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Jihad Tayara, CEO, EVOTEQ, talks to Security MEA and explains how EVOTEQ spearheads digital transformation and plays the role of a catalyst in the Middle East region.

How are the organizations in the Middle East positioned in their journey of digital transformation?
The global trend to transform into a fully digitized environment is taking place rapidly than ever before. The spread of COVID-19 has made digital technology more relevant and critical than ever. With this in mind, industry officials from the region are preparing and looking forward to this eventuality. However, amidst this widespread optimism about digitalization, not all countries in the region are implementing this trend in the same way that others are doing so. Governments from all over the world are now batting for the realization of digital transformation. However, this is accompanied by the need to tackle shortcomings in respective digitalization strategies. These would include the need to enhance regulations in favour of digital businesses; address infrastructure needs and develop digital literacy training platforms.

The pandemic has shown us that digitalization is an essential element of economic sustainability. In fact, the budgets for IT and technology are expected to steadily rise, driven by an increase in spending on operational efficiencies, customer engagement and data-driven insights. As such, several industries will be faster in taking on changes and adopting to these trends as compared to other industries.

 Covid-19 has certainly pushed most of the companies to embrace digitization, what according to you are still the major hurdles they are facing?
Amidst the presence of digital transformation, some challenges have still come up–like the absence of a holistic approach towards the actual transformation. It actually is not about the concept of purchasing new licenses but rather the impact made by the shift in DNA, where business processes and cybersecurity approaches bear more significance.

To get a clearer perspective, we have to understand that the approach that some companies implement are misguided, in the sense that these are focused on the technology itself. What should be done instead is that there should be a clear definition of the business challenge and what the transformation is supposed to address. Another challenge is that the prevailing corporate culture has often worked against fundamental change, being incapable of generating and supporting new ideas.

How would you evaluate the current threat landscape prevailing in the Middle East region?
The region is now facing what experts call a cyber pandemic–wherein COVID-19 related attacks are skyrocketing and increasing by the minute. In fact, in the UAE alone, the country witnessed a 250% increase in attacks in 2020. What this shows us is that our IT infrastructure is now showing stress due to a significant increase in demand. Cyber threat actors are actively seeking to exploit weaknesses that may exist in your newly implemented or temporary IT infrastructures. Companies, on account of the pandemic, are already facing many challenges, some of which bring uncertainty to daily operations. What we need to do is to find a way to tackle these additional risks associated with digitalization.

How can organizations ensure that their data is secure during these disruptive times?
Governments in the region are widely aware of the related risks presented by digitalization. Many of these governments have begun to step-up and improve their cybersecurity programs, with a focus on developing a pro-active approach towards addressing cybercrimes. In hindsight, these programs should be integrative–involving the participation of the private sector and citizen and enlist their assistance in addressing the protection of critical digital assets and infrastructure no matter where it is within the country.

In addition, these groups should be able to create a solid foundation needed in implementing a healthy data security plan–investing heavily in modern security equipment, the development of new processes and the assurance that workers can thrive in safe working environments. Awareness training programs should be activated to help make employees become aware of the significance of data security.

Can you elaborate on the role of EVOTEQ in accelerating the digital transformation in the Middle East?
Over the last few years, we have positioned EVOTEQ as a key catalyst in the move towards digitalization–leading in the implementation of several large-scale, high profile projects that have met business requirements and generated remarkable responses. The company has now become widely known for its commitment towards investing across a wide range of customized and transformative solutions for the public and private sector. At EVOTEQ, our goal is to help these organizations through their business transformation cycle by using technology.

Can you throw more light into the track-and-trace application using SmartTrack that is currently being adopted by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention for their new digital platform “Tatmeen”?
Tatmeen is an initiative of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) based on EVOTEQ SmartTrack technology. Positioned as a revolutionary step in the country’s healthcare sector, the system was developed to track medicines, blood supplies and medical equipment from production to consumption. The program was created to address critical gaps within the lifecycle of pharma and medical equipment.

Tatmeen is viewed as our first line of defence in the battle against counterfeit drugs, grey market medications and expired products. By deploying this track-and-trace platform, we are further empowered to prevent the entry of sub-standard medications and compromised products to the UAE.

What’s going to be EVOTEQ’s major contribution to further speedup up digital transformation in this region?
Sensing the importance of this phase of digitalization, EVOTEQ will remain steadfast in working closely with its clients, especially in the creation of digital-led solutions ranging from cloud computing, IoT, and data analytics. Our goal is to come up with solutions that do not exist elsewhere and offers a seamless customer experience enabled by the latest technologies and operational efficiency.

EVOTEQ’s approach is focused on the provision of a unique consultative selling approach that starts by advising the customers on technology choices. We go all the way to investing in and deploying the latest digital tools that help customers achieve their goals. We are committed towards presenting solutions that aim to deliver a key impact on people’s lives.

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