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Providing Unparalleled Technology Intelligence

ISSUE 48 //

GITEX reviewed

Looking back at the event’s major highlights

Future-proofing operations

Port operator prepares for increase in container volumes

Spotlight on Iraq

Refugees benefit from iris identification technology

Mission critical Batelco has selected a Ciena platform as the foundation for its new Gulf network cable system which connects all countries across the GCC and provides Bahrain with a new international gateway to deal with the ever increasing amount of essential traffic.

Intelligent Endpoint Security Partner

Intelligent Data Protection Partner

Intelligent Hybrid Technology Partner

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Global ICIO Knowledge Partner

Intelligent Threat Management Partner

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Global Innovation Partner

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Enterprise Firewall Partner

Intelligent Banking & Finance Partner

BREACHES ARE INEVITABLE. BEING A HEADLINE ISN’T. Secure your systems and manage your message with world-renown incident response services and cyber threat intelligence. | ©2019 FireEye, Inc. All rights reserved.

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NEWS: Latest regional news round-up from across the Middle East LATEST INTELLIGENCE: Whitepapers from SentinalOne and Checkpoint TRENDING: Emerging technology trends showcased at GITEX INFOGRAPHIC: Mimecast report finds increase in Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks PROJECT LATEST: Updates from Egypt, KSA, Bahrain and UAE EDITOR’S QUESTION: How can IT vendors and end-users make the most of their partnerships?

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COUNTRY FOCUS: Refugees in Iraq benefit from iris identification technology FEATURE: The configuration mistakes that provide field days for hackers CASE STUDY: Nutanix helps Saudi port operator future-proof operations and prepare for increase in container volumes CASE STUDY: Ciena provides foundation for new Batelco Gulf Network


TALKING BUSINESS: What workers really want: A better employee experience FEATURE: Scaling up and becoming a global software leader CIO OPINION: Innovating to enable Digital Transformation initiatives





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INDUSTRY WATCH: Kuwait Credit Bank enables cloud-based Disaster Recovery backup system TECH TALK: Worley and Aveva to deliver first cloud-based ERM solution for EPC market GET TO KNOW: Sahem Azzam, Vice President Middle East and Africa, Orange Business Services FINAL WORD: Eliminating the blind spot



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Dubai Police to advance drone technology with DJI access to new drone technologies, training and support to promote safety and security in the country’s largest city. Under the agreement, Dubai Police will have custom access to DJI’s line-up of hardware and software solutions including DJI drones, the DJI Flight Simulator for pilot training, DJI FlightHub for drone fleet management and mission planning, as well as DJI AeroScope to help aid in the identification and remediation of unauthorised drone activity.


JI, a leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, has announced a solution development partnership with Dubai Police to test and deploy DJI drone

technology as a tool to aid its public safety professionals. The agreement marks DJI’s first partnership with a police agency in the UAE and will provide the Dubai Police with

“This partnership is set to boost cooperation, exchange experiences, share information and knowledge between both sides in the field of unmanned aerial systems,” said Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander in Chief of Dubai Police. “It reflects the keenness of Dubai Police to bring drones into the different police sectors, which helps promote safety and security in the city by utilising the latest tools and systems.”

///////////////// Sorbonne Abu Dhabi becomes first UAE university to transition to Blackboard Learn SaaS


lackboard Inc, a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, has announced that Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, established in association with Sorbonne University in Paris, has become the first university in the UAE to transition its virtual learning environment to the Software-as-aService (SaaS) delivery model of Blackboard Learn. The transition to the cloud will allow over 800 students and 100 educators to experience anywhere–anytime learning with zero downtime updates. The institution will leverage Blackboard Learn SaaS to enhance its digital infrastructure. “Moving to a cloud-based delivery model is an important first step for us,” said Hamdan Alkalbani, Head of the Digital Transformation and Innovation Department at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, which specialises in arts, law, humanities, business and science degrees. “It sets in motion our strategic plan to become the first fully digital campus in the UAE, and zero downtime is critical to achieving this objective. Our students can now benefit from improved stability as well as experience increased mobility and interactive learning.” Sorbonne Abu Dhabi will further leverage the SaaS deployment to introduce blended learning, scale up its online courses, and better evaluate its students, educators and programmes. Learn SaaS will

also be instrumental to the university’s plans to set up a mobile application for its users with a 360-degree view and single sign-on. This will be one of many steps in the university’s shift to a cloudbased infrastructure over the next two years. INTELLIGENTCIO



ADDA forges new strategic partnership with Orange Business Services

Dubai Police transforms investigative processes with SAS solutions


he Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) has signed a MoU with Orange Business Services, a global integrator of communications products and services, to accelerate the Digital Transformation of the Abu Dhabi government. Orange Business Services will work in close co-operation with ADDA in the development of a co-innovation programme to explore new value-added services for the authority, with the company serving as lead integrator for customised solutions. The agreement demonstrates both parties’ aim to create an effective working partnership that will help translate the joint commitments into tangible outcomes that contribute to the goals of Abu Dhabi’s Digital Transformation agenda. In line with this, Orange Business Services has affirmed its commitment towards working collaboratively with ADDA in providing enhanced digital services and further increase synergies between government agencies with the use of innovative technologies. The MoU was signed by H E Dr Rauda Al Saadi, Director General, ADDA, and Richard Van Wageningen, Senior Vice President of Indirect, MEA and Russia, on behalf of Orange Business Services, during ADDA’s participation at GITEX. H E Dr Rauda Al Saadi, Director General, ADDA, said: “The new strategic partnership that we have forged with Orange Business Services has given us the necessary support in creating and offering key government services that continue to raise the bar in terms of implementing effective technologies.”


ubai Police and SAS, a leader in data analytics and Artificial Intelligence solutions, have entered a technological collaboration. SAS solutions will equip Dubai Police with data analytics and Artificial Intelligence capabilities for advanced predictive policing and enhanced manpower utilisation. With data flowing in from various sources, the police department will be able to quickly identify patterns, predict and prevent incidents, and accurately direct insights and intelligence. Representatives from both organisations held discussions at GITEX. Brigadier Al Razouqi stressed Dubai Police’s full commitment to its partnership with SAS. He said: “In accordance with the innovative vision of



Dubai, Dubai Police is fully committed to transforming into one of the most advanced police forces in the world and at the same time ensuring that the Emirate continues to grow in its ranking as one of the safest cities on earth. “By adopting advanced technology solutions, our vision is to help our personnel perform better and have advanced tools at their disposal to do so. We believe that a capable and equipped police force is a critical component of the Smart City of the future and essential for the happiness of citizens and residents.” Alaa Youssef, Managing Director – Middle East, SAS, said: “We are very proud to stand alongside Dubai Police on their transformation journey and remain committed to helping them unlock significant potential from a human resource base that is ably supported by an intelligent technology solution.”


Global AI Summit in KSA to become international focus for AI

Exclusive Networks hosts inaugural ‘Cloud First’ forum in KSA


loud is increasingly becoming a top priority for C-level executives across all vertical markets in the Kingdom. Organisations in Saudi Arabia (KSA) are rapidly adopting cloud solutions as the need for flexibility and speed takes effect.


audi Arabia has announced the Global AI Summit, a new global-level platform to promote the development of AI and related technologies. The Global AI Summit will take place in Riyadh on March 30 and 31 2020 and will be the leading international forum to advance AI and create knowledge sharing among global AI experts. The summit will also highlight Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to become a leader in AI technology, and drive discussions and partnerships between local and international stakeholders in the AI field. The event will be a focus for discussion on AI, its importance, applications and impact on societies, economies and politics.

The Global AI Summit was announced on the sidelines of the Foreign Investment Initiative (FII 2019) during a talk given by H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi, President of Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA). “AI is playing a central role in the Digital Transformation of all sectors of human activity, from business and enterprise, to key national industries, government, healthcare and many more areas beside,” said Dr. Abdullah. “AI is bringing us new insight and new capabilities that is reshaping the world around us. The Global AI Summit will become an international platform to discuss those changes and to understand how AI technology can be utilised for the benefit of all.”

Global cyber and cloud specialist, Exclusive Networks Middle East, has held its inaugural Cloud First conference at Narcissus Hotel & Residences, Riyadh. Attendees had the opportunity to meet the company’s cyber and cloud specialists and acquaint themselves with disruptive technologies in the space. Exclusive Networks is taking the lead to help customers in KSA accept and embrace cloud transformation. Customers were enlightened on best practices in cybersecurity and cloud. The forum served as a platform to help them to formulate the best strategy for their businesses. Exclusive Networks’ leading vendor partners such as Fortinet, F5, SentinelOne, Nutanix, Thales, Gigamon and Infoblox were present at the event and attendees had a chance to network with them. Exclusive Networks also announced the launch of the cloud competency centre – an Exclusive-led programme through which channel partners and customers can get certified as a cloud specialist. It announced that it will commence training of the 50 delegates imminently. Grant Taylor, General Manager KSA, Exclusive Network Middle East, said: “We are excited to guide customers towards embracing cloud innovations together with our channel and vendor partners.” INTELLIGENTCIO



KSA’s digital pioneers honoured at IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2019 delivering game-changing Digital Transformation initiatives across the Kingdom.

Left to right are: Steven Frantzen, IDC’s Senior Vice President for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; Alaa Al Asali – Arab National Bank; Majed Al Tahan, Co-founder and CEO of Danube Online, BinDawood Group; Dr Saleh AlMugrin – Ministry of Defense; Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC’s Country Manager for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain


ith more than 100 of the Kingdom’s most influential ICT leaders in attendance, the IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2019 closed with a ceremony to mark the second edition of the IDC CIO Excellence Awards. At a time when innovation is becoming the hallmark of competitive success, IDC sought to recognise the efforts of those individuals and organisations that have excelled in conceptualising and

“CIOs are coming under mounting pressure to disrupt their organisations in a meaningful and constructive way, reinventing the experiences of customers, partners, and employees alike with the help of innovation-accelerating technologies like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, Blockchain, and the Internet of Things,” said Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC’s Country Manager for KSA and Bahrain. “This pressure will see spending on Digital Transformation initiatives across the Middle East and Africa top US$25 billion this year, so it’s only right that the pioneering efforts of the Kingdom’s most successful and innovative digital leaders are highlighted and publicly acknowledged in this way.”

