BMA International Taps HID Optical Fingerprint Readers to End Point-of-Sale Fraud

Established in 1997, Dubai-based BMA International operates fashion retail in the Middle East and Asia across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar with more than 250 stores offering two major brands — Redtag and twenty4. BMA’s steady growth is a testament to its focus on building trust with its shoppers, employees, suppliers and stakeholders to create a company that is people-centric, ambitious and results-oriented.


Fraud is a common problem in the retail sector, particularly within large chains with hundreds of locations and tens of thousands of employees. BMA’s retail stores were no exception. Following an internal audit, security of point-of-sale (POS) terminals in retail outlets were identified as a serious concern, particularly the misuse of floor supervisors’ credentials to access terminals and modify or cancel transactions.

The problem persisted even after BMA switched from passwords to a smart card-based authentication system. The most common issues involved supervisors leaving smart cards with cashiers to use in their absence and failing to return the cards when a separation from an employer occurs — a frequent occurrence as many of BMA’s retail employees are expatriates who often return to their home countries.

Fraudulent use of the smart card was also a common problem. Once a sale was completed and the customer had left the store with their purchased items, the smart card could be used to improperly access the system so the cashier could void the transaction and pocket the “refund,” resulting in both monetary and inventory losses.

“BMA’s internal auditors were concerned with the lack of control over the
cards and the potential for fraudulent transactions due to their mishandling. They observed clear gaps in security and authentication practices that led directly to fraud and revenue leakage, resulting in the Internal Audit Committee recommending to the BMA Board of Directors that action be taken to plug the security holes by tightening the authentication process,” said Nainan M. Kurian, CEO of Technowave International LLC.

The decision was made to transition authentication to a biometric-based system that would provide the required security at a competitive price which aligned with the aesthetics of the retail stores. The system also needed to be compatible with the Oracle Retail Xstore Office Cloud Service, which BMA International was adopting across its brands.


BMA International and its technology partner, Technowave International LLC, determined that the HID DigitalPersona® 4500 Fingerprint Reader met all their requirements — a decision supported by recommendations from other retailers that had deployed the product, and by the fact that competitive solutions were incompatible with Oracle Retail Xstore, a crucial requirement.

A USB peripheral with a compact design to conserve space, this fingerprint reader from HID is ideal for use by multiple people in a shared environment. Its professional, modern design looks elegant in retail settings while offering superior authentication control via biometric functionality that uses optical scanning technology to achieve excellent image quality and reliability.

With this easy-to-use technology, floor supervisors simply place their finger
on the reader window, which rapidly captures and encrypts the fingerprint image, then provides a red flash as a visual cue indicating that it was properly captured. That image is sent to the DigitalPersona FingerJetTM biometric engine for verification, and once the user has been authenticated, access to the POS terminal is granted.

“Deploying the HID DigitalPersona 4500 Fingerprint Reader was simple and caused no disruption to retail operations. It paved the way for significant reduction in the malpractice that had been occurring with the smart card system,” said Kurian.


Since deploying more than 1,100 HID fingerprint readers in retail outlets across KSA, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar, BMA has eliminated nearly all POS fraud and abuse. The system has also driven tangible improvements in the attendance and punctuality of floor supervisors, who must now be physically present in the store for authentication to take place.

The HID authentication system is also capable of multiple types of authentications — providing flexibility that is appreciated by users who work at multiple locations.

“Because the HID DigitalPersona 4500 Fingerprint Reader requires proof of presence for authentication, there is greater accountability among supervisors which resulted in immediate cessation of POS fraud and stopped both revenue and inventory leakage. The exceptional support provided by HID Global has also allowed BMA to take full advantage of the system’s functionality and flexibility,” said Kurian.

Ziina brings the future of the cashless economy closer

The metaverse isn’t some distant future. It’s here. It’s been here since we transitioned from wads of cash in wallets to glossy cards in sleek cardholders, to paying online and finally digital currencies. The world of payments is already virtual. So why not make it fun?

With technology woven into the fabric of our day-to-day life, Ziina is taking the awkwardness out of digital payments by making them simple, fast, and interactive. A progressive digital wallet that makessending cash as easy as sending a text message, The Dubai-based, YC-backed start-up is on a mission to revolutionize online money transfers for consumers in the Middle East and is designed with today’s digital economy and consumers in mind.

