Disruptive Cybersecurity Solutions

Shereen Shabnam

The current threat landscape is constantly evolving and there is more need for organisations to have security solutions in place that best suits their business needs. We met with Ram Narayanan, Country Manager, Check Point Software Technologies, Middle East at the recent GISEC to talk to him about cybersecurity solutions and what the industry is looking for in terms of the broad range of security solutions in today’s dynamic business environment

What has been Check Point Software’s most inquired product or solution as yet during GISEC this year?

With the current work from the home scenario, customers are looking to secure their users wherever they are as remote users are connecting to corporate applications from anywhere which means that the organization’s attack surface is increasingly expanding.

Our product line of Check Point Harmony is the industry’s first unified security solution for users devices and access that has been very widely sought after. And secondly, with all the digital transformation initiatives, customers have been looking for cloud security.

Moving to a public cloud brings on a new set of challenges and responsibilities that puts ownership and burden on the user to secure their data, applications and workloads. So customers are looking to secure their clouds with Check Point CloudGuard which offers unified cloud native security across applications, workloads, and networks.

What are the current trends that you see most in the market for your industry?

First of all, there is an increase in demand as customers become more aware of the cyber threats that they are dealing with and the scale of attacks that they’re dealing with, which requires effective technologies to prevent them. So people are becoming more aware.

Secondly, with the escalation of digital transformation, customers are looking to secure their cloud transformation journey. Even though they know that there are basic securities that the hyperscalers can provide, they want to secure their cloud assets and protect their users without affecting their productivity.

And the third aspect is Gen V of cyber-attacks such as ransomware. Looking at the statistics, the number of cyberattacks during the pandemic increased significantly. While 2020 and 2021 have been exceptional years for cyberattacks, there is little indication that things will return to “normal” in 2022, and companies can expect to face sophisticated attacks that target every part of their infrastructure, especially where they are weakest.

Achieving complete protection across the expanded attack surface requires security solutions that deliver:  complete security against Gen V, zero-day attacks; solutions that are easy to deploy and manage; and eliminate patchwork security architectures and high total cost of ownership (TCO) with integration and interoperability.

This is where Check Point Software is creating awareness. We rebranded ourselves earlier this year as part of our strategy, to bring innovation into this whole landscape along with our new tagline, ‘You Deserve the BEST Security’, which highlights the reality that only the best security can fully protect in today’s complex threat epidemic.

In GCC, Saudi Arabia is growing in terms of market size with bigger industries all moving there. What has your experience been??

Saudi Arabia is a huge market and is making new investments to become an innovation-based economy with the kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, we see initiatives from government and private organizations toward imaginative digital technologies which encourage major growth opportunities.

Check Point Software offers the solutions needed by organizations of all sizes to comply with the vision and regulatory framework within the kingdom and ensure the implementation of cyber security controls following international best practices. Check Point Software is engaged with key strategic accounts and senior decision-makers in the kingdom to showcase our solution portfolio and how we can partner with them to achieve their innovative goals and also share with them the Threat Intelligence report specifically for Saudi Arabia, to provide a perspective of targeted cyber-attacks as compared to the global stats and how they can secure their digital assets.

We are working towards reaching more customers in Saudi Arabia and increasing our focus to expand in the kingdom. Through our engagement with the customers, it was apparent that more customers are becoming aware of the technology options that are available and are seeking particular solutions to meet their requirements.

Nowadays, the management and the CEOs are becoming more aware of cybersecurity as they are directly affected by it. Apart from reaching out to CIOs and IT executives, are you doing any kind of outreach to decision-makers who are not technology savvy?

Certainly, we are doing two things in this regard. For our existing customers, even though the CIOs are tech-savvy, we are providing them with the threat intelligence and training model so that they can translate what is on IT and present it to their board members and CEOs so that they understand the threat that they’re dealing with and what can eventually happen if they don’t pay attention to it and the need to secure their investments.

Using the existing C-level relationship that we have, we are providing them with the business insights that they can present to the board and CEOs. Secondly, for specific verticals such as the banking industry, healthcare and automotive industry, there are different types of threats and each sector is dealing with a distinct threat landscape.

