‘Vulnerability Management is a basic requirement for all systems’

Maher Jadallah, Regional Director, Middle East, Tenable, talks to Anita Joseph about cyber security, vulnerability management, the Predictive Prioritization Approach and the way forward. 

How has the cyber security landscape changed over time?
Cyber security is huge in today’s ‘connected’ landscape, especially since cyber threats have no boundaries and pose a threat to organizations, both big and small. With cyber-attacks becoming more and more sophisticated, affecting global computer systems across countries in just a matter of days, the need to understand cyber security becomes more urgent than before. All applications and devices connected to the network are increasingly prone to threats, especially since hackers are always tuned in to vulnerabilities. In fact, hacking, today, is an industry that is well-funded and well-paid, and cyber security has become critical for safeguarding information, reputation, records and even promoting business growth.

In this context, vulnerability management becomes a basic requirement for all systems, so that they can identify and patch up threats and upgrade their software to prevent attacks.

How has Tenable made its presence felt in the country, as it adapts to the rapid global technological growth?
Tenable, the Cyber Exposure company, has always been at the forefront of cyber security solutions. We already have an established global footprint, with seasoned industry veterans working towards accelerating our presence in key markets. We’re committed to providing the best customer experience and have developed the Predictive Prioritization Approach, which allows us to help organizations focus on the most important vulnerabilities and address them first. We are also helping customers close the IT/OT cyber exposure gap, particularly when it comes to industrial operations spanning IT and OT.

That brings us to the key question-what exactly is cyber exposure gap and how does this affect computer systems?
All organizations have ‘legacy devices’ such as routers and switches as well as ‘modern assets’ comprising the Internet of Things (IOT), cloud services etc. Typical security systems address legacy devices and not the modern assets. This gap is called cyber exposure and it leads to vulnerabilities constantly expanding, evolving and contracting. Cyber Exposure solutions help translate raw vulnerability data into business insights to help security teams prioritize and focus remediation based on business risk. It provides a way to objectively measure cyber risk to help guide strategic decision making. Tenable has comprehensive solutions to address this gap.

Would you agree that better security convergence is the need of the hour?
There is of course, a need for security convergence, but no single technology can completely carry this out. Therefore, there is a need to integrate technology, so that convergence can be implemented more effectively. In fact, I would say that integration is a vital requirement that needs to be looked at in greater detail. In this context, awareness of Open API, an application programming interface that allows better and more effective integration, is growing and the security landscape is evolving.

How does Artificial Intelligence (AI) play a role in cyber security? How does machine learning reduce incident response time, and what has been its impact so far?
AI has been playing a prominent role in mitigating attacks, and helping to carry out network isolation on systems that are threat-prone, and later patching these up. AI has also resulted in speeding up response time significantly, and helping threat intelligence, which is the identification of threat data to build intelligence around it. This helps decision makers understand whether a threat is a simple attack, a sophisticated one, or one that requires immediate action.

How would you describe the future of Cyber security and Information Technology?
I’d say the trend is growing ‘cloudwards’. Cloud is the future, and misgivings around it are slowly starting to fade. Earlier, there were doubts about the safety, security and vulnerability of the “cloud”, but this uncertainty will disappear with time. People and organizations are increasingly becoming aware of the fact that cloud is easier to deploy, use and upgrade. So I’d say that cloud adoption is growing and we will soon have a future where people will trust cloud completely.