Outlook 2022: “Web Apps Are Now the Primary Interface Between Customers and Businesses”

Toni El Inati, the RVP for Sales – META & CEE at Barracuda Networks, says Middle East businesses have faced unprecedented change over the last 18 months

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
Cybersecurity has been one of the few industry segments that has grown significantly since the onset of the pandemic. This if course relates to the heightened level of cybercriminal activity last the last 24 months. At Barracuda, we have been closely monitoring the threat landscape and we continue to offer best-of-breed solutions to counter new and evolving threats.

What sort of opportunities did 2021 bring along?
In our recent report titled ‘The state of application security in 2021’, Barracuda researchers found that 72% of organisations got breached through web applications. Moreover, the causes of these attacks varied, with top threats including bad bots (43%), software supply chain attacks (39%), vulnerability detection (38%), and securing APIs (37%).

At the same time, in an increasingly digital world, web applications are now a primary interface between customers and businesses. This makes it imperative for organisations to secure their web applications. Consequently, we have seen strong momentum for our Cloud Application Protection solution which provides powerful application security that is easy to use and helps protect applications deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or hybrid.

Also, this year, with high-profile ransomware attacks crippling critical infrastructure, the spotlight has once again been shone on this threat vector. Diving into the anatomy of the typical ransomware attack reveals that they often start with a malicious phishing email intended to trick the recipient into disclosing login credentials.

The first step in protection is therefore to protect user credentials from email attacks. This involves blocking phishing attacks before they reach users’ inboxes, training employees to recognise phishing attempts, and having tools and procedures in place to effectively execute an incident response. Barracuda Total Email Protection, a suite of powerful security solutions that offer protection against a wide range of email threats, has proven effective in protecting Middle East businesses from this threat.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
This year, Barracuda has received several industry awards and accolades. We have been recognized as a Visionary in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Network Firewalls and as a Challenger in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Application and API Security. We were also named a Leader in “The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Email Security, Q2 2021” wherein Barracuda was specifically cited for offering “a product portfolio that includes integrated solutions for email security, cloud backup, email archiving, DMARC authentication, SA&T, and web security.”

In July 2021, we acquired SKOUT Cybersecurity, a move that expanded our portfolio for MSPs, enabling us to offer them an extended detection and response (XDR) platform for proactive real-time continuous security monitoring with response services for managed endpoints, networks, and cloud.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
I also think there will be a renewed focus on governments prioritizing cybersecurity initiatives, building alliances with vendors, and sharing data with other countries. This level of collaboration will help improve security for everyone.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
Middle East businesses have faced unprecedented change over the last 18 months and rapid digitalisation has left many vulnerable to cyberattacks. While the threat landscape is indeed daunting, Barracuda’s message to regional businesses is that robust protection is both affordable and easy to deploy.

While packed with powerful features, Barracuda’s enterprise-grade security solutions offer consumer-level ease of use, enabling organisations to focus on realising their digital ambitions with confidence in the security of their digital services and assets. This is a message that has resonated strongly with businesses of all sizes, and we will continue to emphasise this value proposition to our customers and prospects as we look to establish and deepen our engagements with organisations that are looking to effectively secure their critical digital infrastructures.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
Extended detection and response (XDR) as currently, detection and response in the XDR context are enormous gaps for many organisations. They will need help with detection and response, which will drive increased demand for this emerging technology.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
Email security and application protection are key requirements for Middle East businesses. In line with this, two focus solutions for Barracuda in the region are its Cloud Application Protection, and Total Email Protection solutions. Cloud Application Protection protects applications deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or hybrid.

Total Email Protection combines gateway defense with inbox protection and user security awareness into a single, comprehensive solution. With the increasing use of Microsoft Office 365 by Middle East organisations, the company is also focused on Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup, a cloud-native platform that delivers a fast search and restores experience for Office 365 data, including Teams, Exchange Online, SharePoint, and OneDrive.

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