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Issue 01 \ september 2018 www.cxoinsightme.com

INSIDE The coming age of artificial intelligence Why IOT is going to be a security nightmare Solving network woes with automation

Blockchain unchained Is it the next fad or a new revolution?

Publication licensed by Sharjah Media City


contents

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products

AMD Radeon Pro V340

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Blockchain unchained

Axis ExCam dome camera

Is it the next fad or a new revolution?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

16 viewpoint

24 feature

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NEWS

08 Reinventing healthcare 10 GDPR: An opportunity with AI for soul searching

Miral selects Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation

18 Why automation will solve your network

24 Danger ahead

Dell Technologies launches new IoT solutions

28 cyberattacks A digital vaccine for

Interview

VMware to acquire CloudHealth Technologies

problems

36 Not all cloud software is created equal Published by Insight Media & Publishing LLC

14 Ushering in a new digital era 22 Odefence n the front line of

Pure Storage snaps up StorReduce SAP opens cloud data centre in the UAE

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editorial

May the force be with you

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elcome to the inaugural edition of CXO Insight Middle East. With a digital-first approach, our mission is to uncover stories of business transformation in the Middle East. The rapid uptake of digital technologies such as AI, blockchain and cloud computing is helping countries in the region to wean themselves off oilbased economies and reshape the future. Artificial intelligence is a case in point. The UAE has set up probably the world’s first ministry dedicated to AI. Not far away, Saudi Arabia is building a $500 billion digital city named NEOM. This AI-infused digital city will have more robots than humans and run entirely on renewable energy. Saudi’s neighbour Bahrain is aiming to be a regional fintech powerhouse and has already set up a hub to foster startups in this domain. On the connectivity front, 5G is being piloted by major telecom operators in almost all Middle Eastern countries and we are likely to see commercial launches as early as next year. This new generation of mobile technology is expected to accelerate the adoption of the Internet of Things and Smart City initiatives. The transformative power of digital technologies has a direct impact businesses and economies. PwC estimates that AI will add close to $16 trillion to global GDP by 2030, and smart city tech has the potential to drive over 5 percent GDP growth over

the next decade. This new breed of technologies is disrupting not only industries, but roles throughout the enterprise as well. In today’s digital economy, CIOs are now being asked to the play the role of an enabler and become a strategic partner to the business. CMOs are tasked with driving digital customer experience, and work closely with CIOs on digital transformation engagements. On the other hand, CFOs are being forced to move beyond their traditional roles and become tech-savvy as digital tools continue to transform the finance function. Very soon, we might even see data become an asset on balance sheets, something that finance leaders must reckon with. Digital transformation has become a KPI for CEOs and they are personally involved in the progress of transformation efforts of their companies. While digital technologies are advancing at dizzying speed, it is important for IT and C-level executives to remember that though digital transformation is essentially technologyled, it should be driven by business strategy. We have all the tech tools at our disposal but it’s the organisational culture change that is key to digital transformation. People drive transformative change, not technology. As the management guru Peter Drucker famously remarked - ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. I’d say lunch and dinner too.

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news

Miral selects Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation

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Eng. Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral

iral, the developer and promoter of Yas Island, has partnered with Microsoft on an ambitious digitaltransformation journey that promises to reshape the global leisure and entertainment industry. “Our vision is to transform Yas Island into a globally recognised wall-less destination, increasing annual footfall to 48 million visitors by 2022, and this digital transformation project is part of delivering on our promise and achieving our vision,” said Eng. Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral. “Creating personalised seamless experiences by harmoniously bridging the gap between physical and digital was our main priority. The goal was to allow visitors to plan their journey before they arrive, tailor their experiences to their desires and continue to revisit their memories as they leave Yas Island. We selected Microsoft as our trusted technology partner because

we have strong confidence in their solutions as well as their in-depth global experience in similar industries, which will help us achieve the sought results,” added Al Zaabi Miral’s multichannel customer experience platform will be built using Microsoft Azure’s PaaS capabilities, providing the flexibility, scalability and agility required to ensure timely completion against tight deadlines. Azure Identity will form the core of Yas ID – a unique single login solution that will allow Miral to keep connected to guests across digital touch points. Azure’s Data and Analytics Platform and predictive intelligence tools will combine customer data through real-time dashboards, enabling employees to deliver higher-value customer interactions. The solution will incorporate the already-running platform developed in Phase One.

Dell Technologies launches new IoT solutions Dell Technologies’ Edge and IoT Solutions Division has announced new solutions and bundles to simplify deployment of secure, scalable solutions for edge computing and IoT use cases. With these solutions, Dell Technologies is combining tools from its broad portfolio with technology from Intel and partners in the Dell Technologies IoT Solutions Partner Program. This will drive workloads for computer vision – enabled by imaging sensors – and machine intelligence – characterised by structured telemetry from sensors and control systems. “Workloads and use cases for computer vision and machine intelligence require different combinations of tools, but the 6

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computing infrastructure elements are the same,” said Joyce Mullen, president, Global Channel, OEM and IOT Solutions at Dell Technologies. “Dell Technologies provides a scalable, secure, manageable and open infrastructure – spanning edge to cloud – so customers and partners can realise value today and build a foundation to support these workloads and case studies in the future.” The company says by enabling computer vision with Dell Technologies IoT solutions, customers can more accurately, efficiently and effectively “see” relevant information pertaining to areas such as public safety, customer experience, and product inventory and quality.

Joyce Mullen, president, Global Channel, OEM and IOT Solutions at Dell Technologies


VMware to acquire CloudHealth Technologies VMware has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CloudHealth Technologies. With over 3,000 global customers, CloudHealth Technologies delivers a cloud operations platform across AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. The platform enables customers to help analyse and manage cloud cost, usage, security, and performance centrally for native public clouds. “Multi-cloud usage while beneficial to business creates a unique set of operational problems.” said Raghu Raghuram, chief operating officer, products and cloud services, VMware. “With the addition of CloudHealth Technologies

we are delivering a consistent and actionable view into cost and resource management, security and performance for applications across multiple clouds.” With this acquisition, VMware Cloud Services will have the ability to add delivery of consistent operations across clouds to its portfolio. Once the CloudHealth Technologies deal is closed, VMware cloud automation services, VMware Secure State and Wavefront by VMware will deliver automation and compliance, security and governance, insights and analytics to complement CloudHealth Technologies’ capabilities.

Pure Storage snaps up StorReduce Pure Storage has acquired StorReduce, a cloud-first softwaredefined storage solution for managing large scale unstructured data. The acquisition allows Pure Storage to add sophisticated deduplication technology to its object storage portfolio and expand its public cloud integrations to meet the growing demand to manage unstructured data in multi-cloud environments. “We are excited to be joining the Pure Storage team. StorReduce and Pure Storage share a common goal to empower customers to get the most out of their data in the increasingly hybrid cloud world,” said StorReduce CEO Vanessa Wilson. “With the combination of StorReduce’s data reduction capabilities and Pure’s flash and object storage technologies, we can now optimise many modern cloud-native applications as well as many existing unstructured data workloads, in particular rapid recovery, at a faster rate.”

Charles Giancarlo, CEO, Pure Storage

“The StorReduce team has built an incredibly exciting technology that has the opportunity to make a major impact on next-generation storage architectures,” said Charles Giancarlo, Pure Storage CEO. “Together, we will help customers execute on data-centric architectures that bridge seamlessly from on-prem to cloud.”

SAP opens cloud data centre in the UAE

In line with the UAE Vision 2021’s nationwide digital transformation, SAP has announced the opening of its first cloud data centre in the UAE. “The UAE is already at the forefront of technology innovation, and the UAE organisations that digitally transform on the cloud first will seize market share and business competitiveness,” said Gergi Abboud, Senior Vice President and General Manager, SAP Middle East South. “Our cloud data centre will support UAE Vision 2021’s goals to accelerate diversified economic growth and Smart Cities, support innovative startups and entrepreneurs, and fuel youth job creation in the fastpaced technology sector.” The SAP Cloud Data Center allows UAE organisations to subscribe to SAP’s cloud solutions across 25 industries. The SAP Cloud Platform is now live to support SAP customers’ digital transformation together with SAP Ariba procurement software, SAP C/4 HANA customer relationship suite, SAP HANA in-memory platform, SAP S/4HANA realtime suite, as well as the SAP SuccessFactors human resources management system.