IDC had been accepting nominations across three categories since August and received a total of 50 submissions from 31 different organisations. IDC’s CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia then reviewed the nominations, with the winners and finalists in each category revealed. Winner of CIO of the Year was Dr Saleh AlMugrin, Ministry of Defense.

////////////////// STC unveils 10 innovative digital projects from KSA entrepreneurs


TC unveiled 10 innovative digital platform projects created by young men and women from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) during its participation at GITEX.

Through its strategy, STC is primarily focused on the growth of services, platforms and digital infrastructure.

The top ten entrepreneurship projects this year were unveiled in the exhibition. These projects have won STC support through its InspireU incubator in the field of digital payments, technology, economics, education, health and sports, including the Solfa project, which is an electronic platform for lending small amounts up to five thousand Saudi Riyals within just 15 minutes. Director General of Corporate Communications, Mohammad bin Rashid Abalkhail, pointed out that this year’s exhibition showcased future digital services and solutions that enrich the lives of individuals and institutions. He indicated that STC is not just a telecommunications company but a digital enabler and key player in the Digital Transformation of the Kingdom according to its Vision 2030. He stated that STC, through Saudi entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs, told innovative success stories achieved through the support, training and relationship building provided to them by STC through InspireU incubator. 10






Omani investors urged to prioritise cybersecurity

High-speed government network launched in Oman


he Ministry of Technology and Communications in Oman has organised a cybersecurity workshop for investors at the ministry headquarters. The workshop, targeting public and private investment organisations, aims to spread awareness on the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report on Incentivizing Responsible and Secure Innovation, and to incentivise investors on prioritising cybersecurity risks on their investment portfolios. This will help them ensure the security of their investments and maximise the return on them because cybersecurity attacks have been proven to cause huge financial losses on well-established organisations. During the workshop, Eng Badar Ali Al Salehi, the Director General of Oman National CERT at the Ministry of Technology and Communications, and the head of the ITU-Arab Regional cybersecurity centre, gave a presentation on global and national trends in cybersecurity and gave an overview for the country. He also took the participants through the WEF report and the basic principles of cybersecurity that investors can incorporate throughout their investment journey. Eng Al Salehi also presented the Cybersecurity Due Diligence Framework, and the assessment methodology by the WEF guiding investors to assess cybersecurity during the investment journey. Members of investment agencies in the private and public sectors attended the workshop.


he Ministry of Technology and Communication in Oman together with Oman Broadband and Ooredoo has launched the high-speed Oman Government Network (OGN) in Muscat. This is an integrated and safe government network that meets the future demands of e.oman projects, like the G-Cloud, the official Oman eGovernment services portal, the National Data Center and other e.oman infrastructure projects. Dhafir bin Saif Al-Kalbani, Director General of Infrastructure, speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Technology and Communication, said: “The high-speed Oman Government Network replaced the current OGN in 63 government entities in Muscat including all ministry



headquarters and some of their main branches in the capital. “They were linked using fibre optics network in a way that helps these entities in benefiting from the new network to provide their eServices with a better quality and a speed that reaches 1 GB in all government sites. “Moreover, the new network will play a role in upgrading the capacity of the OGN’s ISDN lines and elevating its quality while decreasing the previous costs. Our hope for this network is for it to have a vital role in supporting a quicker Digital Transformation process in Oman and serving all important sectors like health, education, manufacturing, tourism, economy and other sectors through providing high-quality eServices.”





MoTC launches first edition of Smart City Expo Doha during QITCOM 2019


he Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) in Qatar has partnered with the organisers of Smart City Expo World Congress, Fira de Barcelona, to launch Smart City Expo Doha.

The event took place at Qatar IT Conference & Exhibition 2019 (QITCOM 2019), under the theme, ‘Safe, Smart Cities’. Smart City Expo is a global platform committed to promoting awareness and understanding of Smart Cities and the development of smart initiatives for a sustainable future. Smart City Expo Doha, in its first edition in Qatar, aimed to introduce innovative technologies to enhance the lives of citizens, residents and visitors through social inclusion, sustainability and empowerment. Her Excellency Reem Al Mansoori, Assistant Undersecretary for the Digital Society Development Sector at the MoTC, said: “We are delighted to partner and co-ordinate with Fira de Barcelona which is one of the world’s leading companies in this field to introduce the first Smart City Expo Doha. “The partnership with Fira de Barcelona reflects our readiness for business dialogues and commitment towards bringing together global leaders and experts from various economic sectors to showcase innovative technologies.” “Regionally and globally, Qatar has been on the frontlines of a major Digital Transformation towards safe Smart Cities.”

////////////////// Newton Group of Schools launches STEM education programme


oeing and INJAZ Qatar have celebrated the successful launch of a new STEM education programme at Newton Group of Schools in Doha. The programme for 8 to 11-year-old students was designed by Technovation, a global technology education non-profit organisation that Boeing has been working with since 2016. HE Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani, Chairperson of INJAZ Qatar and INJAZ Al Arab, and Bernard Dunn, President of Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, attended the launch and witnessed the programme implementation throughout the classrooms of the school. “It’s hugely fulfilling for Boeing to see the kind of forward-thinking attitude at play in the classrooms here at Newton International School,” said Dunn. “Our strong 14


partnership with INJAZ Qatar is based on our mutual commitment to empower the next generation of STEM leaders in Qatar.” Boeing facilitated trainers from Technovation, headquartered in the US, to fly to Qatar to train grade three to five teachers. The training included access to the Curiosity Machine curriculum which is AI-

based incorporating several Boeing-inspired challenges, training modules, workbooks and lesson plans. The teachers are now implementing the curriculum and challenges into their classrooms. Some of the design challenges include engineering a safe stopping robot that turns itself off when leaving a safe area.


Cybercriminals attack Kuwait shipping and transport organisations


alo Alto Networks has revealed how cybercriminals attacked organisations in Kuwait. Unit 42, the global threat intelligence team at Palo Alto Networks, observed previously unknown tools used in the targeting of transportation and shipping organisations based in the country. The first known attack in this campaign targeted a Kuwait transportation and shipping company in which the actors installed a backdoor tool named Hisoka. Several custom tools were later downloaded to the system in order to carry out post-exploitation activities. All of these tools appear to have been created by the same developer. The team were able to collect several variations of these tools including one dating back to July 2018. The developer of the collected tools used character names from the anime series Hunter x Hunter, which is the basis for the campaign name ‘xHunt’. The names of the tools collected include backdoor tools Sakabota, Hisoka, Netero and Killua. These tools not only use HTTP for their command and control (C2) channels, but certain variants of these tools use DNS tunneling or emails to communicate with their C2 as well.

While DNS tunneling as a C2 channel is fairly common, the specific method in which this group used email to facilitate C2 communications has not been observed by Unit 42 in quite some time.


/ Middle East keen to be first to embrace new technologies

how IT leaders have an appetite to constantly look at new technologies. While counterparts in Europe might seek assurance that they aren’t the first to use a particular solution or type of technology, the attitude in the Middle East is quite different – with CIOs in this region wanting to be first and at the forefront of cuttingedge technology. Webb said: “They’re so brave and entrepreneurial here that often they want to be the first to have used that technology.

he Middle East is a ‘hugely important’ market, with IT leaders in the region keen to embrace new innovative technologies, according to an A10 Networks VP.


and Technology Consultant Lead, MEA, Adil Baghir, at GITEX Technology Week 2019, where the company showcased its entire portfolio of leading network security solutions.

Intelligent CIO spoke to the company’s Vice President, EMEA Sales, Anthony Webb,

Speaking about the company’s commitment to the Middle East region, Webb highlighted

“And for an innovative company like A10 that plays to our strengths. “In terms of business growth, we have grown significantly in the region. “The Middle East is very important to us and will continue to be important to us.” INTELLIGENTCIO






Plan to launch Kuwait as regional data centre revealed


alem Al-Uzania, Board Chairman of Kuwait’s Public Authority for Communication and Information Technology, has spoken in favour of transforming Kuwait into a data centre region.

sign a deal with the Iraqi Ministry of Communications to establish the Regional Communication Passageway that will connect Iraq with Kuwait and the two countries with Europe.

Al-Uzania, in a statement to the Kuwait News Agency, has confirmed that the authority as part of its strategy for the future is seeking to make Kuwait a regional data centre in line with the country’s Vision 2035 blueprint.

The project will facilitate data flow from the East to the West, he added. He also revealed that the authority is also planning to establish a national data and information centre.

He made the comments on the sidelines of the Huawei Connect 2019 Tech4All Summit which had a theme of ‘How Inclusive Innovation Can Empower the World’. The Kuwaiti Authority will soon

During the Huawei event Al-Uzania discussed the regional corridor for communications to be in tandem with China’s Silk Road enterprise. The minister also said that Chinese officials had praised Kuwait’s launch of 5G digital services.