Launched in February 2022, Ziina allows consumers to easily send and receive payments in just a few taps. Not content with eliminating the tedious process of entering IBANs and swift codes, Ziina took it one step further and abstained from collecting user’s emails. As anyone with a spam folder knows, we could all receive less promo emails.  Users also have the option to punctuate their payments with GIFs, photos, texts and emojis. Requesting money from someone using a winking Zach Galafinakis GIF feels a lot more like a text than a payment request.

With the formation of its innovative Cashless Dubai Working Group, Ziina is at the forefront of shifting transactions, and the numbers support this. Euromonitor International reports that in 2019, 60% of all consumer payment transactions in the UAE were non-cash payments, a rate that is set to reach 73% by 2025. This is where Ziina’s two-click payment system is leading the way.

On its quest to help enable a cashless economy and make it a reality in the UAE, Ziina is focused on developing state-of-the-art tools that are fun to use, empowering individuals to gain more control of their financial future. And they’re doing it in less taps than any other platform. 

But it’s not just money transfers among friends and family that Ziina serves. Business owners can expect to replace PDF invoices with QR codes and payment links — keeping both vendors and consumers at ease.

For a pain-free financial experience in the UAE, download Ziina. No IBANs, Swift Codes, or e-mails needed. Available on the App Store and Google Play.

MENA Businesses Deliver A ‘Good’ Total Experience

Total Experience is seen as the interconnection between Customer, Employee, User and Multiexperience.

A Global study conducted by IDG Communications found that over half of MENA enterprises believe they offer a ‘good’ Total Experience.  However, many businesses struggle to deliver on the individual facets that make up Total Experience: Customer, Employee, User and Multiexperience.

Avaya (NYSE:AVYA), a global leader in solutions to enhance and simplify communications and collaboration, announced results of an online market research survey conducted by IDG Communications, indicating that just over half of businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) believe they offer a “good” Total Experience.

Total Experience is the interconnection between Customer, Employee, User, and Multiexperience. While companies often develop the right strategies, the best customer outcomes occur where tools and strategy intersect and focus on this interconnection to deliver a superior Total Experience. Total Experience has been described by Gartner as one of the top strategic technology trends for 2022.

The global research polled business and technology leaders from a range of industries across the globe, including 80 from the MENA region, to explore the journey of enterprises as they evolve customer and employee experience from individual channels or applications towards a more interconnected experience.​ Respondents worked at firms with a minimum of 500 employees, and were manager-level and above.   

It found that, despite rating themselves ‘good’ when offering a Total Experience, many MENA firms are struggling to deliver on the individual facets that enable them to become truly customer-centric. Exactly half believe that they deliver a good Employee Experience, and just 33% say they offer a good Multiexperience. Just over half of MENA companies (54%) agree that they deliver a good User Experience, but only 43% say they offer a good Customer Experience.

“Regional businesses rightly place a high premium on customer experience, so it comes as no surprise that the majority are expanding their strategies to uplift the experiences that they deliver to their customers. To be truly customer-centric, organizations need a cohesive CX strategy that gives employees the tools to wow every customer on any device. The good news is that MENA firms realize this, and are already working towards it – 74% say they have a cohesive customer interaction strategy,” said Nidal Abou-Ltaif, President, Avaya International.

The vast majority of MENA firms (93%) say that customer experience is an intrinsic part of their brand value. However, those who scored higher in Total Experience empower employees with newer tools and platforms only used by some MENA firms – messenger platforms (44%), video chat (33%), chatbots (43%), and AI-based virtual assistants (31%). The organizations that support these newer tools have found that they simplify support, transform customer experiences, and benefit from more complete analytic tools.

Avaya OneCloud™ CCaaS makes it easy to connect everything—voice, video, chat, messaging, and more—to deliver effortless experiences for customers and employees at every touchpoint, enabling businesses to provide a Total Experience.

“A monolithic, one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t meet the wide range of needs that businesses have as they look to compete in the experience economy,” said Abou-Ltaif. “When companies combine customer, employee, user and multi experience thinking, they elevate everything these approaches can achieve on their own. This enables them to deliver exactly what’s needed at every interaction. Avaya OneCloud is a Total Experience platform that lets you compose the experiences that each moment demands—for both customers and employees.”