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viewpoint

Reinventing Healthcare With AI Jonathan Wood, General Manager, India, Middle East, and Africa at Infor, writes about how artificial intelligence is already paying dividends in healthcare

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rtificial Intelligence is everywhere. And we may not even know it. As a cohort of technologies that lets machines solve problems and execute tasks formerly reserved for humans, AI drives everything from smartphone location data to flagging email span. The power of AI starts with large data sets, something that’s become more evident in healthcare. Automated patient records, information sharing across entities and the full digitisation of business operations has ushered in the era of big data. Providers now are only beginning to determine how to use this new technology to create efficiencies, while also maintaining and improving the patient experience. AI can be found across the care continuum. For example, at the patient level, Mount Sinai Health System is using AI to discover comorbid conditions previously unidentified in diabetes patients. We are seeing robots augmenting nursing care by assisting patients with mobility. At a large, national cancer centre, AI has enabled a concierge

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service mobile app that provides intelligent interaction regarding quality-of-life needs, such as food and housing. Google AI is being employed to scan eyes for cardiovascular problems. However, for many providers, looking at how AI can help support the business operations of healthcare may be a more achievable first step. As a recent Advisory Report article stated, “AI works best when paired with humans.” The goal is to use AI to create efficiencies across the continuum that not only help staff in their roles, but that also free clinicians, caregivers and office staff to focus on more value-added activities. Put to work, AI can help augment and automate human tasks and functions where appropriate. It can even offer advice.  One form of AI—chat bots—can essentially fill the role of an office assistant by automating many tasks. By searching mounting amounts of data, it can make recommendations 20 percent faster than a manual search. Because it is voice driven, and studies show that humans can speak and hear three to four times as many words per minute than they can type, staff can work faster. Some examples from around the organisation include:  Further optimising the supply chain: AI can quickly answer employee queries on days outstanding, by supply, such as sutures from a certain supplier. AI can be used to track unused supplies, too, miniming excess inventory. Accessible by nursing and other clinical staff, AI can also help alleviate the amount of time—and frustration—spent searching for supplies by not only providing location, but also automating future order and delivery.  Enhancing and expanding self

service: For those healthcare employees without regular access to a computer, such as lab technicians, AI is a quick and accurate way to empower cross-functional self service.  Automating financial processes: In accounting, AI can augment the payment process, detecting payment, vendor and invoice patterns, and suggesting automating payments for a specific invoice that is approved 99 percent of the time.  Maintaining a restful environment: A quiet, healing hospital experience is key to patient outcomes and satisfaction. Employing AI to help manage and maintain hospital equipment can provide staff with needed insights, quickly, and thus ensuring something as simple as a squeaky equipment cart is fixed before it is rolled down the hallway. It can also work to set up a regular maintenance schedule to catch issues before they occur. AI can even root out common sources of noise before they become chronic problems.  All of this not only contributes to patients getting the restful sleep that they need to heal and recover, but may also in turn boost those patient satisfaction scores that can have an impact on a hospital’s reimbursement levels. When patients experience a less-than-restful hospital stay, it shows up on patient surveys, lower HCAHPS scores and can compromise value-based reimbursements.  Healthcare organisations are just beginning to unlock the potential of AI in healthcare. There are so many possibilities, but right now impressive results are being gained by supporting caregivers and staff to help them work better and smarter..


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COVER FEATURE

Blockchain unchained Is it the next fad or a new revolution?

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lockchain technology is taking the world by storm and has already become the top trending tech topic of 2018. In the Middle East, various governments have announced their commitment to adopt blockchain to save cost and boost efficiencies. Dubai, for example, plans to move 50 percent of government transactions to the blockchain platform by 2022. In Saudi Arabia, Riyadh Municipality has recently announced its plans to use the technology to digitise and transform municipal services. The Government of Bahrain has already adopted blockchain to streamline the process of the country’s drivers’ license applications and issuance. According to IDC, the regional spending on blockchain in the Middle East and Africa is expected to reach $80.8 million this year, and spike to $307 million in 2021. IDC research suggests that the public sector, followed by the financial services will be the early adopters of blockchain. Though there are still some key legal and regulatory challenges around this shared ledger technology, many enterprises have already jumped onto the bandwagon with a litany of use cases. A few well-known cases in

point include Nasdaq, which is using blockchain to record shareholder votes, and Walmart, which has improved the transparency and traceability of food supply chain with a blockchain system. There many factors driving the rapid rise of interest in blockchain in the Middle East. “It is a revolutionary way to do business and we believe that blockchain will do for business what the Internet did for information,” says Mohammad Riaz, managing partner, IBM Global Business Services, Middle East and Pakistan. He says blockchain-based systems will radically improve entire industries from banking and insurance, to real estate, public records, supply chain, travel and transportation, media and entertainment to supply chains. But its impact could be even broader. “The adoption of blockchain technology presents huge potential in creating new business models, if the peer-to-peer nature of the technology is utilised,” says Amed Adly, ECEMEA Enterprise Cloud Computing Leader at Oracle. “Likewise, businesses are realising the value in how blockchain can help them build a trusted business network – in turn, technologies like IoT and Big Data will have new impact, which will welcome a new world of possibilities for the region.”

by using blockchain technology to share data, organisations can unlock value and, at the same time, address three challenges that often remain unresolved – controlling data, ensuring data credibility, and building universal exchanges. Fady Richmany, senior director and GM, UAE, Dell EMC

Fady Richmany, senior director and GM, UAE, at Dell EMC, adds that by using blockchain technology to share data, organisations can unlock value and, at the same time, address three challenges that often remain unresolved – controlling data, ensuring data credibility, and building universal exchanges. When it comes to creating a universally cohesive ecosystem for better collaboration and data exchange, blockchain technology is proving itself as an effective approach, particularly as the world accelerates towards Smart Cities and the transformation of industries, he says. Blockchain is already being peddled as the answer to all our woes, and it is important for IT leaders to separate the wheat from the chaff. On a global and regional level, blockchain is still largely in the proof-of-concept phase. According to a survey of SAP’s blockchain community, only three percent have active blockchain projects while 84 percent have started their blockchain journey. Oracle says it has more than 500 successful POCs worldwide, and businesses have been deploying an early adoption version of Oracle Blockchain Cloud Services, which allows organisations to easily build blockchain networks to drive more secure and efficient transactions and to track goods through supply chains on a global scale. “Last year, we saw major strategy development and conceptualisation for blockchain across many industries. Government endorsement was received, especially in the UAE and other Gulf countries. So far, 2018 has proven to be the year with real experimentation, PoCs, and working towards MVPs with many use cases across verticals. Next year, we are likely to witness production grade roll out and go-live for blockchain projects,” says Lina Hediah, executive director, ConsenSys Enterprise.

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COVER FEATURE

The adoption of blockchain technology presents huge potential in creating new business models, if the peer-to-peer nature of the technology is utilised. Amed Adly, ECEMEA Enterprise Cloud Computing Leader, Oracle

Should you adopt blockchain? “The first step in a blockchain engagement, should be the determination of whether blockchain is the right technology for the business problem or objective being addressed. Making that decision is the first step to a successful blockchain or distributed ledger implementation,” says Fady

from Dell EMC, which has developed a set of services assist its customers in validating their blockchain use cases. Adly from Oracle says when there is lack of trust in transactions between enterprises, blockchain adoption would be undoubtedly necessary to achieve transparency. Fundamentally, it can transform the way any enterprise does

Government endorsement was received, especially in the UAE and other Gulf countries. So far, 2018 has proven to be the year with real experimentation, PoCs, and working towards MVPs with many use cases across verticals. Lina Hediah, executive director, ConsenSys Enterprise 12

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business by making interactions safe and secure. “We assist customers with determining the validity of blockchain use cases and ensures that blockchain is the best fit for their respective goals. Moreover, Oracle runs many discovery workshops with customers guided by business experts who are also mastering blockchain employment to create a well-rounded blockchain business case.” Though there is no doubt blockchain’s huge potential, one must also take into account its challenges including sclability and native performance issues. “One major challenge that Middle East organisations face in their blockchain deployments is integrating blockchain with legacy systems. Partners should not only integrate blockchain, but also tie blockchain into wider digital transformation agendas and foster modernisation of IT infrastructure for integrating blockchain with AI, machine learning,” says Julien Bertin, managing director, SAP UAE and Oman.