///////////////// Kuwait Airways leverages Honeywell Advanced Software to cut fuel costs


uwait Airways is reducing fuel use through its utilisation of Honeywell Forge Flight Efficiency software. The technology is also being deployed at Nippon Cargo Airlines and may reduce fuel costs by up to 3%, saving each airline potentially millions of dollars per year. “Airlines today are trying to meet very tight margins while also improving operational efficiency, and Honeywell Forge Flight Efficiency helps on both fronts,” said John Peterson, Vice President and General Manager, Software and Services at Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Aerospace. “We give operators information they can use to develop, implement, sustain and measure fuel-efficiency initiatives.” Fuel use can account for 20% to 40% of an airline’s operating costs, so even single-digit percentage improvements can potentially save airlines tens of millions of dollars each

year. Honeywell Forge Flight Efficiency allows airlines to take advantage of new ways to save fuel by impacting the three major influencers of fuel consumption: aircraft weight, engine utilisation and fuel planning. The software collects, cleans and analyses streams of disparate data from a wide

variety of sources, and offers actionable insights and alerts that can help improve an airline’s efficiency across its fleet. Kuwait Airways has implemented the software across its fleet of 25 Boeing and Airbus aircraft. n INTELLIGENTCIO





hief. Information. Security. Officer. The person in charge of protecting an organization’s information assets.

The job title sounds so simple, even straight forward, and once upon a time it might have even been an accurate description of the role. It used to be enough to make sure all patches were up to date, network firewalls were in place, intrusion detection set-up, anti-virus installed, and everything on the network properly configured, locked down, and hardened.

Download whitepaper here

Being a CISO was primarily technical in nature, but times have changed. Realistically, the only thing unchanged about the CISO job is the title. Today, the responsibilities and skill-set required of a contemporary CISO have become much broader, all encompassing, and far more critical to the smooth running of the business. CISOs often require familiarity with new and highly sophisticated technologies such as Software Defined Networking, DevOps, Serverless, Containerization,



IoT, Virtualization, Machine Learning, and Next-Gen everything in order to protect them. Not to mention The Cloud and all of its many facets. Then there is an ever expanding attack surface created by an explosive number of new users, more data, and more devices needing to be safeguarded. The threats to the enterprise posed by organized cybercrime, nation-state actors, and even hacktivists are very real and an ever present way of life – 24x7x365. Then many CISOs have to interact not only with their internal teams on technical matters, but also with the board of directors, journalists, regulators, politicians, customers, vendors, and partners on a wide variety of business level issues. The role of a CISO is certainly not for the faint of heart, but the multifaceted demands of the role are also why many find it so attractive. Perhaps the best part of being a CISO job is change. Every day there is something different going on. The business is developing new products and services with new technologies, the attack techniques the


bad guys are employing to hack them are advancing, and at any moment the job might kick in to a higher gear should an incident spring up expectedly. If you’re not learning and teaching every day, you and your team will quickly fall behind. That’s simply the nature of Information Security in general. The major drawback is that a CISO’s contributions are always difficult to quantify and justify in the ultimate language of business – dollars and cents. This is especially true when through skill and hard work, you have everything under control, nothing unexpected has happened, and your value is questioned. There never seems to be a ‘win’ condition; you’re only noticed when failure strikes. If things do go wrong, such as a breach, then you’re the designated “chief scapegoat officer”. And of course everyone around wants to tell you how to do your job. There will always be others trying to convince you of what’s most important and how what your doing isn’t enough.” “Just buy this point solution.” I’m not here for that. I’m here to share some thoughts about ideas for how to think about the role of a CISO, it’s place of importance in the larger world, and what personality traits make for the most successful candidates. n

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he first half of 2019 demonstrated that no environment is immune to cyber attacks. We have witnessed threat actors developing new tool sets and techniques, targeting corporate assets stored on cloud infrastructure, individuals’ mobile devices, trusted third-party suppliers’ application and even popular mail platforms. One of the dominating ongoing trends in 2019 is targeted ransomware attacks. This year collaborations between threat actors allowed even more destructive attacks that paralyzed numerous organizations worldwide.

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What ends with a ransomware attack usually starts with a more silent sequence of bot infections. Still highly visible, cryptominers are on the decline this year – only 21% of organizations worldwide were affected by cryptominers’ attacks in comparison to 42% during its peak in 2018. This was the outcome after shutting down the ‘CoinHive’ drive-by mining service. Software supply chain attacks attracted public and government



attention. In such attacks threat actors inject malicious code into components of legitimate applications, victimizing a large number of unsuspecting users. The accumulation of several cases since the beginning of the year led the American government to devote special attention to this evolving threat and it will soon publish official recommendations on ways to minimize the impact of such attacks. To provide organizations with the best level of protection, security experts should be attuned to the ever-changing landscape and the latest threats and attack methods. With data drawn from Check Point’s ThreatCloud World Cyber Threat Map between January and June 2019, combined with primary research performed by the company’s cyber security experts, the following report holds a comprehensive overview of the trends observed in the various categories of cryptominers, ransomware, botnet, banking Trojans, data breaches, and mobile threats. n

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY TRENDS SHOWCASED AT GITEX With more than 100,000 people visiting this year’s GITEX we take a look back at some of the highlights from Dubai Police’s floating police station to Etisalat’s Lazareth Flying Motorcycle.


World’s first floating Smart Police Station launched at GITEX His Highness Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, inaugurated the world’s first floating Smart Police Station. Free of any human intervention, the station will be opened in the sea off Dubai’s World Islands next year. It will help sea users and

World Island residents enjoy key services, including the reporting of crimes, traffic incidents and community services.

Etisalat showcases 5G-powered future of mobility Etisalat showcased the Renault EZ-ULTIMO, a robo-vehicle equipped with level advanced autonomous driving capability. Powered by an all-electric drivetrain, it can connect to urban




Smart Dubai collaborates with 48 government, semi-government and private sector entities Under the theme ‘From Paper to Paperless,’ Smart Dubai’s pavilion showcased Dubai’s strategies, services and initiatives that accelerate the shift towards a paperless government that will further establish Dubai as a world leader in the Smart City sector.

Dr. Daniel Kraft, MD. Faculty Chair, Medicine and Neuroscience Singularity University, and Founder and Chair of Exponential Medicine

environments and highway infrastructure, and can drive itself without human input both in the city and on the highway. Also taking off from Etisalat’s stand was the Lazareth Flying Motorcycle, a four-wheeled mechanical sculpture around a 5.2-litre V8 Maserati engine. The flying motorcycle can convert from ride-to-fly mode in approximately 60 seconds. Another crowd puller at Etisalat’s stand was LIFT Aircraft’s Hexa drone-like aircraft that is controlled using a joystick in the cockpit and stabilised by a flight computer. It weighs around 200kg, seats one person and has 18



sets of propellers, motors and batteries. In the event of an emergency, flight controllers can take over the aircraft and fly it remotely like a drone. The aircraft can travel just more than 97 kp/h at top speed and includes aircushioned floats, allowing it to land on water if necessary.

DEWA focuses on AI and disruptive technologies in utility sector DEWA highlighted its latest smart services, customer services and innovative digital technologies in electricity and water and demonstrated its key initiatives that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and disruptive technologies to enhance the experience of its customers, partners, employees and other stakeholders. H.E. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said: “GITEX Technology Week is an important opportunity to highlight DEWA’s AI applications and its smart and innovative solutions. Through Digital DEWA, our digital arm, we are redefining the concept of a utility to create a new digital future for Dubai to support the Dubai 10X initiative, which was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to propel Dubai into the future, putting it 10 years ahead of other global cities through government innovation and disruptive technologies. DEWA will disrupt the entire business of public utilities by becoming the world’s first digital utility to use autonomous systems for renewable energy and storage.”

Smart Dubai collaborated with 48 government, semi-government and privatesector entities in Dubai at GITEX, with the various bodies taking part in the event under its umbrella and exhibiting ground-breaking smart government services. Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Smart Dubai’s Director General, said: “GITEX Technology Week is almost four decades old now, and over the course of its journey, has successfully established itself as a world-leading annual technology event, while boosting Dubai and the UAE’s global reputation in the technology sector. “Once again, we are collaborating with government entities and partners from Dubai to highlight the progress made on the ambitious Dubai Paperless Strategy 2021, which seeks to achieve 100% digital transition by the end of 2021, in line with the directives of our wise leadership.”

RTA launches free Wi-Fi service on public buses During GITEX, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) teamed up with du to provide Free WiFi UAE on board public buses, marine transit modes and air-conditioned bus shelters. An announcement to this effect was made at the event. The MoU was signed in the presence of Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, CEO of Public Transport Agency, RTA; and Fahad Al-Hassawi, Deputy CEO Telecoms, du. As part of the agreement, du is to provide Wi-Fi UAE services free of charge for riders of Dubai Bus, inter-city bus and expo buses. The service will also be available at 23 bus stations, 40 water transit means, 18 marine transport stations and several air-conditioned bus shelters. The service is set to be operational before the onset of Expo 2020.


The future of health and medicine At a session held during GITEX, Dr. Daniel Kraft, MD Faculty Chair, Medicine and Neuroscience Singularity University, and Founder and Chair of Exponential Medicine, discussed the fusion that was now taking place between traditional healthcare practices and increasingly virtual, disruptive means of treatment. “The future of medicine may not look like the traditional four walls of a hospital but will become increasingly virtualised and mobile, and AI and data-driven,” he said. “We have the opportunity to get out of the old ways of practicing medicine. We can catalyse many innovations to rethink and reimagine healthcare, get out of our silos, because medicine is very much traditionally based, and also get out of our silos of anatomy as we are now in a genomic, digital and connected age.