#MENABusiness #TBI #TrendingBusinessInsights #Technology #Avaya #OneCloud #magazineUAE #magazine #mediaUAE #UAEbusiness #myDubai 

NFT: Where is the internet leading us?

Musfir Khawaja, Co-Founder

It would not be factually incorrect to assume that a considerable population of the world lives and dies while on the internet. The internet as we know has come a long way. From sending emails and messages to buying automobiles, one would think that there is not much left the internet cannot do. But industry experts say the show is just getting started because with NFTs, the internet has morphed into one big decentralized investment bank.

In simple terms, NFTs are the first step in the securitization of digital data. Most people think that NFTs are digital art, memes, music or audio but in reality, any data whose ownership is recorded on to the block chain, becomes an NFT.

You (anyone, anywhere) can sell anything digital (including images, video, audio, any other forms of digital data) by simply documenting its usage terms on to a smart contract on a block chain, creating a token out of it and then selling it to the highest bidder.

With an increase in the adoption of block chain technologies and the growing popularity of decentralized finance, NFTs have risen as a new asset class. To be fair, they are very speculative in nature. The digital data (lets for argument value assume is your photo of Dubai’s skyline) that you are selling as an NFT may or may not sell at all. There has to be a good reason for anyone to buy an NFT (Digital Asset). Lets look at some scenarios below

  1. Trader mindset: Investor buys into a digital asset because they feel its undervalued presently and will quickly appreciate in value.
  2. Collector mindset: The collector appreciates the aesthetic or collectible value of the digital asset and buys it to keep it in their collection.

For creators, NFTs open a new revenue stream. Where people earlier were collecting only physical art, digital art is fast catching up as a store of value and culture. Digital screens are everywhere, digital art is easy to load and even easier to store.

Recently, an NFT of “The Pontifex Carpet” was sold for over US$ 85,000 in Dubai, UAE.  The Pontifex carpet was gifted by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Pope Francis during a visit to the Vatican City. In September 2016, the two met to discuss the strengthening of the diplomatic relations between UAE and the Vatican as well as the promotion of inter-religious harmony.

In this scenario, the collector considers this digital asset as a store of value, culture and history at the same time. The NFT represents a watershed moment in history, a unique gift and involves two very influential people alive in this day and age.

This asset could be sold for much higher in the secondary market if a new collector decides it is imperative for them to collect this NFT for whatever reason.

Now imagine a less established creator trying to sell a photo of Dubai’s skyline as an NFT. Could it sell as an NFT? Yes, but who will buy this as a digital asset that by definition should appreciate in value over time.

The answer is a bit complicated as the buyers will be either people who believe that buying this photo is a sound financial investment and it will be highly sought after in a few months could jump at this opportunity or those who want to buy the photo as digital art and are happy to receive an in-tangible return on their investment by only looking at it or perhaps using it to fill an empty space in their otherwise empty wall.

Most buyers in the NFT space today, however, are traders who are speculating on a sharp increase in value of a certain digital asset. This could very easily turn out to be dud investments in three to six months’ time but in order to hedge their risk, these buyers hype up the value of that digital asset and then invite others to buy it from them at a higher price because they want the new buyer to believe the asset is still undervalued and soon it will appreciate even further.

If you are considering getting into the NFT space, do your own extensive research before buying a digital asset. You must have a reason to buy it.

KPMG launches second edition of global tech innovator competition

News Highlights

1). 2022 KPMG Private Enterprise Global Tech Innovator competition is being hosted in over 21 countries round the world

2). 2022 edition of Global Tech Innovator competition will find the most influential tech innovator

3). 2021 competition attracted close to 700 competitors from around the world where Natufia – a smart kitchen garden concept stood the winner of local competition

4). The final Global Tech Innovator event will be held during the Web Summit 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal

Following the acknowledged success of the 2021 edition, KPMG in Saudi Arabia has returned with another competition, to find the most influential and inspiring tech innovator of the year. The firm is looking to find technological disruptors and influencers who are helping to reshape the world and leave a positive impact, and has invited entrepreneurs and start-ups to apply.