It is a revolutionary way to do business and we believe that blockchain will do for business what the Internet did for information. Mohammad Riaz, managing partner, IBM Global Business Services, Middle East and Pakistan

Another issue is around security. Blockchain is touted as a secure technology and a difficult target for hackers. While it is true that no one has yet reported any cyberattacks against enterprise blockchain projects, one has to bear in mind it is because many of these projects are still in pilot stages. Riaz from IBM assures that blockchain

technology is secure by its inherent nature. “A blockchain, as the name implies, is a chain of digital “blocks” that contain records of transactions. Each block is connected to all the blocks before and after it. This makes it difficult to tamper with a single record because a hacker would need to change the block containing that record as well as those linked to it to avoid detection. This alone might not seem like much of a deterrence, but blockchain has some other inherent characteristics that provide additional means of security.” Adly from Oracle says, however, in public blockchains, there are theoretical ways to disturb the network behaviour like Sybil or routing attacks, or even the 51% majority consensus attack. “We

Partners should not only integrate blockchain, but also tie blockchain into wider digital transformation agendas and foster modernisation of IT infrastructure for integrating blockchain with AI AND MACHINE LEARNING. Julien Bertin, managing director, SAP UAE and Oman

Blockchain at work • The Department of Economic Development in Dubai, UAE, has become one of the first government entities in the world to create a unified corporate registry on IBM Blockchain. The aim of the registry is to digitise the process of issuing business licenses and exchanging commercial information for business owners, investors, entrepreneurs and startups, enabling them to conduct transactions digitally in realtime and in a trusted and secure environment. • Arab Jordan Investment Bank is utilising Oracle’s Blockchain Cloud Service to help the bank make electronic fund transfers simpler by reducing cost, increasing efficiency and security levels and delivering an exceptional customer experience. • wasl Asset Management Group’s is running pilot project with SAP to make its new generation endof-lease processes blockchain enabled. The paperless endof-lease processes leveraged blockchain and virtual reality tours to enhance quality of work through effective analytics and inspection, to accelerate the endof-lease process, to reduce cost of refurbishment, and to provide transparency of outsourced activities.

recommend permissioned blockchain network for business, where the real threat is the human intervention in the process, not the power of hackers. Therefore, Oracle is investing in fully automated portfolios, which aim to streamline processes and/or make the business governance more digital.”

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interview

Ushering in a new digital era Alaa Elshimy, MD and VP of Huawei Enterprise Group in the Middle East, explains what digital transformation entails, and how his company is making it work around the world.

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s digital transformation just a buzzword or is it really happening? Every CEO I’d met over the last 12 months is talking about digital transformation. We have moved from the exploration phase into the planning phase now. Today, the role of ICT in transforming businesses is crucial and technology is at the core of every business. CEOs have become main sponsors of digital transformation because it has a direct impact on business and the long-term success of organisations. Of course, CIOs will be in the driver seat on digital transformation. Do you think we have the ICT infrastructure ready to support this? If you look at digital transformation from an infrastructure perspective, there are three key basic building blocks – devices, cloud and connectivity. We already have a good ecosystem of devices and sensors in place. Cloud is gaining steam in the region, and 50 percent of businesses are either on private or public cloud. On the connectivity front, we have launched 5G in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. I believe 5G will make a big difference to IoT and smart cities and drive digital transformation in many industries. 14

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Cloud is a key underpinning technology for digital transformation. But, this region is lagging behind in adoption. Will that be a barrier? I agree that we are lagging behind in cloud adoption because many countries have their own regulations as to where data should reside. Which is why we think hybrid is the right answer. In the Middle East, I’d say around 25 percent businesses are on private and another 25 percent on public. The rest still deploys technologies on-premise, but that number is declining now. Though many enterprises have turned to the cloud, attracted by as-a-service model, they still have many key applications and data on-premise. I don’t think It will ever be 100 percent public cloud for IT consumption and hybrid IT is the future. What is Huawei’s cloud strategy? Globally our vision is to become one of the biggest cloud service providers. We are the largest public cloud service provider in China and we provide some services in Europe through partnership with telecom service providers. However, we are careful outside of China and we work with telcos to enable them to provide cloud services. If you come to the Middle East, our focus is on private and hybrid cloud. We provide the

infrastructure, platform and solutions around it, but we are not planning to offer any public cloud services directly here. AI and blockchain are two of the biggest tech trends of our time. Are you excited about this market opportunity? AI and blockchain will be the two key technologies that will transform industries and maybe even our lives in the next five to ten years. Our strategy is to apply AI to digital transformation. Today, everyone is talking about AI, but we really don’t have many industryoriented AI applications. Huawei’s AI strategy is two-pronged. We provide a platform for developing AI applications hosted on our public cloud in China. We have also applied AI, especially in the area of natural language processing, to our own business operations to improve efficiencies. For example, 65 percent of the calls you make to any Huawei system today are answered by machines. We provide number of  verticalspecific AI solutions for domains such as supply chain, where we have applied AI to logistics and digital warehousing with our container optimisation solution, which enables a 3D view of each container. This has helped improve the efficiency of overall container usage by 7


percent, leading to millions of dollars in cost savings for the industry. For the smart cities, we offer an AI-enabled video cloud solution that provides global video sharing, remote retrieval, etc., resulting in massive improvement in public safety. We are also building purpose-built appliances for AI solutions and we were the first company to launch a smartphone with an AI chipset. As for blockchain, we don’t develop any applications but provide the supporting infrastructure. Is digital transformation a business focal point for you? Yes, we continue to focus on digital transformation and our guiding principle is business driven ICT infrastructure (BDII). We want to enable the new industrial revolution and create nextgen ICT infrastructure across various industries. I will give you an example of the ecosystem we are developing for Oil & Gas, a sector which is looking to increase production, cut costs and create safer environments for its employees. Today, 70 percent of oil fields in the Middle East rely on manual operations. They can’t monitor the production process and lack precise control methods. We provide a digital oilfield solution that helps these companies monitor their production facilities in real time, optimise production management and significantly reduce labour costs. That is for upstream, and for midstream oil companies the biggest issue is around explosion of pipelines and pilferage. To address this, we provide a digital pipeline solution, which combines intelligent video surveillance with multimedia communications to enable secure operations for oil and gas pipelines. We do realise no single vendor can deliver digital transformation for entire industries, so we have partnered with a number of ecosystem partners to accelerate this drive. You can see these pre-tested vertical solutions we have developed along with partners in our OpenLab.

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feature

The age of machines Artificial intelligence is coming to work. What does it mean to you and your business?

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he hype around artificial intelligence has reached a crescendo, with its potential to automate business and IT operations being touted as the next big thing. For CIOs, it is important to look beyond all the fluff and guff and grasp the potential impact of the technology on their business processes. Gartner says meaningful AI deployment are just beginning to take place and its 2018 survey shows only four percent of CIOs have actually implemented. However, 46 percent of Gartner CIO survey respondents said they have developed plans to deploy artificial intelligence. Though these are still early days, no one can deny the tremendous business benefits of AI and its growth could be dramatic. According to PWC, AI is going to be a big game changer in the global economy and could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030. Of this, $6.6 trillion is likely to come from increased productivity and $9.1 trillion from benefits to consumers. PwC estimates that the Middle East is expected to accrue 2 percent of the total benefits of AI in 2030, which is equivalent to $320 billion. “This represents a significant opportunity for the region where

While AI might result in loss of certain jobs, many more will be created. It is important to understand that fundamentally, AI is not strong at creative, interpersonal or physical work. Mark Ackerman, Regional Director, MESAT & EE - ServiceNow leadership in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have already demonstrated strong commitment towards the development and implementation of AI technologies while businesses have also been investing heavily in new technology, supported by governments,” says Eyad Shihabi, VP of MENA and Turkey at BT. Dr Hichem Maya, head of industries, SAP MENA says, AI has rapidly entered the Middle East’s mainstream business world, with about 90 percent of business leaders worldwide believing that artificial intelligence is critical to their survival over the next five years, citing a recent SAP survey.

the primary value of AI is around automation. As a consequence, just about anywhere we currently use humans to complete repetitive tasks, AI can help. Christian Putz, director, emerging, EMEA at Pure Storage

Is AI already a mainstream technology or is it yet to come of age? “Now AI is starting to catch up with the hype and overtake human imagination. However, even with the current rate of advancement and innovation, I believe we are still a few years away from realising the full potential of AI. By that I mean intelligent machines able to learn, create and adapt to any situation, essentially being capable of all the cognitive functions that a human brain is. That being said, the primary value of AI is around automation. As a consequence, just about anywhere we currently use humans to complete repetitive tasks, AI can help,” says Christian Putz, director, emerging, EMEA at Pure Storage. Impending doom? AI is a disruptive technology with a major impact on everything, including the future of work. According to a recent Oxford study, AI and next generation of robots would replace 47 percent of blue and white collar jobs worldwide. Mark Ackerman, regional director of ServiceNow, allays such fears: “While AI might result in loss of certain jobs, many more will be created. It is important to understand that fundamentally, AI is not strong at creative, interpersonal or physical work. It will be used for

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feature

“decision support, not decision making.” He adds it is more likely that the amount of work each worker will need to complete will be reduced and simplified rather than eliminated. Employees will feel more satisfaction in what they do because they can focus less on the mundane and more on the strategic. Customer satisfaction will increase because customers will have more human interactions, faster, with people who know how to resolve issues they have. In addition, customers will have more convenience than ever before. “On the future of work, technology companies are vital in ensuring that AI does not pit man vs machine, but rather enables augmented humanity. Co-working robots can replace jobs that are repetitive or dangerous, and public-private-academic partnerships are vital to retrain workers and foster collaboration, creativity, and innovation skills,” says Maya from SAP. Putz from Pure Storage agrees that AI will free up human employees to pursue more strategic, innovative and customer-focused tasks. As a proof point, he points to results from a MIT report in which 73% of respondents believe that there will be a limit to how far data can take organisations without human intervention. Furthermore, 83% believe that human intelligence will still be necessary to interpret the data and take decisions. “As such, I believe there will always be a need for human intervention in any AI initiative. The key for organisations will be to understand