“Five billion people die every year, not from lack of medical care, but lack of good medical care. And now we are in an era where the Internet and data are becoming ubiquitous. Information is power, where we can leverage these technologies to deliver care when and where it’s needed.” Kraft considered the ways that wearables, body computing, Big Data, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence will give humanity the opportunity to rethink and imagine healthcare. “I urge all of you to not think about how technology is in 2019 but envision where it’s going to be in 2022 and even 2029,” he said. “Bill Gates said ‘we tend to overestimate what happens in a year, but underestimate what happens in the next decade’. Let’s all of us move together; to move from reactive sick care to proactive prevention in


THE FUTURE OF MEDICINE MAY NOT LOOK LIKE THE TRADITIONAL FOUR WALLS OF A HOSPITAL BUT WILL BECOME INCREASINGLY VIRTUALISED. healthcare; to make it from one-size-fits-all to personalised; from siloed to intelligent and crowd-sourced. If we take this mindset to exponential power, and get it out of our linear mindset, it’s up to us to create the future together.” n INTELLIGENTCIO



Mimecast report finds increase in Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks Mimecast’s latest ESRA report has revealed that millions of spam, tens of thousands of BEC or impersonation attacks, dangerous file types and malware attachments are being delivered to users’ inboxes.


imecast, a leading email and data security company, has announced the availability of its latest Email Security Risk Assessment (ESRA). The quarterly assessment is an aggregated report of tests that measure the efficacy of widely used email security systems. This quarter’s ESRA report found a significant increase in Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, emails containing dangerous file types, malware attachments and spam being delivered to users’ inboxes from incumbent email security systems. BEC attacks, also referred to as email-based impersonation fraud, is an issue that is not

going away because these attacks can easily evade many traditional email security systems on a global scale. The latest ESRA found a 269% increase in these types of attacks, in comparison to the same findings in last quarter’s report. This trend was also reflected in recent research, the State of Email Security 2019 report, which found that 85% of the 1,025 global respondents experienced an impersonation attack in 2018, with 73% of those victims having experienced a direct business impact – like financial, data or customer loss. The rise in BEC attacks underscores the need for organisations to add protection against well-resourced attackers. BEC attacks are not the only method cybercriminals have been successfully leveraging to target organisations. The ESRA report found 28,783,892 spam emails, 28,808 malware attachments and 28,726 dangerous files types were all missed by incumbent providers and delivered to users’ inboxes, an overall false negative rate of 11% of inspected emails. The results from the report demonstrate the need for the



Joshua Douglas, Vice President of Threat Intelligence at Mimecast

entire industry to continue to work toward a higher standard of email security. “This ESRA report pointed out that impersonation attacks continue to menace all types of organisations, but I think the real issue is that there are tens of thousands of email-borne threats successfully able to bypass the email security systems that organisations’ have in place, effectively leaving them vulnerable and putting a lot of pressure on their employees to discern malicious emails,” said Joshua Douglas, Vice President of Threat Intelligence at Mimecast. “Cybercriminals will always look for new ways to bypass traditional defences and fool users. “This means the industry must focus their efforts on investing in research and development, unified integrations and making it easier for users to be part of security defences, driving resilience against evolving attacks.” Mimecast produces quarterly ESRA reports to offer organisations insights on the rise of new types of email-borne threats and key trends in malicious email campaigns. n



October 2019


This is an aggregate report of Email Security Risk Assessment tests showing the number and type of unwanted and dangerous emails missed by incumbent email security systems.*

Caught by Mimecast, Missed by Other Services 260,290,847



10,607,416 Rejected | 18,176,476 Quarantined



28,808 60,495



emails deemed safe by Mimecast (11% False Negative Rate)


* Specific security policy settings and controls of the incumbent email security system are managed by the customer.





EGYPT Egypt Ministry of Planning, Follow-Up and Administrative Reform has signed a co-operation agreement with Visa for electronic payments to help spread the culture of digital payments and its positive impact on the country’s economic growth. The agreement aims to encourage entrepreneurship, supports the implementation of Egypt’s Vision 2030 and comes in light of the ministry’s efforts to proceed with mechanising services, including its e-payment system.

KSA STC’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Eng. Abdullah Al Kanhal, has confirmed that STC’s on-going contribution to local content and technology localisation has reached SR 4 billion. Al Kanhal pointed out that the company has worked for nearly a decade to support localisation opportunities in sectors, such as fibre-optic networks and promoting opportunities for citizens in a number of new industries with international and local partners.




BAHRAIN Batelco has signed an agreement with Avaya whereby Batelco will offer Avaya’s leading portfolio of Contact Centre and Unified Communications solutions on an as-a-service basis through a cloud offering hosted in Bahrain. The agreement was signed by Batelco General Manager Enterprise Division, Abderrahmane Mounir, and Avaya Vice President, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Fadi Hani, at GITEX.

UAE Serco Middle East, a leading provider of essential public services, has announced that it is delivering a turnkey infrastructure and facilities management solution for The Galleria on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi. As part of their five-year contract, the company will handle all maintenance of the existing and expanded asset covering everything from specialist infrastructure systems through to operational elements such as security and valet services.







he question of how IT vendors and end-users get the most out of their partnerships is a fascinating one.

It questions how those supplying solutions can ensure they provide their customers, often enterprises themselves, with a product that precisely fits their requirements. In the current technological environment a one-size-fits-all solution no longer cuts it, CIOs commissioning a product need to be sure that money spent is a wise investment, with a reasonable ROI, that comes with a guarantee that their exacting requirements are met.

Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don’t. In cases where they fall short, it’s always important that vendors receive feedback about where the shortcomings lie. This is surely the only root to progress and in all likelihood will have the outcome of improving the relationship between vendors and customer as the end-user is more likely to get what they want – which in turn means that the vendor is more likely to get what they want too: satisfaction for their customers.

No doubt this is a Utopian vision to a large extent and, of course, there is always the option of system support to bridge the gap. But vendors would do well to remember the pressure CIOs are under when spending money on IT. Their boards will expect value for money and a solution that falls short will undermine a CIO’s reputation particularly when he or she has to justify their decision to board members who may not see IT spend as a priority.

Of course, this is easier said than done since end-users come in all shapes and sizes and work across a multitude of verticals. You don’t need to be a student of business to work out that the requirements of a hospitality company looking for an ERP solution are vastly different to a construction company seeking the same. That’s why some vendors offer verticalspecific solutions in the hope of, if not exactly delivering a bespoke solution, at least offering one that will meet the requirements of most companies operating in a particular vertical. 30







1. Build the human connection In an age of rapidly evolving technology, we often forget the importance of the human connection. At the heart of every great relationship is a feeling of mutual trust. Building trust requires time and patience. The former is something we don’t have, especially when there are so many vendors knocking on end-user doors. Once an enduser has identified a shortlist of vendors they will partner with (in a project, or generally), they make the time to build the trust and relationships outside of the office. Coffee, dinner, a round of golf – there are unlimited ways to build the human connection.

2. Make peer to peer connections Most strategic partnerships span across multiple business units and disciplines between end-users and vendors. For example, a CISO to CISO connection is excellent, and necessary, but going up and across the organisation and making those peer-to-peer connections gives both parties a fuller picture on the organisation. For example, end-user procurement staff connecting with vendor procurement staff can lead to a better understanding of the paper process and potentially good practice sharing.

for knowledge sharing and finding ways to share relevant expertise from the work completed by the end-user.

imperative to set expectations on timelines and communication in order to define what a great outcome will be for the end user.

4. Build a joint success plan

In addition, the more transparent endusers can be with vendors regarding goals, objectives and outcomes, the more likely they are of achieving success. It could be something as simple as scheduling follow up phone calls. If the end-user isn’t interested in receiving calls on a certain day or time because of other commitments, it’s important for the vendor to know this.

Agreeing to a joint success plan which is fully documented is a fantastic way to ensure the end-user gets the most out of the investment.

3. Creating value The strongest end-user and vendor relationships are based on creating value. This is especially important for vendors. The only way to create value for an end-user is to truly understand and empathise with the pain in their role, fully understand the priorities and then find ways to create value. Creating value can be done through sharing best practices, sharing key research that aligns to their pain and desired outcome, leading workshops with the end-user teams

A joint success plan should include quantifiable metrics on what success looks like, especially post-sales. This is also a great way for the end-user to hold the vendor accountable.

5. Define and align on outcomes Priorities change regularly for companies and pains experienced by one end-user will quite likely be dramatically different with others within the same company. This makes it

Maybe the end-user maybe doesn’t want a follow-up call on a Monday because their calendar is already slammed with existing appointments. Therefore, scheduling the call on a Tuesday could go a long way in building trust. It seems simple but working extremely hard to not lose control of the basics is important. INTELLIGENTCIO




s businesses demand greater agility and flexibility for their in-house and external teams, vendors must reflect that change. This is particularly important in the area of security which, although vital to the success of an organisation, is not often seen as necessary. An author wants to write, a designer to design. They do not come in to work to be a security professional. So success will depend on the vendor ensuring that the end user works in partnership to secure the organisation. Vendors must ensure solutions are easy to use and do not impede the user and their work experience. A key way in which vendors can work with end users is to focus on the design of their solutions and ensure that they are effective but easy to use. An example of this would be ensuring a common experience across all the platforms open to end users in their daily activities – a solution should be similar across laptops, mobile phones and intelligent watches. 32


The vendor needs to ensure that the functional requirements are implemented without interrupting the user workflow. If it interrupts what a person needs to do it will create a negative experience and, understandably, users will develop workarounds, therefore undermining the purpose of any control. By making authentication simple whilst running checks on devices in the background, end users can stay secure without degrading performance or interrupting work. If an update is needed to a device then rather than making it intrusive the vendor can develop an approach which includes the end user in the decision and implementation process. To develop these solutions, vendors need to have a programme which includes end users in the development of new solutions. Making it easy to use is the first step but ensuring that end users test it and provide their input is a critical second step before release.



BY MAKING AUTHENTICATION SIMPLE WHILST RUNNING CHECKS ON DEVICES IN THE BACKGROUND, END USERS CAN STAY SECURE WITHOUT DEGRADING PERFORMANCE OR INTERRUPTING WORK. So keeping it simple and consistent while supporting – not interrupting – the end user is the way to get the best out of the partnership.