The 2021 KPMG Global Tech Innovator competition attracted close to 700 competitors from around the world, with for the first-time applicants from Saudi Arabia. The winner of the local competition, Natufia – a smart kitchen garden concept – went on to Lisbon to compete on the global stage. The start-up, which was up against four other tech start-ups in a closely contested competition from BRAQ Aerospace, Juleb Digital Pharma Company, Mawidy and Tarjama who were shortlisted in this inaugural edition.

To be recognized as a leading tech innovator, companies from start-up to accelerated growth stages are invited to pitch their innovations and present their strategic ambitions to panels of local and global industry experts. This is their opportunity to be recognized as one of Saudi Arabia’s most innovative and successful technology entrepreneurs.

Shortlisted companies will be given exclusive networking opportunities among industry experts and tech leaders. The winner in Saudi Arabia will progress to the Global Tech Innovator final event during the Web Summit 2022 in Lisbon Portugal, where they will pitch their growth plans to an international judging panel and compete with the participants from other countries for the global recognition.

In 2021, Brazil’s rapidly growing AgriTech startup Krilltech NanoAgtech was crowned the KPMG Private Enterprise Global Tech Innovator winner, following an intense competition with 16 other finalists including Natufia.

Commenting on the competition, Dr. Samer Abdallah, Head of ICT Sector, KPMG in Saudi Arabia, said, “We are excited to see that start-ups are booming in Saudi Arabia. More and more entrepreneurs are succeeding each day, and their success inspires others. By bringing innovative technologies to light, we are supporting the growth of companies that are changing the world for better. No matter what type of technology a business is utilizing, whether they are tech-enabled, tech-led, or tech-driven, we encourage them to apply to this competition and take advantage of this incredible opportunity.”

“Making connections and gaining recognition among some of Saudi Arabia’s most respected advisors, industry leaders, and other major world markets through the global exposure in the competition, is an opportunity that every tech entrepreneur would be excited about.”

The 2022 KPMG Private Enterprise Global Tech Innovator competition is being hosted in over 21 countries round the world.  

Rotana Hotels & Resorts Standardizes on Aruba Technology to Deliver High-Speed Connectivity and as a Platform for Innovation and Digital Services

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), today announced that Rotana Hotels & Resorts has deployed the vendor’s Wi-Fi technology to deliver high-speed and uninterrupted connectivity for guests, staff, and business applications, while creating a platform on which to continuously deliver innovative, differentiated guest experiences. The implementation has enabled increase in allocated bandwidth per session from 8mbps to 25mbps, resulted in an average of 25% increase in guest satisfaction with wireless services, and saves an average of 35% of man-days required for solution management and administration. Fully wireless access to Guest Services Management greatly enhances staff mobility and flexibility, thereby improving their efficiency, and productivity. The technology provides reliable, efficient, and secure connectivity for point of sales (POS) terminals critical to conveniently billing guests and has enabled the introduction of Chromecast Solutions that offer guests high-quality media streaming.

In hospitality today, Wi-Fi is considered to be an essential amenity and any disruption or degradation of the service can significantly impact guest satisfaction. As a leading brand, Rotana Hotels & Resorts recognizes the role that reliable, high-speed connectivity plays, not only in fulfilling this expectation, but also in serving as the platform on which it can continuously deliver innovative, differentiated guest experiences.

To meet this objective, Mr. Wael Othman, Corporate Director of IT & Business Solutions at Rotana Hotel Management Corporation and the Corporate IT team have standardized on Aruba wireless and switching portfolio at 30+ hotel properties in UAE. This has enabled the brand to provide its guests and employees with uninterrupted access to mission-critical applications with impressively high levels of performance and reliability, irrespective of their location or movement around the property.

The network performance and reliability made possible by Aruba’s solutions have enabled Rotana IT Team to introduce a number of innovative guest experiences, most notably, Rotana Rewards – a single app through which guests can avail of a myriad of services. “We now offer an intuitive app that puts key experiences at our guests’ fingertips. Everything, from booking to check in, making restaurant reservations and even managing their loyalty program benefits, is delivered via Rotana Rewards,” Mr. Othman said. In the post-pandemic era, this paves the way for all-important contactless experiences.

Rotana Hotels & Resorts leverages its Aruba network to deliver a host of IP-based services. “Aruba has given us the confidence to route some essentials guest and employee services through the wireless network. This ensures that we can run critical services such as Point of Sales terminals, HD-video streaming devices, and our Guest Services Management system, with complete confidence in their performance and availability,” Mr. Othman commented.