On the future of work, technology companies are vital in ensuring that AI does not pit man vs machine, but rather enables augmented humanity. Coworking robots can replace jobs that are repetitive or dangerous, and publicprivate-academic partnerships are vital to retrain workers and foster collaboration, creativity, and innovation skills, Hichem Maya, Head of Industries, SAP MENA the human-machine interaction and find the right balance to ensure success of AI-driven projects,” he says. Which industries are ripe for AI and machine learning? According to research conducted by IDC, the biggest opportunity for AI in the Middle East and Africa region is in the financial sector which will account for 25% of all AI investment in the region predicted for 2021. This is followed by the public services, including education and healthcare, and the manufacturing sector. “AI is delivering two chief things in the finance sector: it’s automating many middle and back-office functions, and it’s also letting firms train machine-learning algorithms to recognise patterns in massive datasets - so they can discover actionable, profitable insights that banks

the primary value of AI is around automation. As a consequence, just about anywhere we currently use humans to complete repetitive tasks, AI can help. Eyad Shihabi, VP, BT MENA and Turkey

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and finance houses can process, respond and react to,” says Shihabi from BT. Ackerman from says information technology, manufacturing, financial services and human resources will all see significant improvement and productivity gains because of AI. These industries have many repetitive tasks that can be easily automated, helping workers become more productive. For example, AI can streamline the onboarding process of a new employee. It can alert HR when background checks are completed and aid them with the creation of benefits packages and employment contracts. It can help IT order and provision new equipment. Similarly, it can help the employee complete and send tax forms and direct deposit information to finance, he adds. Be that as it may, it is important for CIO to do a reality check before adopting AI as it requires significant integration and customisation, and relevant standards are still emerging. “AI projects need to be tied into wider digital transformation strategies. Organisations need to modernise their technology infrastructure, and integrate emerging technologies on one digital platform for the biggest business benefit. If you compare these technologies to a body, then AI and machine learning are the brain, the Internet of Things is the nervous system, and blockchain as the trust,” says Maya from SAP.


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viewpoint

Why automation will solve your network problems Mike Bushong, Vice President, Enterprise and Cloud Marketing, Juniper Networks, writes why high degree of automation can ease network headaches

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utomation has been part of enterprise networking ambitions for the better part of two decades. However, despite nearly 20 years of desire, the vast majority of enterprise networking is still driven manually. At some point, if the industry is going to take a collective step forward, it has to develop an opinion on what is holding automation back, and then take fundamental steps forward to ensure that those obstacles are overcome. But where do enterprises start? Start with why The common refrain from management on both the user and vendor sides is that automation is the key to reduced operational expense and greater agility. But in framing the discussion around these points, leadership has been simultaneously misconstruing the primary goal of automation while dissuading and distracting teams from taking meaningful action. Companies that view IT primarily as a cost centre will likely find that there is never a good time to automate.

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Companies that view IT primarily as a cost centre will likely find that there is never a good time to automate. Directing resources away from higherpriority projects to what is viewed as better hygiene is a difficult case to make in companies concerned mostly with alleviating OpEx pressures.

Directing resources away from higher-priority projects to what is viewed as better hygiene is a difficult case to make in companies concerned mostly with alleviating OpEx pressures. So, where the network is not a core part of the business, it’s unlikely to see the requisite investments to really make progress on an ambitious automation agenda. Perhaps more insidious, though, is the fact that the very people required to embrace automation in these companies are the ones who fear they will lose their jobs as a result. While it is unlikely that automation leads directly to job loss, leaders are unintentionally poisoning the workforce, which will create cultural misalignment certain to dampen progress. But what about agility? Surely, automation is about making things go faster. Except that speed is not the issue. In today’s enterprise networks, most enterprises are capable of scripting their changes and building basic automation hooks to move faster. The reason they don’t? Because moving faster when making changes to something that has been historically fragile is dangerous.


Automation requires a heavy emphasis on things like monitoring and analytics, which means building these as requirements into device selection.

If enterprises want to be speedy but cannot because of fear of breaking things, then automation must fundamentally address the reliability issue. If the network becomes more reliable, then enterprises will be able to move more quickly, which drives both cost and agility. It’s not that cost and agility are not downstream benefits, but they only come as a result of making the network more reliable. Nouns vs. verbs When it comes to network automation, the most basic question that most enterprises struggle with is: what do you want to automate? Almost invariably, the first response is: the network. The challenge here is a matter of nouns and verbs. At a foundational level, enterprises cannot automate a network any more than they can automate a table. Automation is about verbs—the act of doing something on a network. And without a solid understanding of what the verbs are, there is no good place to start. The verbs to focus on are workflows. In a discipline defined primarily by configuration syntax, there is a surprising lack of emphasis on

workflows. Workflows are sets of tasks that are strung together to meet some meaningful business objective. In the absence of knowing what the workflows are, it’s difficult for operations teams to identify the likely candidates for automation. Companies interested in making headway in the automation arena need to become masters of workflow identification. Not all workflows are created equal If you ask an individual to identify workflows, she will likely default to workflows over which she has full control. That is to say that the workflows that most people identify are the ones over which they have full, end-to-end control. The problem here is that these are not the highest-value automation targets. Automation is not about removing keystrokes. The elapsed time to complete a workflow is rarely dominated by typing time. Rather, time accrues at the boundaries. Those boundaries can be between people, as when collaborating on a task. They can be between systems, particularly when output from one system is used as an input into another. Or they can be

between organisations, such as when teams must coordinate on a project. The implication here is that there is rarely a single individual who spans these boundaries, which means that enterprises need to expand their working teams if they want to deliver transformational value. Automation needs architects, too Finally, if enterprises want to really reap the rewards of a strong automation practice, they need to think about automation as a starting requirement rather than an operational bolt-on. For far too many enterprises, automation is something that happens in the weeks and months and even years that follow a major deployment. Automation requires a heavy emphasis on things like monitoring and analytics, which means building these as requirements into device selection. It relies on data distribution so that information can be shared across boundaries, which means having a strategy for connecting things and people beyond just process. And it requires an architectural approach that promotes explicitly the reuse of automation building blocks. Only with heavy reuse can the primary objective of reliability be achieved. One more thing: the cloud As a closing thought, reliability is built on the back of uniformity, which means that automation must drive uniformity. Networking is notoriously bespoke, as is the case with fragile things. When it’s not absolutely critical, don’t change anything. But this leads to operational diversity—the enemy of automation. So as enterprises consider their moves to the cloud, they should be expressly thinking about how to drive workflow uniformity despite the differences in infrastructure. Doing this will ensure that automation is not just relevant in on-premises solutions but also in the future architectures surely to include some measure of cloud.

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Interview

On the front line of defence

Hani Nofal, VP of Intelligent Network Solutions, Security and Mobility at GBM, talks about the cybersecurity market in the Gulf and trends going forward.

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hat changes have you seen in tech purchasing behaviour? There has been a dramatic change in end-user expectations. Their buying behaviour and patterns are changing. The times when people bought new technologies just because they didn’t have any budget constraints or wanted to stay up-to-date are long gone now. What we are seeing is that customers are doing due diligence and looking at the business case for any technology investment. Clearly, there is a big shift in IT investment from a Capex to Opex model. There are still many critical infrastructure projects going on where customers are requesting 3-4 years’ time of Opex engagement. In certain domains, companies are looking to outsource their IT operations, and there is a growing appetite for managed services, as compared to a few years ago.