///////////////// /////////////



s a society, our digital lives are dependent on code, whether it’s managing our banking, controlling our vehicles and critical infrastructure or operating our medical devices. Meanwhile, every business now relies on software as a source of strategic differentiation, competitive advantage and top-line revenue generation. Cyberattackers have taken note of this increasing attack surface, compromising systems at an alarming rate and breaches are hurting companies. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 62% of breaches and 39% of incidents occur at the web application layer. While it is unclear exactly how the web applications were compromised in some cases, we can assume that attackers are scanning for specific web app vulnerabilities, exploiting them to gain access, inserting some kind of malware and harvesting payment card data to create a profit. Meanwhile, analysis from Veracode’s most recent State of Software Security report shows that the number of vulnerable apps remains staggeringly high and open source components continue to present significant risks to businesses. More than 85% of all applications contain at least one vulnerability following the first scan and more than 13% of applications contain at least one very high severity flaw. In addition, organisations’ latest scan results indicate that one in three applications were vulnerable to attack through high or very high severity flaws. Vendors must closely manage the security of their software, whether that’s software they buy, use or sell, in order to help prevent breaches and to retain trust of their customers. It is easy to forget that third party applications can be just as vulnerable as the applications companies build for themselves.

Leading organisations such as OWASP, the PCI Council, FS-ISAC and NIST are raising awareness about the need to better understand and reduce the security risks associated with the use of third-party software.

Why is this critical for maintaining strong vendor and end-user partnerships? Because when you install applications or software components from a third party, you also take ownership of all the vulnerabilities in their software.


Since we now rely on software for everything – health, safety and well-being – a policy of ‘just trust me’ to handle the security of our software puts us all at risk. It is no longer acceptable to fail to demonstrate that you actually are producing secure software. There’s too much at stake and customers are aware of the risks created by their software supply chain. They want assurances and independent validation that the software they procure from their software providers is compliant with their corporate security policies. After all, many other industries such as transportation, food and pharmaceuticals require independent audits and assessments related to product safety. This is a common practice of checks and balances aimed at addressing product issues that would otherwise harm consumers. Why should software be any different? n INTELLIGENTCIO






Providing Unparalleled Technology Intelligence

ISSUE 48 //

GITEX reviewed

Looking back at the event’s major highlights

Future-proofing operations

Port operator prepares for increase in container volumes

Spotlight on Iraq

Refugees benefit from iris identification technology

Mission critical Batelco has selected a Ciena platform as the foundation for its new Gulf network cable system which connects all countries across the GCC and provides Bahrain with a new international gateway to deal with the ever increasing amount of essential traffic.

Intelligent Endpoint Security Partner

Intelligent Data Protection Partner

Intelligent Hybrid Technology Partner

Intelligent ITSM Partner

Global ICIO Knowledge Partner

Intelligent Threat Management Partner

Intelligent Network Security Partner

Intelligent Education Partner

Global Innovation Partner

Intelligent Data Security Partner

Enterprise Firewall Partner

Intelligent Banking & Finance Partner



elcome to the latest edition of Intelligent CIO magazine. We hope you have managed to unwind if you were one of the thousands of visitors to GITEX. When I attend the event people often say to me that GITEX represents the only time in the year when you can meet everyone you know in the industry under one roof. It certainly seems to be the case – as usual it was a pleasure to meet old friends and greet some new faces. Appropriately enough this issue features a review of the whole spectacle. With more than 100,000 people visiting this year’s GITEX, we take a look back at some of the highlights from Dubai Police’s floating station to Etisalat’s Lazareth Flying Motorcycle. Turn to page 25 to relive some of your favourite moments of this year’s event. This month’s cover is graced by Adel Daylami, Chief Global Business Officer for Batelco. Batelco has selected Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical Platform as the foundation for the new Batelco Gulf Network (BGN) Cable System which connects all countries across the GCC as a reliable alternative to submarine cables with greater scalable capacity and shorter inter-Gulf latency. This runs over a state-of-the-art optical transport network and provides Bahrain with

a new international gateway enabling it to deal with mission critical traffic. Al-Daylami tells us why Batelco selected Ciena’s platform as the foundation for the new BGN. He discusses Ciena’s expertise that enabled Batelco to achieve its vision of ensuring the BGN is a reliable alternative to more vulnerable submarine cables.

As usual we have the latest news from around the region and your favourite features. If you would like to be included in the magazine feel free to email me at and don’t forget to visit for daily updates.

Turn to page 58 to find out more about the project which has enormously positive repercussions for the whole region. On page 55, we look at how the Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO), a port operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is leveraging Nutanix software to increase IT capacity to support growing operations across Saudi port facilities while also reducing IT management overheads.

Mark Bowen Editor

This includes successfully accommodating a 50% spike in container volumes with no impact on operational efficiency. Hossam El-Masry, Information Technology Manager, GSCCO, told us about the transformative effects of the solution. He said: “With zero downtime even during major capacity upgrades, migration to Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has revolutionised our IT infrastructure, making it quicker, more reliable and much easier to both scale and manage. “We simply couldn’t have handled the recent massive growth in container traffic without it.” INTELLIGENTCIO






What workers really want:

A better employee experience

New Global Research by ServiceNow finds that a great employee service experience is key to an engaged and productive workforce.








erks at work have become a source of pride and a competitive differentiator for companies vying for top talent. Stocked fridges, catered meals, on-site fitness facilities, laundry services and complimentary transportation are just a handful of popular perks companies offer to lure new employees. But according to new research by ServiceNow, the company that makes work, work better for people, an effective way to build an engaged and productive workforce is giving employees a better employee service experience during big moments and even small ones in between. ServiceNow’s The Employee Experience Imperative report, which studies the service experience at work, reveals that employee enthusiasm for work peaks at the start of a new job, but wanes by 22% shortly thereafter. Where are employers missing the mark? The findings tell us that employers aren’t supporting employees’ basic needs on a dayto-day basis during the employee lifecycle: 41% still struggle to obtain information and answers to basic questions, like finding


Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow

a company policy or resolving an issue with their equipment. Furthermore, only 41% believe their employers make it easy to select their equipment before their first day and only 51% of employees believe their employers make it easy to receive equipment necessary to perform their job responsibilities at the onset of their job. “Employees today – regardless of their role or generation – want to be heard and valued, and they want an employee experience that suits their needs throughout their career with an organisation,” said Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow. “If an employee’s experience is lacking at the onset of their new job, the impact for some employees can likely be felt until the employee’s last day. By creating beautiful and meaningful experiences and an environment where work gets done efficiently, employers will benefit from a more engaged and productive workforce.”

Where can employers improve? Mobile work experiences One third of our lives is spent at work. And, employees want their experiences at work to be more like their experiences at home – like having mobile technology at their fingertips to make finding information and accomplishing tasks simple, easy and convenient. INTELLIGENTCIO






In fact, more than half (54%) of employees expect their employers to offer mobile optimised tools at work. Yet, the majority (67%) report not finding it easy to complete necessary paperwork on a mobile device before their first day and only about half (52%) of employees have been allowed to use a smartphone or tablet to access employee tools from HR or other departments. However, those who do have such access self report higher productivity than those without these mobility tools. This is a miss for employers who haven’t yet introduced mobile self service to their workforce, especially for those aiming to retain and attract millennials, as over half (59%) expect employers to provide mobile optimised tools.

A generation gap? It’s smaller at work than you’d think Baby boomers and millennials aren’t so different at work, after all. Across the four generations that comprise today’s workforce – baby boomers, Gen Zs, millennials and Gen



Xs – employees want a better experience at work. The research found that, across generations and departments, employees are losing faith in their employers to deliver positive employee experiences: • Less than half (48%) of employees believe that employers are invested in


improving the employee experience • More than half (61%) of employees rate their employers poorly based on a negative experience with personal leave • Less than half (45%) of employees feel that their opinions and perspective matter to their employer. However, millennials (43%) are more optimistic that employers will address feedback when compared to baby boomers (35%) • Only 37% of employees believe that employers automate processes to improve the worker experience; and • Less than half (44%) of employees believe employers provide them with easy access to information from HR and other departments; the same number felt they did not have access to the information vital to their job on day one A positive experience at work strongly correlates high employee net promoter scores (eNPS) – meaning employees that create great employee experiences are likely to have more loyal, satisfied employees. That’s real business value. n





Intelligent CIO unpacks the merger, massive scaling, security transformation and becoming your own customer with Micro Focus Chief Marketing Officer, Genefa Murphy.


he September 2017 spin merger with Hewlett Packard Enterprise transformed UK-based Micro Focus into one of the world’s largest software vendors seemingly overnight. Now that Micro Focus has settled into its position as a global leader in software, Intelligent CIO sits down with Micro Focus Chief Marketing Officer, Genefa Murphy, in Dubai to discuss life after the merger, becoming its own customer and the state of Digital Transformation. The US$8.8 billion deal has allowed Micro Focus to expand into a variety of new market domains, and leverage HPE’s past successes in hybrid IT, Big Data analytics, enterprise service management and enterprise security. In spite of its relatively recent growth, Murphy maintains that Micro Focus has maintained its customer-focused mission – to help guide customers on their Digital Transformation journey in a way that allows them to innovate faster, take on lower risk and keep their data and infrastructure safe. While the mission of Micro Focus has remained the same – helping customers


to run and transform their business and innovate faster with lower risk – there have been some inevitable changes to their internal processes. The quick and massive expansion of Micro Focus after the merger has put the company in a similar position to many of its customers. Specifically, the company is scaling up rapidly, while needing to maintain the best-in-class business processes, security and infrastructure that sets it apart from its competitors. “We went from a few 100 products in our portfolio to nearly 400. We now have approximately 5000 engineers and scan nearly 10 to 20 million lines of code daily using our Fortify security solutions,” Murphy said of life after the merger. “As part of the merger, we also had to initiate a dramatic IT transformation, from applications to infrastructure to processes and training. To manage this shift successfully, we run Micro Focus on Micro Focus.” This is the type of full Digital Transformation that Micro Focus has been guiding its customers through for years, says Murphy. Digital Transformation as a process has been going on for more than 10 years across industries and regions. With the deep Internet penetration in the Gulf region, Murphy reports that Micro Focus customers are pushing to modernise their processes and infrastructure to meet their customers’ changing expectations.

