Companies Should Consider Open Source Innovation While Securing Digital Economies

Ali Al Shami, the Country Manager for KSA and Bahrain at Red Hat, speaks about the regional threat landscape, and how companies can overcome security challenges

How has the security threat landscape evolved over the past few months?
The security threat landscape has evolved in recent months, with malicious attacks increasing due to the unprecedented surge in online activity. Malware, ransomware, and adware continue to emerge as prominent threats, with individuals and businesses subject to potential breaches and successful attacks. Ransomware cost tens of billions of dollars in 2020 and remote working has continued to rise in popularity and effectiveness since the new year, emphasizing the scale of these threats from a cost standpoint alone. Furthermore, another example of cybercriminals targeting people and organizations without enterprise-grade security is fake zoom invites. Online collaborative tools have never experienced such widespread use worldwide, and this has also presented hackers with other windows of opportunity.

What sort of security challenges are people facing when working from home and how is your company equipped to handle those challenges?
Although working from home has presented people and businesses with a host of advantages, it was inevitable that security challenges would also arise. Organizations continue to face several main challenges as their employees operate virtually, including accessing data and privileges through external networks and managing identity processes. As such, firms from all verticals require support from companies with the resources and expertise to address and overcome them. From a Red Hat standpoint, leveraging modern IAM systems, two-factor authentication, and control access protocols are all prudent actions for preventing security issues.

How has ransomware evolved during the pandemic period and what are you doing to tackle the problem?
Ransomware attacks are becoming more common, yet it also important to understand that the methodology has also evolved. Today, ransomware poses various threats, from exploiting systems without even knowing the ultimate target to access sensitive company information and subsequently exfiltrating data. Therefore, combating the problem is an overarching necessity. Building enterprise-grade secure infrastructure and leveraging the best practices to prevent such attacks before they occur is essential for organizations, as is creating awareness and education amongst employees.

How can companies overcome digital security and privacy challenges?
Although companies may view overcoming digital security and privacy challenges as somewhat of a daunting task, doing so is achievable with the correct approach. As such, every company should have the vision to build solid foundations for security and privacy, taking every aspect into account with a holistic view and focusing on security and privacy by design. Leveraging Red Hat expertise and embracing open source by using cybersecurity frameworks that are shareable and based on open standards is a proven formula for overcoming these issues. Therefore, companies should implement this strategy right away.

Do you believe companies today have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives?
Yes. It is apparent that more and more companies are not only moving forward with their respective digital transformation initiatives but are also reaping the rewards of sustained progress. Unsurprisingly, the rise and continued emergence of cybersecurity threats have compelled organizations to accelerate their transformation journeys, with widespread acknowledgment concerning the potential problems that could stem from outdated legacy systems prone to threats and attacks. Red Hat has been a key enabler for many organizations, supporting their digital transformation activities by providing the technology and infrastructure required to implement an automated security and compliance strategy.

What are the cybersecurity trends for 2021?
Several cybersecurity trends for 2021 are already apparent, with some surrounding remote working, cloud threats, and the requirement to use online collaboration tools, the cloud, and SaaS services. Moreover, other trends include workloads running on-premises, in the public cloud, or a hybrid model. Red Hat provides the technologies to support organizations as they build, manage, and automate their on-premise or hybrid-cloud environments securely, with support across the entire infrastructure and application stack life cycle.

What are the key factors to consider to make sure the digital economies of today are secured?
When verifying digital economy security, enterprises should consider open source and open innovation, both of which continue their emergence as key enablers. Crucially, the vast majority of interconnected technologies being used today are either based on open source projects or leverage open standard frameworks to build a solid and robust digital economy. Therefore, companies should always bear this in mind and draw inspiration from the vast array of use cases in the public domain.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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