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Our business is growing, and we have just closed our H1 results with a yearon-year growth as a group. The growth of our networking and security business has also exceeded our expectations. This has become a market for really mature companies with deep roots; it is not a market where you can be opportunistic. The region is stabilising from geopolitical uncertainties and we are seeing, in general, a decent pipeline with solid and strategic projects. Cybersecurity is the bright spot in an otherwise sluggish IT market. Don’t you think this space is getting a bit crowded now? It is still a highly fragmented market. We spend a lot of time to understand how to build an offering that doesn’t leave any stone unturned and bring value to the users. It is crowded in the legacy security domain, but on the other hand, you have many niche players coming into certain areas of cybersecurity, which is a positive sign. However, there is a big question mark at the longevity of these vendors; most of them are small players who might get acquired or become cashstrapped. We don’t want to end up with a technology or a vendor that is vanishing from the market. This is why we continue to be standardised on two or three core suppliers, and it is IBM and Cisco for us, arguably the two largest security vendors today. We do have a lot of complementary solutions that create a story for us that we can take to the market. We typically look for products and solutions that complement our services offering. In any other domain, you can do basic implementation, offer break/ fix IT support, but you can’t do that in security. It’s not about building the technology or putting the pieces the puzzle together; it is about running the whole process to ensure that the technology will meet your needs and protect your business. We have built a comprehensive security suite with people of high caliber from all over the world. If you want to classify how companies work in the

In fact, 81 percent of respondents to our annual security survey still prefer having their security operations onpremise. security domain, you will find vendors with vision, but they can be counted on one hand. There are many niche players who offer solutions that plug into a particular area, but they are still point products. On the services front, you don’t have many system integrators who understand security. That is a key differentiator for us, and we do have a broad spectrum of products and solutions outside of security as well.

a managed security service provider. One key finding of our survey was that 32 percent of organisations in the Gulf did not have a SOC, which rules out detection and response strategy. Are you looking at the market opportunities around AI and blockchain? It is the next big thing, and you can see a lot of commitment from governments in the region to take advantage of the value they bring to the table. Clearly, we play a role with IBM, which happens to be a leader in both these domains. However, these technologies are still evolving and there is a lot of work to be done by the principles themselves. Our job is to ensure that we have the capabilities to bring these emerging technologies to our customers and we work very closely with IBM on cognitive computing. We are embedding these capabilities to almost every solution we offer, whether it is analytics or security, so that our customers can benefit from it.

Should we now look to automating security functions with AI and Do you have any plans to build a SOC? machine learning? We have always looked at the business I think there are many security case of building one, and the short processes that you need to automate. answer is no. There is not a reason for What we need to realise is that the that – our customers are primarily large same modern technology that we enterprises and government entities, use to protect our organisations can which have on-premise SOCs. In fact, be used by cybercriminals to break 81 percent of respondents to our annual it down. We have pointed this out in security survey still prefer having their our annual survey, where we said the security operations on-premise; they future of cybersecurity will be intelligent will ask you to build it and if required, machines fighting with one another operate it, but they are not likely to over your organisation’s data. I think AI outsource it. Our strategy is focused on and machine learning-driven security enabling and building on-premise SOCs. automation is not an option anymore, If you look around, I don’t think just because anyone has been of the sheer successful in the sophistication of managed SOC attacks and the market. Having volume of data said that, SMEs being collected by that face shortage of organisations in the Gulf organisations. You of skills, and cost did not have a SOC, which cannot process it constraints are manually in a short likely to outsource rules out detection and time to take the their security response strategy. right decisions. requirements to

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feature

Danger ahead It’s time for enterprises to get serious about IoT security and tackle impending threats with structural changes

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he Internet of Things, which will connect billions of devices with sensors, promises to transform our everyday lives and the way we do business. Gartner predicts that by 2020, IoT technology will be in 95 percent of electronics for new products, and IHS Markit estimates that the total number of IoT devices will reach 135 billion in 2030. What does this kind of ubiquitous connectivity mean for corporate networks? With its tremendous business potential, IoT also comes with major security risks and challenges. The biggest challenge around IoT for businesses is the lack of visibility into the devices and software that are used while externalising network connectivity. According to a study on IoT adoption, Gartner says that organisations will spend $1.5 billion on IoT security alone by next year. “In essence, most IoT devices don’t have the usual protection that traditional IT devices like computers have. No doubt, IoT is exponentially increasing the attack surface, creating new and unforeseen challenges for organisations and those responsible for defending the infrastructure. Attackers see benefits to IoT as well—namely, the ability to take control of IoT devices with weak or no security and build powerful IoT botnets,”

says Fady Younes, cybersecurity director – MEA, Cisco. They also see value in taking control of operational technology (OT) systems, which are often used to manage critical infrastructure. When thinking about protecting IoT devices, we need to look beyond the devices themselves and bring integrated security from the fabric that connects them, namely the network. The network acts as sensor and enforcer and as the main line of defense for IoT, he adds. Mohammad Jamal Tabbara, senior sales engineer at Infoblox, point out that almost 57 percent of IoT devices today are not secured. Unfortunately, many of the IoT devices that exist today lack the necessary and fundamental security measures needed in order to IoT devices and ecosystems. This will continue unless regulation happens, he says. Nicolai Solling, CTO of Help AG, agrees: “We are talking about as many as 50 billion sensors by 2020. The majority of these sensors are cheap, low cost devices- a necessary factor as there are so many of them. When you buy a $7 smart sensor, how much security do you then think went into the design and the hardware and software, or were the developers merely trying to solve a specific practical scenario?” From a practical security perspective, the biggest issue with IoT is how to

Like any other software we will have vulnerabilities on IoT devices and we will need to patch, maintain and secure them - but the problem is staggering simply due to the numbers. Nicolai Solling, CTO. Help AG

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maintain the devices. Like any other software we will have vulnerabilities on IoT devices and we will need to patch, maintain and secure them - but the problem is staggering simply due to the numbers. As we rely more and more on the devices in all aspects in life we will end up with the perfect scenario for a denial of service in a scale we have never experienced before, he warns. What should users consider when implementing an IoT security? “To reduce risks associated with IoT devices, consumers and businesses alike should investigate how the device is accessed and whether it stores sensitive data. They should avoid installing unknown software and, whenever possible, configure strong passwords on devices,” says Mohammed Al-Moneer, Regional Director, MENA at A10 Networks. Younes from Cisco says the most important advice is to take a unified, policy-based architectural approach to IoT security, by involving security and cyber teams from the start of an IoT deployment to implement a comprehensive strategy across the company. Tabbara from Infoblox says whenever a new IoT device is brought to a corporate network, you must at least start with enforcing the fundament secure polices to ensure that you have the basic IoT device protection such as enabling data encryption and secure authentication, along with continuously updating and patching your IoT firmware or OS. “From on-premise infrastructure

all IoT network communications should be monitored to the Internet, and other trusted networks, to identify any anomalous behaviour. Morey Haber, CTO, BeyondTrust perspective, ensure that your network security solutions are providing a secure and legitimate communication with the public Internet,” he says. For enterprises, it might also be a good idea to build separate networks for IoT device to keep threat actors at bay. “Using basic capabilities in modern network routers and switches, all IoT devices should be networked using separate wireless networks and VLANs. All communications from IoT networks should be explicitly blocked from critical servers, databases, and workstations that should not communicate directly with the devices. This helps ensure that if an IoT device is compromised, it cannot directly be leveraged to steal critical information. If possible, all IoT network communications should be monitored to the Internet, and other trusted networks, to identify any

Attackers see benefits to IoT as well—namely, the ability to take control of IoT devices with weak or no security and build powerful IoT botnets. Fady Younes, cybersecurity director – MEA, Cisco 26

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anomalous behaviour,” says Morey Haber, CTO at BeyondTrust.  Going forward, industry experts believe AI and machine learning will help in mitigating many IoT security vulnerabilities. “The best defense against machines will be other machines. For example, AI malware coming up against defensive AI. Use of advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence can also help security teams overcome skills and resource gaps — a common problem for organisations around the globe due to the current cybersecurity talent gap. Through automation, defenders can also better manage the scale of threats as the security perimeter continues to dissolve due to the cloud and the expanding Internet of Things (IoT),” says Younes. Solling concurs that AI will allow us to identify early indicators of compromise as well as understanding the actual vulnerabilities in a solution. “There is a lot of research around securing IoT today. While we talk about IoT as being something new you should also understand that many of the applications on IoT is utilising software libraries, protocol and network stacks as well as chipsets readily available in the market. Therefore, a vulnerability in any of those may also expose the IoT application. Automating such vulnerability assessments through AI and ML is one of the areas where we will see a lot of benefits,” he says.


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viewpoint

A digital vaccine for cyberattacks Necip Ozyucel, Cloud & Enterprise Group Lead, Microsoft Gulf, argues that AI and blockchain will drive the future of cybersecurity

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uman progress has always been a double-edged sword, never more so as it applies to the field of technology. As we have lurched from the telephone to the microprocessor to the Internet to the hyper-connected world we now live in, there have been those that have exploited the change for profit or amusement. The cybercriminal has become the smallpox of the digital era.