Bridging the gap Regionally, Micro Focus has seen an uptick in the customer expectations that are driving Digital Transformation. That, coupled with

Scaling up and becoming a global software leader 40



the region’s deep Internet penetration, has meant dynamic shifts in some key industries. “Financial services is a great example of a vertical that is going through a massive transformation,” said Murphy. “There is a great deal of new competition that is challenging established banks to change their customer interactions. Even a few years ago, banking customers would go online and use Internet banking, but now they expect all of their financial services to be available on mobile and they expect their experience to be personalised.”


One of the major pitfalls of the Digital Transformation journey, says Murphy, is the tendency to want to circumvent legacy systems to implement the latest in the market. Customers, she says, try to set up a separate project entirely, going around the existing system. “Micro Focus helps our customers to bridge the old and the new. Instead of going around legacy systems, we enable mission critical applications and data to continue to be leveraged so that customers can maximise their ROI,” said Murphy. “We

Genefa Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer at Micro Focus





TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO TRANSFORM WHILE OPTIMISING YOUR BUSINESS – YOU CAN’T CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER. enable customers to continue at speed while bridging existing and emerging technologies all while securing identities, applications and data. To be successful at Digital Transformation, you have to be able to transform while optimising your business – you can’t choose one or the other.”

as well. Internally, the company supports employee resource groups that encourage all different types of diversity. “We hold events throughout the year. For example, every time we have a Micro Focus event, we have a Women in Technology luncheon,” Murphy explains. “We are now trying to amplify these activities out to our customers.” To that end, Murphy is heading up a webinar series

Data Protection Regulation) now in play, companies need to ensure that their data is both safe and legally compliant. “We are focused on securing content, giving the customer the right governance frameworks, and giving them secure access to their own data,” said Murphy.

Intelligent security Micro Focus customers looking to leverage emerging technologies to update their security have been looking to AI and Machine Learning. Rather than expanding or changing their threat surface, Murphy suggests that AI can give key insights into potential threats that may have been missed. “AI can be a great tool for understanding threats to your data and infrastructure,” explains Murphy. Micro Focus’ acquisition of Interset earlier this year has proven that point. Interset uses user and entity behavioral analytics to provide highly intelligent and accurate cyber-threat protection through AI and Machine Learning. “With tools such as Interset that leverage AI, customers can gain a deeper understanding of their data, as well as potential cracks in their security that they may have missed,” explains Murphy. “We need to protect data at rest, in transit and in use – AI and Machine Learning helps us to protect data in all of its states.”

International regulations Another potential pain point that Micro Focus aims to alleviate in its customer base is the recent implementation and enforcement of data and privacy protection regulations across regions. With governance laws such as the European Union’s GDPR (General 42


“We understand first-hand that implementing something like GDPR is a matter of updating technology, people and processes. We had to implement GDPR for our own data sets, and it isn’t just a matter of protecting the data – you have to upskill your people and update your processes as well.” As the company has been tasked with major scaling projects internally, Micro Focus is in a unique position to understand the importance of empowering their partner and customer bases. To that end the company has put renewed emphasis on training its partner ecosystem. “We’ve now brought our partners programmes together, allowing us to have consistency with how we train and reward our partners. We’ve started certification training this year, so our partners can feel more empowered around our solutions,” said Murphy. Further, to empower the end-users and partners of Micro Focus solutions, Micro Focus has launched a digital badging programme for its customers and has plans to expand digital badging to its partners soon.

Empowering the ecosystem With its extended reach into the partner ecosystem and access to nearly 40,000 customers, Micro Focus does its best to enable positive change in the IT industry


that will highlight accomplished women in their customer ecosystem and showcase their stories. “More and more women are joining the IT industry and we need to amplify their successes. At Micro Focus, we are certainly making progress with a large percentage of females on our board, and our hosting of training camps and sessions that encourage women to learn from each other. The role model effect is very


important as is having diversity of all kinds on our teams,� said Murphy. When Micro Focus and HPE merged, the leading software solutions outfit was inevitably in for some transformations of its own. With scaling projects and Digital Transformation across departments necessary to keep its massive operations rolling, it is clear that Micro Focus has developed a deeper insight into the goals and potential pain points of its customers. n







////////////////// Mohamed Al Qubaisi, Chief Technology Officer

Innovating to enable Digital Transformation initiatives Injazat Data Systems, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, is a well-respected organisation in the UAE, having worked with government organisations to initiate technology projects that have delivered real-world benefits for citizens. It now hopes to replicate these successes on a broader scale. Mohamed Al Qubaisi, Chief Technology Officer, tells us how Injazat has bold plans to position itself as one of the world’s most innovative companies and expand its international reach. 44



Can you tell us about your activities at GITEX 2019 and your own role within the company? GITEX has always been important to us – we always contribute to showcase what we're working on, what the future holds and what we're currently doing with our clients. We spoke about our partnerships with the government – Hassantuk and Malaffi – which we call our digital ventures. Those are the interesting ventures we want to create more of. We're all about creating that buzz and saying ‘come to us – we are the guys that can make money for you and generate new revenue streams’. So GITEX this year was very special and a shifting point. My role within the organisation is to set the technology strategy to support that, so all our horizontal capabilities need to lead to us being able to generate new digital businesses.

How innovative is Injazat? We want to be on the list of top innovative companies, so we've invested a lot in emerging technology. Of course, we have cloud and we have cyberdefence, but we have also invested heavily in emerging technology because we believe that we need to contribute to, and directly impact, the lives of citizens. Malaffi is a project that saves lives. Hassantuk is an immediate fire detection system that can also save lives, so we are very proud that we're now no longer a support services company, we're actually with the business, creating a huge impact and we want to do more of those types of projects.

What kind of challenges are your customers looking to overcome before they come to you? There’s a buzzword called ‘Digital Transformation’ and that means



something to everyone. For us it's about structuring what it means for the client and then outlining which part is optimisation and which part is new business. It's very complex – you look at the existing structure and imagine a new digital business. Sometimes the ideas come from the outside so it's us creating that ecosystem of capabilities that can be joined in. And then the problem – whether a business problem, social problem or an environment problem – can be solved by putting these capabilities together. We're talking about SMEs, vertical experts, business consultants. We have a process that says we innovate, we incubate and then we commercialise. So that's one of the approaches that we have and we have partners that help us do that.

We are in a very innovative part of the world – how are organisations responding to the Digital Transformation challenges? There's still a struggle – I think it's going to take time before people really grasp what Digital Transformation means to them. And it's all about having the courage to take that step. What Injazat does is eliminate that fear by investing on its own.

WE WANT TO BE ON THE LIST OF TOP INNOVATIVE COMPANIES, SO WE’VE INVESTED A LOT IN EMERGING TECHNOLOGY. So, Malaffi was an investment from us. The revenue share comes later for the government, so they don't take a lot of risk. This approach helped us a lot. We're going to do more of that.

How important are your partnerships and channel strategy? It is crucial. I think there's a study that's been done by Gartner which states that 90% of businesses that are not part of an ecosystem will ultimately fail. Especially in the digital world, you can't work alone.

Are you able to talk a little bit more about the Malaffi project? It's a health information exchange. These kinds of programmes usually have a high failure rate but we've been successful because we put the right people in place and we got the best consultants in the world to really get a proper programme set up, ensuring the best service to the end-user. Malaffi is something we're very proud of and we want to repeat – a lot. It's going to impact the lives of citizens directly. If you think about it, if you need to be taken to the emergency room and you're not conscious, you can't tell the doctor if you're allergic to something or not. Malaffi consolidates all the health records into one, giving it to the patient themselves and to the doctor so that the best medical treatment can be given. So this is Digital Transformation in action.

What is the market demand for cloud in this region? We've launched our cloud recently. Our cloud strategy is a hybrid multi-cloud approach. So clients still have on prem workloads and then we have our cloud,


45 45



which is full of features – our Disaster Recovery service and backup, etc. We want to take care of the infrastructure part to keep it away in terms of distracting us from the business, so we want something solid that runs. We have Azure, we have AWS – we have all these capabilities that we can innovate on. Everybody's going towards that, because you can't go with one architecture, you have got to have a mixture of all those capabilities. At the end of the day, we are a technology hub – we are vendor agnostic – so we're not pushing any of these cloud solutions. They're an enabler for innovation and Digital Transformation. And there is a lot of demand, because of data sovereignty. We are positioned best to provide those cloud services.

When you are contacted by CIOs and potential customers, what kind of best practice approach do you offer when it comes to these strategies? The biggest problem today is the operating model. So how do we engage with a client and an operating model that’s optimal. And that usually needs the client to have trust in us, managing SLAs, so we manage the technology. What I find is that the mixed and hybrid approach sometimes doesn't work and causes conflict. So really, the conversations usually are about the model and moving away from the day to day operations on the commodity level and really talking business and helping IT managers or CIOs to give value to their top management.

Are you able to offer insight into the data centre market or any change in approach in this region? We're seeing high demand for high density and high performance computing requirements. Something is being done on that insight and data analytics level that generates that demand. We see international companies demanding space here in the UAE, for different reasons. We see demand for the data centre, but 46


it's not the same, there are new features requested and that's what we're working on with our partners. We have our own tier four data centre that's been running for a very long time now successfully with 100% availability. That is in Abu Dhabi but we have a secondary data centre in Dubai. And we are going to have more, to make our cloud highly available.

How do you expect the data centre to look in the next couple of years? There's a lot of talk about containers and I'm sure as technology continues to change it will lead to changes in the data centre. We're also seeing different approaches being taken in terms of cooling. It’s going to be very interesting. My background though is really around programming and data. I think that's where Injazat will be really focusing. As a CTO, it's about introducing new products and innovative concepts.

