Cybersecurity is on everybody’s mind

In Interviews

Ram Narayanan, Country Manager, Check Point Software Technologies, Middle East talks about the state of cybersecurity in the Middle East and the role of Check Point role plays in dealing with risks in the region

Whats your take the on cybersecurity market in the Middle East?
Cybersecurity has gained momentum over the years and today it is on everybody’s mind. There are three prime reasons the cybersecurity has caught up the imagination of everyone. The first reason is that businesses are much more aware than ever before. The rise in the cybersecurity incidents in past few years have highlighted the concerns and businesses have started acknowledging this unpleasant reality and are working towards securing themselves.

Secondly, digital transformation, moving on cloud and remote working has put data in different places, so the need to secure this data and digital ecosystem is creating a big demand for cybersecurity.

And, thirdly, organisations now are taking cyberthreats seriously unlike before, when cybersecurity was nothing more than a tick box. Today, enterprises are carefully looking at technologies and investing in technologies that can defend their unique environment.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has also played its part and made people clearly understand that prevention is better than cure.  Just like people have now finally realised that COVID-19 vaccination is necessary for them to protect themselves against severe effects even if they catch the corona virus. If we take the same analogy, cybersecurity also helps in protecting businesses from the cyber attacks and minimise severe effect on the business, thereby expanding the market further.

How do you enable your customers in their cybersecurity journey in post pandemic era?
Check Point offers its customers the consolidated approach and a 360 degree visibility. Its been two years now that the world has been dealing with pandemic and since than remote working has become a norm, which has also added new challenges and concerns for the customers. Working from anywhere and use of mobile phones, laptops to access corporate applications, has expanded the attack surface by multiple times.

In such a scenario, it is extremely important for an customer to have a single dashboard view to see, manage and even define policies. Our solution Harmony, which is the industry’s first unified security solution for users devices and access enable our customers to better secure their organisation and the remote workforce too.

Check Point Harmony is a combination of several security technologies, such as SASE, end-point security, email security, internet security, web security, mobile security, secure access and others to present a unified security solution. Obviously, the benefit of Machine Learning and AI that is running on the back-end delivers a very comprehensive solution that offers the highest level of protection for devices and internet connections from the most sophisticated attacks while ensuring zero-trust access to corporate applications.

Another important aspect of security today is securing cloud, and due several transformation initiatives and shift towards cloud during the pandemic period cloud security has become far more relevant than ever before. We address the cloud security at different levels, right from securing the workload, giving customers the visibility of there cloud assets from risk and compliance perspective or even configuration point of view, or providing them with container security, web application security, and DevSecOps.

How about the user experience?
Users are users, and they do what they do, but then technology has to be sophisticated enough to run it in the background so that even if they do an mistake, it should be taken care without effecting their performance, and provide them comfort whether accessing an application or doing their job.

I would give you one simple example that we have a corporate reuse password technology where everybody uses there user word and password, so what they use for there corporate access, they also go and use it and use for there Facebook or some of their social media sites or buying something on ecommerce websites by using the same credentials. We have this technology with us with which we are able to identify, if users are reusing their passwords currently on third party websites, which is non business then we alert them by saying that they are using the same password and they should stop them. It happens automatically using technology, this we use in the background and as long as the pop up comes, everybody reads the popup and then you educated them on the flight. This is how we are inserting technology with effecting the user experience.

Does that mean you are eliminating the human error approach?
Yes, we are trying as much, definitely users are bound to make mistake, this is the starting point. If we are going design security by saying users are going to do the right thing, then obviously that’s not a architecture that is going to stand good. We know users are going to click on a link, they will download the malware, they are going to visit the websites without knowing what it is, but then technology has to there. I must say its not a easy job, but what we do is, when you aggregate from different angles than you are able to tell precisely what it is, even for a phishing email.

Traditionally, people would scan the link that is coming to them to understand whether its a phishing email or not. But, now we have 60 different views for the same email, like, from the source where it has come, or what is the intention behind it, the attachment, the language, the link, everything. And, when you put 60 different parameters and aggregate than the accuracy of the detection and prevention becomes more efficient. This is and much more we do with the help of all the algorithms that we are running for being more effective.  If you compare solutions from Check Point, we are able to 30% more than what others can do. That is the proof how effective Check Points solutions are.

How is the MSSP market for you?
Its a key market for us, and in think its the future, even channel partners are also moving towards services model. We do have a MSSP program with a boarder framework, but it can be tailor made to suit the requirement of a particular MSSP. We are experiencing a great response from MSSPs, and the benefit of Check Point is that they don’t have to deal with 20 vendors to achieve what they can achieve with us. For them it is about the consolidating their vendor portfolio and achieving better security effectiveness. Eventually, when are going to present it to there customers, its not going to be about Check Point, but its about the service they offer.

How do you find the traction for Check Point solutions in the market and what kind of growth are you expecting?
The traction for our solutions is very good. With efforts on the field, and with awareness in the market we see more and more customers coming forward and discussing with us.

Customers also see the fact that Check Point technologies are being rated among the top by third party agencies, be it IDC or Gartner or Forrester or other micro evaluation agencies, which gives them further assurance.

Both, our traditional business and cloud business is growing, we have witnessed 28%-30% year on year growth in past 4 years, and with our expansion plans we expect the growth to drive even more.

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