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According to TrendMicro research, 2016 saw ransomware grow by 750% globally. Another study revealed that the average cost of data breach in 2017 was $3.6 Million, while the estimated cost of cybercrime to the global economy can go up to $8 Trillion by 2022. UK-based insurance company Hiscox, in February 2017, claimed that cybercrime costs the global economy some $450 billion annually. For comparison, by World Bank estimates, this is more than the GDP of Austria or Norway… or the United Arab Emirates. According to Hiscox, less than half of US, UK and German businesses were ready to deal with the malware onslaught that continues to swell and innovate. Here in the GCC, an October 2017 survey by Microsoft of 1,000 regional companies revealed that more than 80% of large enterprises still use only usernames and passwords for authentication, and more than half reported a 10%-or-higher proportion of received emails as some degree of junk. Further, some 41% admitted to having clicked on links within such emails that led to unwanted websites. These unprepared organisations face a treacherous threat landscape that becomes uglier by the day. Last year, while ransomware’s average demand

fell to $522, the number of attacks from digital imps such as Petya/Not Petya and WannaCry soared. And as the price of bitcoin rocketed, so-called cryptojacking – the practice of slaving a machine to crack cyptocurrency problems – emerged as another mushrooming trend, with one estimate suggesting a detection increase of 8,500%. Artificial Intelligence can help in identifying digital crimes. By using AI, we can detect anomalies from identity and access perspective to spams and ransomware threats. One very common scenario is detecting identity theft by using anomalies such as a user may log from different cities in very short time which is not possible to travel. Another one is detecting any anomalies over shared data inside and outside of organisations by using AI and information protection technologies. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are not only good for detecting anomalies based on user behaviour analytics, but also good for analysing infrastructure and applications such as blocking new and unknown malware, complying with security policies and avoiding old and unsupported applications. So, what are we to do about this scourge? What shall serve as our


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viewpoint

Jenner’s vaccine? Well, we cannot ignore the need to plug an obvious cyber-security skills gap. And we should, of course, shore up corporate fundamentals through the proper training of staff and implementation of strict-but-flexible security policies. But we can also find a strong and able ally in artificial intelligence. As attacks become recognised by security professionals as inevitable, those same specialists have turned to the digital world itself for the inoculant that can send the cyber-miscreant packing. Digital transformation has gathered pace as organisations across industries have realised that cloud providers must – and do – spend billions of dollars annually into AI-based cybersecurity. Therefore, rather than seeing the cloud as a lawless wasteland for their data and infrastructure, those organisations have recognised that the intelligent cloud is perhaps the best safehaven available. Technology companies and largescale cloud providers have changed their cyber-security game. Instead of the old gambit of trying to keep pace with cybervillains, they have came up with new and improved ways of analysing behaviour 30

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on a network, taking a holistic view of activity and processes. As those familiar with chess might say: “See the whole board.” Today, technologies like blockchain can also help. Blockchain has served as a foundation for transactional transparency for virtual currency bitcoin. Its architecture consists of a distributed ledger, held by a community of willing participants. Since no one person or organisation is in possession of the entire transaction history – the creation of a bitcoin and its subsequent passing from hand to hand – no one can game the system. Blockchain requires a shared consensus as to the nature of data, and that has hopeful implications for our cyber-vaccine search. By combining its architecture with AI solutions and even the Internet of Things, we can use the encryption capabilities distributed nature and audit trail of blockchain to put an end to the concept of entry points. At the very least, we can add a problematic array of complexities to the task of infiltration. Blockchain`s nature of keeping data distributed and can`t be changed is great for avoiding any fraud keep stakeholders in a blockchain

We strongly believe technologies such as AI and blockchain can be cybersecurity game-changers, enabling security actors to detect, protect and respond faster and more meaningfully. consortium accountable by giving single view of truth open to all members. We strongly believe technologies such as AI and blockchain can be cybersecurity game-changers, enabling security actors to detect, protect and respond faster and more meaningfully. In short, AI can analyse huge amount of data that can`t be done by humans, detect anomalies to prevent any breach or fraud and automate tasks to bring immediate protection to incidents while blockchain can provide secure by design platform to build trust and drive accountability. The forward-thinking CISO now looks to AI as the panacea for the diseaseridden landscape. After all, we talk about smart cities, we are glued to smart TVs and smart phones. Why shouldn’t we protect ourselves with smart cybersecurity?


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Interview

Pushing the limits

Oracle believes the future of IT is autonomous and is extending AI-based automation capabilities across its entire cloud platform. Samina Rizwan, Senior Director, Analytics for Middle East and Africa at Oracle, talks about how her company is planning to empower technology to take care of itself.

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s the concept of autonomous IT very similar to that of autonomous cars? Self-driving cars are seen as the poster child for autonomous technology. When you say autonomous, it implies three things – self-driving, self-healing and more importantly, self-securing. Yes, selfdriving, connected car is a good example of autonomy. Other good examples are bots with natural language processing, and sensor-driven manufacturing processes. Some level of machine learning and AI, on which autonomous IT is based, is already at play, and we encounter these capabilities in our everyday lives and it is going to grow exponentially. By 2020, over 10 million self-driving cars will be on roads globally. Similarly, 50 percent of the world’s enterprise data will be handed autonomously. Also, over 90 percent of business applications will have components of AI embedded into them. These might be technology terminologies, but they have a direct impact on business outcomes in terms of lower cost, lower risk and higher predictability using analytics. What is Oracle’s vision of autonomous IT? Our core competence is data. We provide end-to-end, top-to-bottom,

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technology solutions to businesses of all sizes and public sector. What we have discovered over the past 40-odd years we have been in operation is that customers need access to smarter data, not just faster or bigger data management. We already have the fastest, biggest and competent database environments in the world. We are taking away processes, which are repetitive or prone to human errors, and handing it over to technology. The reason we are able to do this is because of the advancements in AI and deep learning technologies. Today, AI is available to you at a lower cost in a massive way, and we have embedded that into our platforms and services. Isn’t this like taking RPA to the next level? When you move from an older technology to a cutting-edge one, you are not creating something out of thin air; it is an advancement of whatever is already out there. As I said earlier, AI is already running through our everyday lives. A case in point is the UAE, one of the most digitally advanced societies in the world where we come across it all the time. But, if you step back a bit and look at the backend, you will see there is a high cost involved in providing these capabilities. We have massive repositories of data. However, if you were to do a RoI calculation of that data, you’d realise a large portion of that is still not in use. Robotics can be your first step in the automation journey and the world of autonomous systems is still evolving. Could self-driving databases leave DBAs unemployed? This is a question I get asked a lot and the answer is absolutely not. If you look at what a DBA does, 80 percent of their time is spent on helping CIOs to keep the lights on. They are checking data, making audit trails and troubleshooting if there is a breach. These are mundane tasks and our analysis shows that out of 10 odd tasks DBAs perform today, 8 are unnecessary activities. Our autonomous

in innovative digital technologies that transform businesses. We were the first to embed AI into business applications, and we called it adaptive intelligence. We have been implementing this for our customers such as DP World, Apparel Group, UAE Government, to name a few. Now, we have moved into more precise autonomous services and we are providing it at the platform level, not just application and SaaS levels. If you look at the history of data warehousing, there was a time when we used to have sequential files and it was a nightmare to glean any insights from it. We came up with the concept of a matrix of data pulled from multiple source systems, which we called the data warehouse. Every night, an enterprise would extract data from multiple sources and create a grid-like environment, which would feed data directly to executive dashboards. Then we went from data warehouse cloud will take away nightly updates to hourly to near realthese tedious tasks so that DBAs are not time updates. burdened with things that can go wrong However, data warehousing has not due to human intervention. They will be seen any technology enhancement doing more high-value tasks with the for almost a decade. It is still as data they have, and they can even evolve cumbersome as before and when to become data scientists. I meet customers, we spend more Gartner predicts that by 2022, time talking about how to manage cybersecurity rating of an enterprise will their enterprise data warehouses, become as equally important as credit which shouldn’t be the case. With our rating. The DBA job is critical to this – if autonomous data warehouse cloud, you have an autonomous environment we have done away with this problem which is self-securing, DBAs can find and you don’t need to worry about how ways and means to stop cyber breaches you should store your data and back before they could happen. In short, it up. Now, the configuration of a data DBAs and the entire IT community can warehouse, which used to take three play a bigger role and contribute to hours can be done in 15 minutes. Our business outcomes. autonomous data warehouse paired with autonomous You have been analytics cloud offering adaptive and the upcoming intelligence data science cloud apps around will allow you to ERP, HCM quickly extract and SCM from cybersecurity rating of data insights and 2016. Was that an enterprise will become help you make the beginning business decisions of Oracle’s as equally important as in real time, autonomous credit rating. all completely journey? Source: Gartner automated. We are the leader

We already have the fastest, biggest and competent database environments in the world. We are taking away processes, which are repetitive or prone to human errors, and handing it over to technology.

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roundtable

Fighting the unknown CXO Insight ME in collaboration with SentinelOne and Exclusive Networks organised a C-level roundtable discussion on the future of endpoint security.