You mentioned some of your work with government and healthcare organisations – are you able to talk about a couple of other use cases for your technology? Our ambition is to grow beyond government and to really launch Injazat as an international company. And why not? We have a very good anchor client in the form of the government and we also serve a

WE’RE SEEING HIGH DEMAND FOR HIGH DENSITY AND HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING REQUIREMENTS. couple of commercial centres, but we'd like to do much more in that area. The key is being competitive and having a value proposition that appeals to the commercial sector. We're really interested in attacking that market very soon.

Why should commercial organisations look to you for these services? First of all, we would gain the trust locally – we have a track record. We're investing heavily in automation so that should really make our price point competitive. And we really value supporting the local economy. I'm hopeful that we have a very solid value proposition. We know the commercial competitors, we know their offerings and I think we have something very special that is very localised and really customer centric and citizen centric as well, because that's the final destination. n



Refugees in Iraq are now able to cash-out their financial assistance via iris identification to ensure the highest level of protection against fraud for the beneficiaries of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The 100% accurate solution removes risks, increases beneficiary privacy, improves speed and ultimately ensures that those who need it receive aid faster and in a more secure way.


Refugees in Iraq benefit from iris identification technology


efugees in Iraq are able to cashout their financial assistance via iris identification following the introduction of an innovative EyePay Cash platform from Zain Cash. Zain Cash is an award-winning mobile wallet, money transfer, electronic bill payment and funds disbursement service in Iraq, and is operated by the Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa. The programme has been developed by Zain Cash in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IrisGuard, a UK-based 48


electronic payment solutions company and a leading supplier of end-to-end iris recognition biometric technology, to ensure the highest level of protection against fraud and improved accountability in transferring cash assistance to the beneficiaries of UNHCR. Currently over 120,000 vulnerable families in Iraq and approximately 30,000 refugees in the country receive cash support via UNHCR, with the agency disbursing over US$60 million through its partners in 2018 alone. The introduction of iris technology for payment of cash assistance will improve identification accuracy, efficiency and speed

as it is the most accurate, fast and secure biometric personal identifier available today. Only the entitled refugee will be able to cash-out without any need for any other identification tools, it massively reduces fraud and as such, the much-needed aid is provided to those who it is intended for. It is worth mentioning that UNHCR has in place a high level of security and encryption for its registration data. A streamlined disbursement process will significantly aid UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations in Iraq who are targeting more than one million displaced


Iraqis and refugees for cash assistance in 2019. Ayman Gharaibeh, UNHCR Iraq Representative, said: “UNHCR always looks for new and improved technologies that can help enhance protection services to refugees, including cash assistance. We have been utilising iris scan technology to facilitate assistance in the MENA region – in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt – and it has proven to be a most effective and efficient channel. “Iris scan reinforces the dignity of the beneficiaries ensuring their identity through their iris and thus is fraud free. UNHCR is glad that Zain Cash is taking the lead in rolling out the use of iris scan technology in Iraq in co-operation with IrisGuard.”


Zain Cash CEO, Yazen Altimimi, said: “Zain has a strong commitment to the people of Iraq and its residents. We are steadfast in our desire to play an important role in the socio-economic development of this great nation, and as such our collaboration with UNHCR and IrisGuard allows us to return greater dignity, privacy and ensure financial inclusion of vulnerable people throughout Iraq, and we expect the streamlined disbursement of critical cash assistance to those in need will have a marked and immediate positive impact on their lives.” Imad Malhas, Founder and CEO at IrisGuard, said: “We are proud to be leading the way in providing financial inclusion for vulnerable INTELLIGENTCIO



populations in the blink of an eye. We are delighted to be partnered with Zain Cash and the UNHCR providing a reliable, 100% accurate solution which removes risks, increases beneficiary privacy, improves speed and ultimately ensures that those who need it receive aid faster and in a more secure way.” By integrating the iris technology in the registration and cash-out of assistance to refugees, the disbursement process is set to become more streamlined and secure and quick in comparison to the previous process which took over 15 days.



The on-boarding process for iris biometric capture is fast and simple – the IrisGuard imager captures a greyscale image of the iris, converting it to a reliable and permanent Unique Verifiable Identity (UVI) that is used for cross-matching purposes. IrisGuard’s EyePay Phone is the first of its kind; and capable of authenticating identity on a global scale within three seconds. This new smartphone combines IrisGuard’s expertise in iris recognition technology with mobile capability, providing the world’s only one to millions iris comparison in real-time.

IrisGuard was founded in 2001 and is a UK-based electronic payment solutions company and a leading supplier of end-toend iris recognition biometric technology for large-scale deployments, focused on managing trusted human identity requirements for large populations. Zain Cash was launched in late 2015 by Zain and Iraq Wallet, allowing users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services via their mobile phone. The service was subsequently chosen by UNHCR as a disbursement mechanism for refugees in Iraq. n



The configuration mistakes that provide field days for hackers There’s no escaping the fact that many modern cyberthreats are incredibly sophisticated and difficult to prevent. But there are steps that enterprises can take to stop hackers leveraging some of the preventable mistakes that can leave organisations at risk. Tim Bandos, Vice President of Cybersecurity at Digital Guardian, details the top five configuration gaffes that organisations must avoid to reduce threat exposure.


ometimes it’s the little things. In hindsight, more often than not, getting hacked can stem from a minor misstep or completely preventable mistake. Common security mistakes and overlooked misconfigurations can open the door for malware or attackers, potentially leaving your environment and any exposed data ripe for the picking. Avoid these top five configuration gaffes to reduce the threat exposure to your organisation.

Default credentials It almost seems too obvious to include here but leaving default usernames and passwords unconfigured for databases, installations and devices, by far, is one of the most common and easy items for a hacker to exploit. Leaving default credentials on network devices such as firewalls, routers or even operating systems, allows adversaries to simply use password checking scanners to walk right in. In more skilled set-ups, hackers can simply stage a series of scripted attacks geared at brute forcing devices by focusing on either default usernames and passwords, or basic passwords like ‘qwerty’ or ‘12345’. INTELLIGENTCIO







layers upon layers of protection to combat attempts to gain access, like a brute force attack. Services like Remote Desktop Protocol, or RDP, a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft, can provide administrators with an interface to control computers remotely. Increasingly, cybercriminals have taken to leveraging this exposed protocol when it’s not configured properly.

Tim Bandos, Vice President of Cybersecurity at Digital Guardian

Administrators should leverage a combination of strong or complex passwords, firewalls and access control lists in order to reduce the likelihood of a compromise.

Delayed software patching A few months ago, researchers uncovered a Python-based web scanner, Xwo, that can easily scan the web for exposed web services and default passwords. After collecting default MySQL, MongoDB, Postgre SQL and Tomcat credentials, the scanner forwards the results back to a command and control server. Leaving default credentials on any device is akin to leaving your keys in a locked door. Even a 12-year-old with some Internet access at home could majorly breach a corporation just by using one of these freely available tools on the Internet to check for default credentials.

Password reuse Having strong and complex passwords isn’t the only action that needs to be taken when securing your environment. Often, I see environments that’ll leverage the same user account and password across every device in a fleet of endpoints. Sure, to an IT administrator this may be convenient but it’s not necessary and can grant an attacker the ability to pivot across every machine, even if only one of those computers has been breached.

This, like leaving default credentials on a server or system, may seem like another potential no-brainer. It’s worth pointing out that keeping operating systems up to date and patched appropriately can prove significantly effective at preventing a breach, however. While there are numerous exploits and vulnerabilities found daily – and yes it can be difficult to keep up – if administrators aren’t properly maintaining their patch levels, then it’s game over. Ironically, of the breaches I’ve worked on where the attacker’s gotten in via a vulnerability, a majority of them have been a vulnerability that was ridiculously old. It shouldn’t come as a surprise – attackers will continue exploiting old bugs as long as they’re effective. There’s hype around detecting and preventing zero days but the most common vulnerabilities that are exploited can be classified as a fossil.

Logging turned off From there, attackers can leverage credential dumping programs to get their hands on the passwords or even the hashes themselves and then it’s open season. Avoid password reuse at all costs and disable any accounts that are not required.

Exposed remote desktop services and default ports Any externally facing device that’s connected to the Internet should have

Disabled logging doesn’t necessarily allow an attacker to get into a system, but it does allow them to act like a ghost while they’re in there. Once in, hackers can move laterally through a network in search of data or assets to exfiltrate. Without logging, they can do all this while leaving zero tracks behind. This creates a true ‘needle in a haystack’ scenario for incident responders and forensic analysts and makes their job that much harder


when trying to reconstruct what may have happened during an incident or intrusion. Enabling logging and having it sent to a centralised location, like a security information and event management (SIEM) platform is highly recommended. That data will provide the breadcrumbs needed by forensic analysts during an incident response investigation to reconstruct the attack and scope the intrusion. Additionally, it can prove highly useful when it comes to responding to threats that may have triggered an alert from an event in the collection of said logs. Having appropriate security configurations requires your applications, servers and databases to be hardened in accordance with best practices. Leaving these devices or platforms in a default state only makes the job of an attacker that much easier. It may not happen right away, but they’ll discover these misconfigurations at some point, gain unauthorised access – and depending on their intent – steal sensitive data or cause damage. Avoid becoming an easy target and follow these precautionary steps to protect yourself and your data. n





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Nutanix helps Saudi port operator future-proof operations and prepare for increase in container volumes Nutanix, a leader in enterprise cloud computing, has announced that the Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO), a port operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is leveraging Nutanix software to increase IT capacity to support growing operations across Saudi port facilities while also reducing IT management overheads. This includes successfully accommodating a 50% spike in container volumes with no impact on operational efficiency.

