SE­CUR­ING NET­WORKS The nework se­cu­rity space con­tin­ues to grow in the re­gion

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Se­cur­ing com­pany net­works has be­come an in­creas­ing com­plex task for or­gan­i­sa­tions of all sizes. For so­lu­tion providers play­ing in this sec­tor, these chal­lenges can be turned into op­por­tu­nity if they have the right skills, knowl­edge and so­lu­tions port­fo­lio to serve clients of all sizes.

In the high-stakes game of cy­ber se­cu­rity, the only real con­stant is change. The num­ber of new threats is es­ca­lat­ing, and the at­tack sur­face is grow­ing, too. Or­gan­i­sa­tions to­day de­pend more ex­ten­sively than ever on In­ter­net-con­nected de­vices, ser­vices and data - from ma­chine-to-ma­chine (M2M) com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the In­ter­net of Things (IoT), to bring your own de­vices (BYODs) and bring your own cloud (BYOC) ap­pli­ca­tions.

One thing this tidal wave of new tar­gets has in com­mon is their ex­po­sure to net­work-borne threats. From Wan­naCry to Shamoon 2, cy­ber­crim­i­nals con­tin­u­ally ex­ploit low-hang­ing fruit by find­ing new bugs in widely de­ployed soft­ware and old gaps that resur­face in new tech­nolo­gies.

Ef­fec­tively spot­ting and stop­ping these evolv­ing net­work threats re­quires not just vig­i­lance, but new ap­proaches. It’s un­re­al­is­tic to ex­pect en­ter­prise de­fences to block all at­tacks or elim­i­nate all vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties.

Pun­dits say ris­ing in­stances of en­ter­prise tar­geted cy­ber-at­tacks and threats are ex­pected to drive the Mid­dle East cy­ber se­cu­rity mar­ket.

An­a­lysts IDC pre­dicts the Mid­dle East cy­ber se­cu­rity mar­ket size is ex­pected to grow from$11.38bn in 2017 to $22.14bn by 2022, grow­ing at an es­ti­mated com­pound an­nual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.2%).

How­ever, the high cost of in­no­va­tion and bud­get con­straints of or­gan­i­sa­tions limit the growth of the mar­ket.

As a re­sult of the amount of growth ex­pe­ri­enced by dig­i­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions, IDC stated that 76% of IT pro­fes­sion­als say a lack of vis­i­bil­ity is their big­gest chal­lenge in ad­dress­ing net­work threats.

Ashok Ku­mar, CEO, New Trend Com­puter Net­works LLC, said the un­prece­dented con­nec­tiv­ity of the In­ter­net age has led to enor­mous so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits, but has also in­tro­duced nu­mer­ous new chal­lenges.

Ku­mar said in a fully con­nected world, In­ter­net se­cu­rity threats con­tinue to evolve, keep­ing ahead of the most ad­vanced de­fences. As a re­sult, net­work-based se­cu­rity threats have led to wide­spread iden­tity theft and fi­nan­cial fraud. Spam, viruses, and spy­ware are caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems for con­sumers and busi­nesses,” he said. A se­cu­rity breach may have ir­repara­bly dam­age on a com­pany’s brand or rep­u­ta­tion.

As In­ter­net se­cu­rity tech­nol­ogy con­tin­ues to ad­vance, chang­ing from pas­sive, point prod­uct-based to ac­tive, and end-to-end ap­proaches to recog­ni­tion, con­tain­ment, and quar­an­tine, In­ter­net Ser­vice Providers (ISPs) and tra­di­tional so­lu­tion providers are com­pet­ing on se­cu­rity with con­sumers.

Ku­mar said with the ex­po­nen­tial in­crease in de­vices and ap­pli­ca­tions, the threat sur­face area for an or­gan­i­sa­tion has ex­panded be­yond tra­di­tional means.

He said to re­duce risk and com­plex­ity, se­cu­rity will need to be em­bed­ded within hard­ware and soft­ware so­lu­tions, have flex­i­ble de­ploy­ment op­tions, and work with each other to pro­vide in­te­grated multi-lay­ered pro­tec­tion.

Marc Kas­sis, cy­ber se­cu­rity di­rec­tor, In­gram Mi­cro META re­gion, said given the fact that cy­ber se­cu­rity needs are in­creas­ing, it is not sur­pris­ing to see that there is and will still be short­age in skills and ex­pe­ri­ence at re­gional and global level. Kas­sis said the ma­jor re­quired skills to­day are those of peo­ple who are ex­pe­ri­enced in best prac­tices for strat­egy def­i­ni­tion, poli­cies de­ploy­ment and process im­ple­men­ta­tion. “There is also a lack of cer­ti­fied experts for cy­ber se­cu­rity such as GSEC, CISSP, SSCP, CISM, CEH and oth­ers. Be­ing cer­ti­fied for spe­cific ven­dor tech­nol­ogy is also im­por­tant,” he said. “The In­gram train­ing cen­tres can guide on the most ap­pro­pri­ated ones.”

With the ever evolv­ing IT threat land­scape, pro­vid­ing so­lu­tions and ser­vices that ad­dress the net­work se­cu­rity space is one sure way of earn­ing re­cur­ring rev­enues.