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s threats evolve, endpoints have become the second biggest attack vector. The days of endpoint protection based on traditional anti-virus tools are over. CISOs now must look beyond these legacy tools to defend against advanced malware and zero-day exploits. How do you automate the incident detection and response process for your endpoints? How do you protect against the unknown threats of today and tomorrow? How do you create an AIinfused security strategy based on what endpoints as doing instead of tracking signatures of known malicious behaviour? To discuss these burning issues, CXO Insight ME brought together some of the top CIOs and CISOs in the region for a

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of interconnectivity and digital supply chains, it is not enough to protect just your own environment. If one of your suppliers in the ecosystem is attacked, it will have an impact on your network as well.” Providing a practitioner’s perspective on tackling insider threats, Terence Sathyanarayan, IT director of Drake & Scull, said attacks don’t come in through the front door. “All our weaponry is focused on the front door while attacks are coming from inside

closed-door, peer-to-peer discussion. The event was kicked off by Mohamed Morad, senitor solutions engineer of SentinelOne, who gave the participants a low-down on the security challenges and biggest gaps in cybersecurity today. “The average cost of a breach today is $3.6 million, and it takes, on an average, six months for organisations to detect breaches. We have invested a lot in security and yet 97 percent of organisations are attacked. This is because where we focus on and where the attacks come from. For example, we spend a lot of time around IAM and then we find attack vectors are different applications or environments,” he said. Morad added that organisations in the region need to rethink their approach to cybersecurity. “For the last 20 years, we have been thinking about only protection, and 100 percent protection is not possible. What we need is visibility to fix and remediate attacks.” Amine Dembri, regional sales director of SentinelOne, followed Morad, and made the case for artificial intelligence and behavioural analysis as the only way to protect against ransomware and zeroday attacks. “This is what characterises next-generation end-point protection. Our autonomous technology is centred around prevention, detection and response.” Amit Bhatia, CISO of Dunia Finance, echoed a similar opinion: “Currently, cybersecurity is heavily dependent on the human element. We have made significant investments in cybersecurity solutions and organisations expect it to yield returns. Technology has to go to the next level of AI and machine learning.”

Dembri went on to add that SentinelOne’s endpoint protection technology is deployed at kernel level and is not CPU-intensive. “Our agent is one of the lightest in the industry. What differentiates us from competition is that our solution can be implemented across on-prem, cloud and hybrid environments, and can be integrated with other security systems. “In fact, we are so confident about our technology that we offer ransomware protection guarantee of up to $1 million or $10,000 per infected machine to users if our protection platform fails to block or remediate attacks.” Mario Foster, CIO of Al Naboodah Group, pointed out that most of the attacks happen because companies do not follow the basics. Practicing basic cyber hygiene such as timely patching would have helped companies to prevent many exploits, he said. Vinay Sharma, CIO of Gulftainer, said the objective of endpoint security has changed over the years. “In this age

the network – from your employees. You need to have several layers of endpoint protection, combined with encryption. But, to do this per user is cost prohibitive,” he added. The issue of security siloes was brought up by Venkatesh Mahadevan, IT director of Dubai Investments. “Over the last 3-4 years, we have been investing security products as they came and now we have ended up with lots of point products that don’t work together. Another issue with cybersecurity is a lot of use make decisions based on where we are at this stage, and how much money the organisation has. It is tough to convince the board to give us some mindshare on security.” Other participants in the roundtable included: Ajay Rathi, CIO of Meraas; A Raheem, CIO of AG Melco; Ankit Satsangi, CISO of Azizi Developments; Ashith Piriyattiath, CIO of Al Masah Capital; M N Chaturvedi, CIO of Al Shirawi Group; and Rizwan Arain, CISO of Habib Bank Zurich.

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viewpoint

Not all cloud software is created equal Kalle Bjorn, Director, Systems Engineering, Fortinet, lists out best practices for defending against automated attacks

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he rise of cyberattacks targeting the data and critical infrastructure of nation-states is undeniable, with no sign of slowing down. From state-sponsored hackers to hacktivists to criminal enterprises, groups are leveraging the power of automation to deploy malware with speed and scale, with federal agency data and critical infrastructure in the crosshairs. Given the automated nature of many of these attacks, traditional manual approaches to defense are clearly no longer enough. However, there are

there are ways federal agencies can protect critical information and infrastructure from compromise. 36

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ways federal agencies can protect critical information and infrastructure from compromise. The automated threat landscape Cloud adoption is proving to be both a blessing and a curse. While the cloud introduces scalability and flexibility that traditional networks struggle to provide, it also expands the attack surface with out-of-band threat vectors like shadow IT and personal cloud services. In addition, an increasing reliance on connected devices to automate and perform everyday tasks reduces the security profile of agencies and invites unwanted visitors. Even encryption, meant to foster security, also has a dark side. While helpful for maintaining privacy, it presents challenges to threat monitoring and detection. Organisations — especially those with higher HTTPS ratios — cannot afford to turn a blind eye toward threats that might be lurking within encrypted communications. Cloud and encryption allow today’s malicious actors to deliver attacks faster, farther and more cheaply. Even more troubling, a huge proportion of exploit activity today is fully automated using tools that

methodically scan wide swaths of the internet, probing for opportunistic vulnerabilities. These modern tools, combined with the growing “crimeas-a-service” infrastructure, enable attackers to operate on a global scale at digital speeds. The significant threat posed by automated attacks IT security teams are facing an avalanche of security alerts, and many simply don’t have the resources or even the expertise to respond to them. Additionally, modern attacks, especially automated ones, have a short half-life; the indicators of compromise linked to these attacks fade quickly, which means teams must be able to respond when an attack is visible, not after the attack has occurred. This is a complex and difficult task in agencies with deployed network point solutions that rely primarily on humans for the necessary integration. In such environments, responding to automated attacks using defensive automation — the orchestration of alerts through devices like security information and event management products, sandboxes and similar solutions — is incredibly important.


Cybersecurity Essentials for Government Sector to protect confidential information and critical infrastructure Latest stats showed that the average total cost of a data breach in KSA and UAE combined is $5.31 million, a 7.1% increase since 2017. With the increasing number of cybersecurity incident the number of data breaches involving stolen or weak passwords has risen from 50% to 66% and then to 81% during the past three years. Since user credentials can be easily cracked or hacked, one of the essential key factors for securing access is to implement Multi-factor authentication to mitigate the vulnerabilities that could potentially be exposed by password-based authentications. As custodian of confidential information and critical infrastructure on a national level, government organizations need to reinforce cybersecurity posture and control access through a multi-factor authentication platform which provides an essential layer of security. mPass is a multi-factor authentication platform that have been designed to safeguard user credentials and ensure that confidential information is accessed only by authorized staff for effective protection from cybersecurity breaches.

Our offices Riyadh | Jeddah | Al Khobar | Dubai | Abu Dhabi info@is.com.sa | www.is.com.sa


viewpoint

That’s at the agency level. There is also a trend towards increasingly malicious cyber activity targeted at the nation’s critical infrastructure — including water systems, transportation, energy, finance and emergency services —  that is particularly worrisome because the interruption of those services can have devastating effects on the economy, impact citizens’ well-being and even cause the loss of life. In its report last year on securing critical infrastructure, the National Infrastructure Advisory Council raised concerns that the public and private sectors remain unable to move actionable information to the right people at the speed required to address cyber threats. This is primarily because many of the security systems in place require a significant level of human intervention to detect and respond to threats, and real-time threat intelligence between organisations is either limited or nonexistent. Best practices for defeating automated attacks As various security components begin to work together as an integrated system, through direct communication and coordination, agencies can begin to let the technology start to make some automated decisions. While automatically removing the actual threat may still be a distance away, once a threat is detected, automated systems can help immediately contain or isolate a breach. This gives incident response teams more time to fight the attack. To realise the potential advantages of a coordinated and automated security strategy, agencies can adopt and integrate five strategies that unify control across all attack vectors to stop automated attacks: Zero in on visibility.Use threat intelligence solutions to deepen understanding of attackers’ identity, tactics and procedures, and then start intelligently defending according to that

information. Know where critical assets are located, and prioritise security efforts there. Patch management is non-negotiable. Mirai, Hajime and newer threats such as AutoSploit are stealthier and more advanced generations of selfpropagating malware that exemplify the kind of damage that can be done when IT teams fail to patch known vulnerabilities. An intrusion prevention system is the first line of automated defense.Because manufacturers still aren’t accountable for securing internet-of-things devices,

Some ransomware can not only infect data but also seek out and infect data backups, which can be disastrous. there are billions of connected devices that are vulnerable to attack, with no patches in sight. IPS provides “virtual patching” by blocking hacks and attacks targeted at vulnerable IoT devices. Redundancy and segmentation is a must. Some ransomware can not only infect data but also seek out and infect data backups, which can be disastrous. IT managers must make sure that data backups are not only occurring but that they’re segmented and stored off-network. Improve response time.Once the above measures are in place, resources should be focused on tightening up the time to respond. Agencies must leverage proactive solutions and look at ways to

create interoperability between different security systems so that information on an event identified on one device is automatically shared across the entire distributed security architecture. The challenge is that most organisations have deployed many different solutions from different providers that do not natively communicate, share threat information or even digest threat intelligence and convert it into actionable protections. Agencies should strive to reduce that complexity by further integrating solutions, focusing on interoperability as devices are purchased or replaced and consolidating existing security devices so that they can leverage a common operating system or management interface. Unite and conquer However strong an IT security team may be, it cannot keep up with automated attacks unaided. New generations of network incursions must be detected and dealt with quickly, before they can do damage and before their trail fades away. A system of integrated, orchestrated security solutions enables organisations to fight automation with automation, using cybercriminals’ own tactics to turn the tables on them and shorten the time to detection so that forensic analysis can begin immediately and the security lifecycle can be strengthened. This can’t be done in isolation. The public and private sectors must come together to find ways to automate the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The government can’t solve the problem alone. Critical infrastructures are primarily owned and operated by the private sector, and commercial firms can’t be expected to take on other nations’ cyber militaries. By working together in small ways, beginning with broadening security expertise and conducting joint cyber projects, industry and government can combine their strengths to defeat bad actors.

