Middle East leaders urged to go on attack against hackers

The Future of Cloud Security in the Middle East roundtable event in Abu Dhabi says attack is the best form of defence when it comes to cyber security

Attack is the best form of defence when it comes to cloud and cyber security. That’s one of the key messages from a roundtable event held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this week.

This positive rallying call came from speaker Dr Aloysius Cheang, Chief Security Officer Huawei Middle East & Central Asia, who took to the stage at the W Yas Island Hotel for a roundtable entitled The Future of Cloud Security in the Middle East – presented by Cyber magazine, sister title to Business Chief.

“We are going to take the banner to the enemy’s territory so that the cost is on them rather than on us,” said Dr Cheang. “Cyber security is cloud security, and security is the way of business.”

Dr Cheang was joined on stage by Dragan Pendic, Director – Cloud Security, G42; and Shivani Jariwala, Director Cloud Services, CPX, and President of the Cloud Security Alliance UAE Chapter.

The roundtable examined the current state of cloud adoption and security in the region as well as provided preliminary findings from an ongoing survey

Cloud security challenges and outlook in the region

Topics discussed in the survey and at the event include:

  • The current cloud security threat level
  • Cloud security solutions
  • How happy cloud leaders are with their service provider
  • What are the main factors when choosing a cloud provider
  • What measures have been taken to improve security
  • What needs to be done in the immediate future
  • The role and risks of AI
  • The changing nature of cloud
  • Data sovereignty
  • Are security budgets adequate
  • Do CISOs get the attention they deserve
  • Preparing for the metaverse

“With the movement towards AI, security is going to be one step behind technology,” said Jariwala. “Cloud was meant to be something else. Factors like geopolitical issues have changed the way we now think of cloud. 

“I think we need some form of standard global approach towards cloud security but it will not happen as the technology keeps changing. So I think our focus for the next 12-18 months is on catching up with the new technologies and securing those – that is where a lot of our energy will go.”

Pendic said from his experience, talent was going to be one of the biggest challenges ahead.

“I see attracting and retaining good talent, when it comes to managing security and looking after security for an enterprise, being very difficult,” said Pendic.

“When it comes to security, we need to be more sharply focussed on what is relevant. We need to see security through the lens of a business rather than as a security professional because, ultimately, we serve the business.”

Welcome to the new Golden Age of the CISO

Dr Cheang agreed with this view, adding: “We need to usher in the new Golden Age of the CISO and the only way out of troubled waters is with the CISO as the captain of the ship.”

The lively discussion saw invited guests challenge the speakers and share their own experiences and views. These sentiments and the results of the survey are being collated and will be included in the research report The Future of Cloud Security in the Middle East which is due to be released at GISEC Global in Dubai in March.

This roundtable followed an earlier event held in Dubai on 9 February. Both events were organised by BizClik Media in association with headline sponsor, Huawei.

“This was a great debate and discussion and I’m sure everyone went away with key insights into the role that cloud plays and will continue to play in the region,” said moderator Scott Birch, MD BizClik Media Dubai. 

“We were fortunate to have a fantastic line-up of industry heavyweights speaking on stage and in the audience, and I look forward to sharing more details and analysis from the survey. I urge cloud and cyber leaders and decision-makers in the Middle East to take the survey and become a valuable part of this conversation.”

Take the survey.

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