At se­cu­rity ven­dor Fortinet, Zacky Vaz, re­gional chan­nel man­ager, said as the threat

land­scape con­tin­ues to get more com­plex and zero-day at­tacks have be­come the weapon of choice, the at­tacks and threats in the re­gion aren’t lim­ited to one seg­ment, busi­nesses of dif­fer­ent sizes, serv­ing dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cals, have all been tar­geted.

Vaz said the grow­ing threat land­scape and the need for en­hanced, cost-ef­fec­tive pro­tec­tion to com­bat these threats is driv­ing the net­work se­cu­rity mar­ket for­ward. “Busi­nesses are now more fo­cused on in­te­grat­ing se­cu­rity across the board, rather than sim­ply adding se­cu­rity lay­ers to ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture to tackle threats,” he said. “No longer is a sin­gle so­lu­tion of in­ter­est as or­gan­i­sa­tions now want com­plete so­lu­tions that are scal­able and of­fer end-to-end pro­tec­tion with no im­pact on em­ployee pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Amir Kanaan, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for META re­gion at Kasper­sky Lab, said the mar­ket for IT se­cu­rity so­lu­tions is quite de­vel­oped, but as the threats are chang­ing, so do the so­lu­tions.

Kanaan added that net­works re­main the main chan­nel for in­tru­sion to se­cu­rity perime­ter and there are no signs that this sit­u­a­tion will change in the near fu­ture. He said that’s why traf­fic con­trol is a “must have”, but com­pre­hen­sive data at­tacks could only be gath­ered with a com­bi­na­tion of net­works’ (traf­fic anom­alies) and hosts’ (pro­cesses, mem­ory, etc) data.

He said the grow­ing aware­ness about cy­ber threats and the fact that more com­pa­nies are tak­ing strate­gic ap­proaches to cy­ber se­cu­rity is what is driv­ing the growth in the net­work se­cu­rity sec­tor. “Be­sides or­gan­i­sa­tions are turn­ing more to­wards the ser­vices, not just the so­lu­tions,” he said.

In­gram Mi­cro’s Kas­sis ex­plained that be­cause the at­tacks are con­ducted re­motely and are not on premises, it makes sense to have the best as­sess­ments and test­ing done from the cloud.

Kas­sis said In­gram Mi­cro is help­ing re­sellers to iden­tify the right seg­ment for net­work se­cu­rity prod­ucts, tech­nol­ogy and ser­vices. “We are help­ing them to do so by giv­ing them ac­cess to the cy­ber se­cu­rity ven­dors in our sta­ble that in­clude com­pa­nies such as Cisco, IBM, McAfee, Kasper­sky, Sy­man­tec and oth­ers,” he said. “We have a ded­i­cated re­gional busi­ness unit fo­cus­ing on cy­ber se­cu­rity and the new mar­kets as well as of­fer value added ser­vices.”

He ex­plained that few ad­di­tional dis­tri­bu­tion con­tracts were signed in the last few months with cy­ber se­cu­rity ven­dors like GFI and Alien Vault. “More ven­dor con­tracts will be signed and an­nounced very soon as the com­pany is also hav­ing a ded­i­cated pro­fes­sional ser­vices divi­sion that pro­vides cer­ti­fied se­cu­rity engi­neers to its chan­nel part­ners across the re­gion,” he said.

As cy­ber threats tar­get­ing key in­dus­tries such as bank­ing, re­tail and, oil and gas, which forms the back­bone of the re­gional econ­omy, have dra­mat­i­cally in­creased what net­work se­cu­rity ser­vices are be­ing of­fered via the cloud and how are en­ter­prises and SMBs re­spond­ing to these ser­vices?

Kasper­sky’s Kanaan ex­plained that as a start­ing point, a busi­ness needs to make the se­cu­rity as­sess­ment of the IT net­work, choose a re­li­able and com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity so­lu­tion that will make it eas­ier to pro­tect IT in­fra­struc­ture. “The right se­cu­rity so­lu­tion of­fers tools that in­clude de­vice se­cu­rity for dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing sys­tems, traf­fic fil­tra­tion, and rel­e­vant soft­ware up­dates,” he said. “Sec­ondly, once the so­lu­tion is in place, work with the spe­cial­ists. The more com­plex the in­fra­struc­ture, the higher the de­gree of ex­per­tise re­quired to man­age the se­cu­rity.”

Kanaan pointed out that ap­pro­pri­ately-skilled spe­cial­ists will be able to ser­vice your in­for­ma­tion sys­tem proac­tively or a third-party part­ner with deep IT ex­per­tise who will be able to help in an emer­gency. “It is also im­por­tant for a busi­ness to en­sure that they have a strong se­cu­rity pol­icy in place, one that ed­u­cates staff on the re­al­i­ties of IT se­cu­rity, and of course pro­vides the right out­line to em­ploy­ees on what they can and can’t do, when it comes to IT se­cu­rity and oper­at­ing mo­bile de­vices,” he said.

AMIR KANAAN, MD, META, KASPER­SKY LAB

MARC KAS­SIS, CY­BER SE­CU­RITY DI­REC­TOR, IN­GRAM MI­CRO META

ASHOK KU­MAR, CEO, NEW TREND COM­PUTER NET­WORKS LLC

ZACKY VAZ, RE­GIONAL CHAN­NEL MAN­AGER, FORTINET

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