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advertorial

SD-WAN: What is the right choice for you? Raafat Kastoun, systems engineering manager at Barracuda, spells out reasons to consider Barracuda for your SD-WAN solution.

A

n SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network (WAN) is an application of softwaredefined networking (SDN) technology that provides software-based control over wide area network connections. SD-WAN technology simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by decoupling (separating) the networking hardware from its control mechanism. It essentially “virtualizes” the WAN so that you can configure the network and route traffic without dealing with proprietary hardware connections. Gartner predicted all the way back in 2015 that by 2019 30% of all enterprises would have deployed SD-WAN in their branches. This is because instead of installing traditional specialized WAN technology that includes expensive hardware and software, SD-WAN provides the flexibility to utilize less expensive and commercially available internet access with the same if not better security and reliability. How Barracuda can help The Barracuda CloudGen Firewall combines a comprehensive set of advanced security features with capabilities that support and optimize SD-WAN. Traditional SD-WAN devices only deal with network routing and require you to purchase separate firewalls, often from different vendors, to provide network security. Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls are all-in-one devices that combine both products into a single package—a cloud-generation network firewall to provide security and an SD-WAN controller to provide cost-effective connectivity.   Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls make it easy to create secure pathways across multiple WAN connections and multiple carriers, minimizing administrative overhead while optimizing your cost structures. Advanced load sharing lets you distribute encrypted VPN tunnels across multiple WAN connections simultaneously. Built-in compression, caching, and WAN optimization technologies significantly increase your available bandwidth. These capabilities reduce your need for expensive leased lines, consolidate multiple security functions into a single device, and create a unified management framework—all of which results in significant cost savings for your organization.

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The Barracuda Advantage 1. Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls enable SD-WAN with fully integrated security: Advanced security functions include application enforcement, IPS, URL filtering, antivirus, sandboxing (ATP), and Denial-of-Service protection. 2. High capacity connectivity: Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls can enable up to 24 links of consumer-grade circuits to deliver business-grade Internet. 3. Link bandwidth optimization and failover: Barracuda’s CloudGen Firewalls can map QoS on an application basis – providing higher prioritization to time-sensitive applications, routing them over preferred links. Upon link failure, bandwidth is automatically readjusted over the remaining links. 4.Zero-touch deployment keeps the cost out of deploying SD-WAN; simply ship the device directto-site and have someone make the connections. The firewall then automatically obtains its configuration from the cloud portal. 5. Simplified site-to-site, site-to-cloud, and cloud-to-cloud VPN: The Barracuda GTI (Graphical Tunnel Interface) in the CloudGen Firewall takes the complexity out of setting up VPNs by allowing customers to draw VPNs between sites. Customers can create point-to point VPNs or fully meshed VPNs through this interface in minutes.

If you’re interested in trying Barracuda’s SD-WAN solution for yourself, contact us on MarketingMET_ team@barracuda.com to request a free trial. 


Column

Tryst with digital destiny In a series, Venkatesh Mahadevan, CIO of Dubai Investments, pares the fat and lays bare the secrets to succeed in the digital transformation journey.

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igital transformation in the Industry 4.0 era is not a question of “will you?” but more of “when”? A report by SAP highlighted the poor state of digital transformation efforts around the world. It found that 84% of companies regard digital transformation as crucial, yet just 3% have actually finished any company-wide effort. After having spent over two decades and more in information technology with leading multi-national Fortune 100 corporations, I can finally say with a lot of confidence that ‘information technology’(IT) and the ‘business’ are finally figuring out efficient and effective ways of collaborating to achieve the shared objectives of their organisation for effectively progressing on the journey of digital transformation. Successful digital transformation requires a lot of planning and utmost clarity in execution. IDC estimates spending on digital transformation will exceed $2 trillion in 2019; They also forecast that 40 percent of all technology spending will be for digital transformation technologies. It is also heartening to note that a lot of organisations today see the CIOs and

IT to play a strategic role in transforming their business in different areas. I also believe that we, as technology leaders, owe it to our Board / Stakeholders to tell them where their money is being spent. Perception of IT as a black hole must change and it is our responsibility to ensure that transparency is maintained, and value is tabled. Digital transformation is not a onetime activity, but an Initiative that causes shake-up within the organisation, uproots the rigid structures that exist and enable them to make it adaptable to achieve its higher business goals. It’s akin to turning something over on its head. It cuts across the very fibre of the organisation and leaves no part untouched. Everyone becomes significant during the course of this transformation. Yes, digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint. Clearly, digital transformation by virtue of its definition itself means that your organisation is going to be transformed in more ways than one and in all the functions. Digital transformation in an organisation is an enterprise level activity, which technically means, every function and department in an organisation is going to be shaken up

or impacted to embrace the new and upcoming business models. Make sure you have the right Kit and have trained for this marathon. Digital transformation programmes need to be kicked off after a lot of meticulous planning and they require a lot of discipline and single-minded focus to make it a success. One other attribute that is key is ‘patience’. Success has never been achieved overnight and surely not in the space of digital transformation. So be prepared to burn those long hours and watch the candle height go down, but importantly, keep the flame of hope burning and stay fresh through your journey. Just like in a marathon, where you need people along the way to offer you water, fluids, fruits etc., to ensure that you stay hydrated, similarly, during a digital transformation programme, the right people need to be identified to play key roles during this journey - playing their roles at the right time is also a key to success. Digital transformation is not a onetime project that has got a fixed start and end date. It is a constant state of everchanging scenarios where organisations need to keep abreast of the marketplace and adapt themselves.

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products

Axis ExCam dome camera

AMD Radeon Pro V340

A

MD has launched the Radeon Pro V340 graphics card, a highperformance dual-GPU Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution purpose-built to power and accelerate the most demanding datacentre visualisation workloads, including CAD, design, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and rendering. The AMD Radeon Pro V340 graphics card is a dual-GPU solution based on the advanced AMD “Vega” architecture, optimised to deliver extreme performance and high user density for virtualised environments. It is the first VDI hardware solution equipped with 32GB of ultra-fast, second-generation high-bandwidth memory, providing massive amounts of memory and bandwidth for today’s most complex design and media workloads.  The AMD Radeon Pro V340 graphics card is enabled by AMD MxGPU Technology, which is based on the industry-standard SR-IOV (Single Root I/O Virtualisation) technology.

Axis Communications has added ExCam XPT Q6055, an explosion-protected PTZ Network Camera, which enables real-time monitoring of the site and visual identification if an alarm has been triggered. The camera facilitates smarter decision-making for resource allocation and actions in case of an incident. Designed for potentially hazardous environments, such as refineries, oil rigs, food processing and chemical plants, the camera is certified for use in explosion-prone environments according to international standards. The stainless-steel housing is certified to worldwide standards (ATEX, IECEx, EAC), protecting against corrosion in harsh outdoor environments, as well as preventing damage from water and dust. The broad temperature range allows it to be installed in arctic as well as desert conditions.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 This new 2-in-1 Android tablet designed for people who want to do more on the go—from home to the office and everywhere in between. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 delivers an experience that helps you work smarter by keeping you operating at the highest levels. Paired with a polished modern design, an immersive display, four speakers and enhanced entertainment features, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the perfect device for those who need something portable like a tablet and capable like a PC. 42

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With the Galaxy Tab S4, Samsung is bringing Samsung DeX to the tablet for the first time. When connected to the optional Book Cover Keyboard (sold separately) or launched from the Quick Panel, the Galaxy Tab S4 powers on Samsung DeX, giving users the option to switch from the Android interface to a desktop experience. With Samsung DeX, you can open multiple desktopstyle windows for your Android apps, including the Microsoft Office suite, directly on the Galaxy Tab S4, and resize them when needed. Drag and drop content between apps and use keyboard shortcuts and commands for efficiency.


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CXO Insight ME - Issue 01 - September 2018  

Blockchain unchained

CXO Insight ME - Issue 01 - September 2018  

Blockchain unchained

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