Additionally, Aruba’s integration with Zigbee has made it possible to consolidate IoT gateways with the network. Doing so has allowed the Rotana Hotels & Resorts to leverage smart sensors and devices such as digital locks that make guest experiences more convenient and effortless.

“Digital technologies and services will increasingly define operations and guest experiences in our sector, and IT will become ever more embedded across all functions. Through our partnership with industry-leaders like Aruba, Rotana Hotels & Resorts will ensure it stays at the forefront of this digital revolution in hospitality,” concluded Mr. Othman.

Mr. Jacob Chacko, Regional Director – Middle East, Saudi & South Africa at HPE Aruba commented, “In the fast-paced hospitality sector, only true innovators can consistently lead and stand out. Rotana Hotels & Resorts is always keen to leverage the latest digital transformation technologies. With Aruba’s technology in place, the Group now has a rock-solid platform on which they can continue to innovate and keep delivering on their commitment to guests, employees and other stakeholders.”

Newage Learning teams up with AUE to offer training in emerging techs

Newage Learning FZCO, a leading training provider of instructor-led software programming and immersive cybersecurity bootcamps, has announced its partnership with American University in the Emirates (AUE).

The leadership of the UAE announced the country’s national strategy for artificial intelligence (AI), with a clear vision of becoming world leaders in AI by the year 2031. Key objectives within this strategy include the attraction and training of talent and developing a fertile ecosystem for AI. The programmes offered by Newage Learning, through the Viva Coder initiatives ensure that the talent pool for coding is being cultivated within the universities present in the UAE.

In addition, the country has announced the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) Strategy to strengthen the country’s position as a global hub and to increase its contribution to the national economy by means of advancing innovation and future technologies.

The partnership between American University in the Emirates and Newage Learning seeks to strengthen the two parties’ academic cooperation to promote mutual objectives in holding joint bootcamps, as well as creating a community of coders throughout the university. As a partner institution of AUE, Newage Learning will establish skills based training programs targeting various colleges in AUE.

The AUE President, Professor Muthanna Ghani Abdul Razzaq, said: “It is vital that the higher education sector respond to the global technological needs with strategic approaches to maximize the potential of the students by building their skills required across industries. The shared value of AUE and Newage Learning including lifelong learning and students’ success, makes this collaboration an important step towards bridging the digital gap within today’s workforce”.

The Newage Learning founder and Director, Shailesh Dash, affirmed: “We find AUE are the best partner in creating a technology-focused community in boosting the student’s digital skills. Our partnership will create most up-to-date technology courses tailored to the specific learning styles & needs of the participants.”

The immersive programs will also offer opportunities for students to secure roles in digital and tech companies, to freelance or to follow their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Cloudflare and CrowdStrike Expand Partnership to Bring Integrated Zero Trust Security to Devices, Applications and Networks

Two leading cybersecurity companies join forces to make it easier than ever for businesses to deploy seamless Zero Trust protection from the network to the device

Cloudflare, Inc. (NYSE: NET), the security, performance, and reliability company helping to build a better Internet, announced it is expanding its partnership with CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWD), a leader in cloud-delivered protection of endpoints, cloud workloads, identity and data. Cloudflare is integrating its Zero Trust platform with CrowdStrike Falcon Zero Trust Assessment (ZTA) to give joint customers simple and powerful controls to ensure employees have secure access to applications wherever they are working. Through this integration, Cloudflare and CrowdStrike are bringing together world-class technologies to provide joint customers with Zero Trust capabilities that are unmatched in the industry.

“Every business needs to protect users and teams no matter where they are or how they’re working,” said John Graham-Cumming, chief technology officer at Cloudflare. “Cloudflare’s Zero Trust platform delivers comprehensive protection to organizations of all sizes. Now we’re making it even easier for joint customers of Cloudflare and CrowdStrike to benefit from new combined security features for the connect-from-anywhere economy.”

