attacks), RECOVER (from breaches) and EVOLVE (to the next robust position). As you can see, all the verbs are forward-looking to a best state, acting and reacting even before something really happens. That’s our answer to the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity risks.”