And with all of these things becoming connected, the threat is real. For that reason, we are providing the business executives with the intelligence and the knowledge that we gain from an overall industry-wide aspect, in simpler terms rather than going too much into the technical side of things to make it easier for them to understand. So the nuts and bolts are taken care of by the IT team.

But overall, if you talk to an executive today about ransomware or a misconfiguration on the cloud, things like that are something they can relate to and is not something very IT related. We have a very high-level view, of how they see it, but then we work on the details with the IT of the company.

The automotive industry is investing a lot in connectivity. Is Check Point Software taking the initiative to provide its expertise and security framework to the automotive companies as well?

Yes, we are doing it on a global scale and are already engaged with companies to collaborate and improve security by protecting vehicles’ internal networks, and their external connections. We do have what we call in technical terms ‘Nano Agents’ which is an on-device runtime protection solution for Internet of Things (IoT) and Operational Technology (OT) devices.

It monitors these devices and identifies potential cyber-attacks in any deployment situation. Traditionally, an IT environment will consist of many devices, appliances and similar other technical elements. But when it comes to driving and cars connected through 5G and IoT kinds of scenarios, you can’t have such numerous elements to sit, rather it should be like a small piece of code or software that is installed, but still fully secures the automobile from cyber threats as it eventually is connected to the internet and therefore exposed to the threats that we deal with on a traditional IT landscape.

We already have a few use cases where we have started and our R&D team is always on the lookout to foresee such threats and work towards creating and designing solutions with which we can approach automotive manufacturers to tell them about the need and practicality and why it is important because today with IoT, its life or death kind of scenario.

While in-vehicle connectivity continues to advance, and new technologies become available, we must address the advanced cybersecurity risks they pose. Security for the connected car is no longer optional, it’s a lifesaver – for drivers, other road users and pedestrians too.

Alshaya Group transforms gifting experience with the launch of eGift cards

Alshaya’s new eGift cards make gift-giving simpler and faster than ever

As customers increasingly go digital when they shop, Alshaya Group, one of the world’s leading international franchise operators, has launched a seamless and convenient online gifting experience, perfect for treating family and friends whatever the occasion.

eGift cards work exactly like a physical gift card but are purchased online through participating eCommerce sites.  Customers can shop for branded eGift cards to the value of their choice, and valid in the country of issue, with a choice of card designs including birthdays and anniversaries.

The cards can be gifted by SMS or emailed to the lucky recipient who can spend the value in full or spread its use across multiple purchases. They can also use the eGift card as a digital wallet that they can top up anytime they want.  Available in a choice of denominations and valid for a year from the date of issue, eGift cards can be used online and in-store by using the card’s QR code at the till point for redemption.  Cards can be linked to the customer’s online account for quick and easy shopping.

Branded eGift cards for Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret are available today in Kuwait, KSA and the UAE, with further brands going live shortly including American Eagle, Debenhams, COS, Boots, Foot Locker, H&M, Mothercare, Muji, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm.  Customers can access their preferred brand site directly or visit the Customer Zone on Alshaya.com to discover availability.

eGift cards are the latest product emerging from Alshaya’s Digital Hub which is driving ongoing digital transformation in line with changing consumer shopping habits.  Complementing its portfolio of thousands of stores, cafes, restaurants and leisure destinations, Alshaya now has the largest digital footprint in MENA, with over 100 websites and apps and a growing range of new digital solutions including new payment tools and new loyalty programmes.  This latest launch of eGift cards reflects Alshaya’s commitment to providing personal, relevant and effortless shopping experiences.

Commenting Paul Morris, Chief Digital Officer at Alshaya Group said, “Our focus is on meeting the wants and needs of our customers to ensure effortless experiences and serve them in the way that is most natural to them. We want to delight our customers every day, whether they choose to shop in-store, on a mobile device or through a browser.

By extending our already popular Gift Cards into a digital format we give customers the option to instantly gift their loved ones and celebrate special occasions.”

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