According to an October 2020 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting[1], 76% of businesses are struggling to shift to a Zero Trust security posture due to complex user access needs. As employees continue to work from anywhere and businesses continue to navigate the transition to a hybrid approach to work, security teams are moving away from legacy security architecture towards a modern Zero Trust approach. Together, Cloudflare and CrowdStrike are working to simplify the adoption of Zero Trust solutions for IT teams. With this expanded partnership, joint customers can now:

  • Enable secure conditional access to applications from any endpoint, regardless of the user or location: Cloudflare Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Cloudflare Secure Web Gateway (SWG) are now integrated directly with CrowdStrike’s real-time device posture assessments – Falcon ZTA – to strengthen the Zero Trust posture of joint customers.
  • Identify and mitigate threats with unparalleled threat intelligence: Cloudflare is a part of CrowdStrike’s CrowdXDR Alliance, combining the insights from Cloudflare’s global network, spanning more than 250 cities and blocking an average of 86 billion cyber threats each day, with CrowdStrike’s endpoint data to help mutual customers identify and stop cyberattacks.
  • Enhance visibility with logs: Cloudflare and CrowdStrike will advance their logs integration, allowing customers to correlate their Cloudflare logs with the CrowdStrike’s EDR telemetry for timely detection and mitigation of sophisticated threats.
  • Get rapid support in under attack situations: CrowdStrike is an incident response partner of Cloudflare. During an incident or attack, CrowdStrike works with Cloudflare to help get customers’ web properties and networks back online.

“The CrowdStrike Falcon platform secures customers through verified access controls, helping customers reduce their attack surface and simplify, empower and accelerate their Zero Trust journey,” said Michael Sentonas, chief technology officer at CrowdStrike. “By expanding our partnership with Cloudflare, we are making it easier for joint customers to strengthen their Zero Trust security posture across all endpoints and their entire corporate network.”

[1] Source: Forrester Opportunity Snapshot: Zero Trust, A Forrester Consulting Commissioned Study for Cloudflare, October 2020

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.

Keyston IT Distribution acquires Al Masa, announces global expansion

Keyston’s operations will go from the UAE to the wider GCC and Iraq

Mahdi Amjad: We contribute to advancing digital transformation and technological prosperity

Keyston IT Distribution has announced the full acquisition of Al Masa, a renowned regional and global provider of the latest technology products, solutions, and services. The acquisition includes Al Masa’s offices, its teams and its existing deals with local and international manufacturers. The deal confirms Dubai’s position as a magnet for innovation-based investments and a ground for those seeking to launch their ambitions, projects, and businesses across the global horizons.

As a result of the new deal, Keyston’s mandate seeks to contribute to the growth of technology companies, drive digital transformation, and technological prosperity, as well as help customers implement their strategies as per the needs of the digital economy.

The acquisition was announced at a ceremony attended by representatives of the top technology companies in the hardware and technology industry. Keyston’s operations will commence from Dubai and expand across the GCC region and Iraq with future plans to expand to most international markets.

Mahdi Amjad, Founder and CEO of Keyston, said, “We are launching from Dubai a new era in the distribution of various information technology products, and we are fully confident in the ability of our team to strive and innovate modern solutions to achieve an unprecedented qualitative leap in this growing sector, which we have pioneered and excelled at.”

“The IT sector has a lot of potential as a result of the growth and increasing demand from customers. The IT spending was reported to have reached $77.5 billion across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, before the pandemic, with a growth rate of 2.8 per cent. The current challenges that the sector faces are due to the increased competition between international manufacturers, the pressures imposed by the supply chains, and the high prices of raw materials, which Keyston is capable of dealing with to maximise the available opportunities. Product quality is not alone, whereas a professional distributor is required to enhance its presence and opens up prospects for local and international expansions,” added Mahdi.

Amjad also stressed that Keyston, with its expertise in international and local supply chains, specialised retail markets, and partnerships in the technology sector, is positioning itself strongly as a leading distribution company in the region to become the trusted partner and authorised distributor for traders who want to obtain the best information technology devices and network solutions for individual dealers, companies, departments, and institutions in the private and government sectors.

Keyston’s aim is to provide unparalleled distribution services for the best and latest information technology solutions to its customers, including retailers and integrated system providers. Moreover, the company will offer its expertise and technical services to ensure the prosperity of markets and meet needs through customised solutions and services.

It is worth noting that a number of reputable global names in the IT sector use Keyston as their authorised distributor, which include Avaya, Asus, Canon, and LG, as well as other strategic partners whose relationship with the company has strengthened over the past 25 years.

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