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CASE STUDY BENEFITS • Agile and scalable IT infrastructure to keep pace with 50% growth in container port traffic • 15% saving on IT Operational Expenditure (OpEx) through major reduction in rack occupancy, lower power and cooling requirements plus significant savings in management and support • Enhanced availability and instant failover using built-in snapshot and replication tools across Enterprise Cloud clusters in two separate data centres

SOLUTIONS • Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform hosted across two replication/ failover clusters • Prism management plane • VMware Hypervisor

APPLICATIONS • Navis N4 Terminal Operating System (TOS) • EmPower employee performance management platform • Microsoft Dynamics GP • In-house ERP solution • SQL Server • Microsoft Windows file, print and management servers


BUSINESS NEED As the organisation responsible for the management of three major port container and bulk terminals in KSA, Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO) is fully committed to supporting the government’s Saudi Vision 2030 agenda for economic diversification. Scalable, reliable and easy to manage IT systems are recognised as key to delivering this agenda which meant the company would have to both virtualise existing workloads and replace its end-of-life physical infrastructure 56


with a more flexible and scalable hyperconverged solution to cope with predicted increases in customer demand.

easier to both scale and manage. We simply couldn’t have handled the recent massive growth in container traffic without it.”  

Nutanix Enterprise Cloud was chosen as that solution, enabling GSCCO to reach a milestone of 50% growth in container traffic well ahead of schedule whilst, at the same time, significantly lowering operational overheads. Hossam El-Masry, Information Technology Manager, GSCCO, said: “With zero downtime even during major capacity upgrades, migration to Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has revolutionised our IT infrastructure, making it quicker, more reliable and much

CHALLENGE In order for port management specialist, Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO), to meet its commitment to the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 agenda for economic diversification, it needed to make big changes to its IT. Virtualisation was a real priority as was replacement of the legacy three-tier server


plus storage hardware in its data centre. With three port terminals operations to manage the company was also keen to migrate to a solution that would integrate management of all physical and virtual resources through a single interface as well as provide tools to enhance the resiliency of its IT infrastructure. “We wanted a solution that would deliver linear scalability to handle predicted rapid growth in container traffic,” said Hossam El-Masry, Information Technology Manager at GSCCO. “We were also looking for greater resiliency and the ability to upgrade and manage the infrastructure without any downtime or impact in any way on the level of service provided to staff and customers at the ports we manage.”

SOLUTION Following a comprehensive evaluation of hyper-converged solutions from a number of vendors, the team at GSCCO decided on Nutanix Enterprise Cloud with implementation in two phases. The first involved installation of a primary Enterprise Cloud cluster in the GSCCO data centre, followed by virtualisation of as many server workloads as possible then subsequent decommissioning of the legacy hardware once the new software and client workloads were fully operational.

“The Enterprise Cloud delivered fully on its promise of cloud-like scalability, enabling us to add additional nodes in hours rather than days or even weeks with the old hardware, and with no downtime,” he said. “We now also have a much more resilient infrastructure,” he continued, “allowing us to keep the ports running at all times with no disruption in service during maintenance and rapid failover to our recovery site to enable us to keep the ports working should we suffer a power outage or other problem.”

CUSTOMER OUTCOME As part of the migration to the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud, El-Masry and his team have virtualised all of the GCSSO workloads leaving just a handful of legacy systems with specific hardware dependencies. This has led to a significant increase in performance and greater capacity. It has also allowed the port operator to reduce rack occupancy by a full 1.5 racks, in turn, leading to a significant reduction in associated power and cooling overheads. The support team, too, has benefited by being able to manage the two sites and all physical and virtual resources from the one Nutanix Prism console. Moreover, the support

team no longer need specialist storage management skills and are able to spend more time supporting users and planning for further developments than struggling to just keep the data centre working. “Not only have we saved on capital IT spending, we have also achieved a saving of around 15% in terms of OpEx,” said ElMasry. “We’ve also been able to bring new developments online earlier than planned including recent major upgrades to our Navis N4 Terminal Operating System and EmPower employee performance management systems needed to cope with the extra container traffic expected going forward.”

NEXT STEPS In the short term it’s business as usual with El-Masry and his team focused on further expanding the Enterprise Cloud deployment to cope with continued growth. Looking to the future the company is evaluating possible use of public cloud services, process automation and support for the Internet of Things (IoT) and is doing so confident in the knowledge that the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud is uniquely equipped to enable them to take advantage of these and other new technologies and do so at minimal risk and expense. n

The second phase required the building of a Disaster Recovery facility at the company’s Jeddah Islamic Port location equipped with a second Enterprise Cloud cluster to be used for snapshot replication, backup and Disaster Recovery using tools included as standard in the Nutanix software stack. The full installation was completed in late 2016, since then the company has put the promised scalability to the test by adding additional nodes to cope with growing IT demands in each of the following years. With the previous infrastructure this would have required weeks of planning to cope with the disruption and possible downtime that would have ensued but, with the Nutanix Enterprise, it was a quick, seamless and trouble free exercise, as El-Masry confirms.



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Ciena provides foundation for new Batelco Gulf Network

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Batelco has selected Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical Platform as the foundation for the new Batelco Gulf Network Cable System which connects all countries across the GCC as a reliable alternative to submarine cables with greater scalable capacity and shorter inter-Gulf latency. This runs over a state-of-the-art optical transport network and provides Bahrain with a new international gateway enabling it to deal with mission critical traffic.

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atelco, the Bahrain Telecommunications Company, the leading digital services provider in the Kingdom of Bahrain, has selected Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical Platform as the foundation for the new Batelco Gulf Network (BGN). The BGN runs over a state-of-the-art optical transport network (OTN) to meet the demand for reliable and cost-effective high bandwidth connectivity and capacity for Batelco customers and international carriers’ wholesale needs, supporting up to 8.8Tbps and beyond. The BGN cable system will be connecting all the countries across the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) in the Arabian Gulf region. Consumers and businesses across the GCC are consuming more OTT (Over-TheTop) content such as HD video and services

from local and international providers, driving demand for additional high-speed connectivity services. The BGN terrestrial fibre cable extends 1,400km and is managed by Batelco with full control and manageability and can be interconnected with other regional and global cable systems for access to onward connectivity to Europe, Asia, Africa and the rest of the world. Batelco Chief Global Business Officer, Adel Al-Daylami, said that Batelco chose to invest in the Batelco Gulf Network as a fully owned and managed terrestrial fibre optic cable network, thus providing the country with a new state-of-the-art international gateway that will enable Bahrain to meet the growing demand for data services and applications.

“The BGN is a reliable alternative to more vulnerable submarine cables, all with scalable capacity and the shortest inter-Gulf latency. This new partnership with Ciena will enable us to achieve all of this,” Al-Daylami added. Virginie Hollebecque, Managing Director for Western Europe and the Middle East, Ciena, said: “Ciena is delighted to partner with Batelco on the Batelco Gulf Network, which will enhance communications and deliver world class networking services for customers, and position Bahrain as a regional leader and innovator in telecoms services. “Ciena is committed to supporting Batelco through our extensive global experience and expertise, and comprehensive professional services in the region, to deliver highly secure and reliable connectivity to Batelco and its customers.” Intelligent CIO spoke to Virginie Hollebecque, Managing Director for Western Europe and the Middle East, Ciena, to find out more about the project.

How far has the project positioned Bahrain as a regional leader and innovator in telecoms services? The Kingdom of Bahrain is emerging as a regional leader in Digital Transformation as it has been an early adopter of reforms

WE ALSO SEE A STRONG TREND IN TELCOS TOWARDS THE ADOPTION OF ADAPTIVE NETWORK. to support technology-driven businesses and empower them to drive the economy. Batelco’s efforts are aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the Government Action Plan 2019-2022 in positioning Bahrain as a major hub for ICT and data movement.







Ciena is a global and a diversified company used to deal with mission critical traffic. Therefore, on a business perspective, we leverage our resources to facilitate Batelco extending its international market by providing the underlying packet optical technology for the Batelco Global Network (BGN). This partnership has the main goal of ensuring scalability and reliability of our network platforms which is paramount for a successful project.

Can you explain the nature of your partnership with Batelco? Batelco has selected Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical Platform as the foundation for the Batelco Global Network (BGN). The BGN runs over a state-of-the-art optical transport network (OTN) to meet the demand for reliable and cost-effective high bandwidth connectivity and capacity for Batelco customers and international carriers’ wholesale needs. Today, we are seeing an increasing bandwidth growth backed by the need for high quality software control and agile connectivity. Businesses rely on their network 24/7 and they are looking for an always-on, responsive and high-quality experience. In addition, we also see a strong trend in telcos towards the adoption of Adaptive Network, which is a new approach that expands on autonomous networking concepts to transform the static network into a dynamic, programmable environment driven by analytics and intelligence. This is a network that can grow with a company as its business needs and markets change.


more and more people to join our thriving digital economy.

How long did the project take to implement and were there any particular challenges that needed to be overcome?

How successfully does the optical transport network (OTN) meet Batelco’s demand for reliable and cost-effective high bandwidth connectivity and capacity?

The project was completed in a record time and is live now carrying mission critical traffic for Batelco customers. Since Batelco needs and their customers’ needs are constantly changing, the network is designed in a way to support these needs with minimal disruption.

Do you have any similar projects planned for the region? Yes. We have similar projects in the region. Like many other parts of the world, the Middle East region has embraced the impact of digitisation and service providers are taking steps to create more reliable and adaptive networks that can cater to user demands for higher bandwidth services. Ciena’s aim is to work with service providers in the region to enable a better-connected society; while creating opportunities for

OTN is a next-generation, industry-standard protocol that provides an efficient and globally accepted way to multiplex different services onto optical light paths. To meet Batelco’s requirements, we understand it is paramount to quickly evolve to deal with an explosion of digital traffic driven by multimedia services, mobile applications, social media, VoIP and cloud computing. Today, most network traffic is packet-based, generated by a multitude of services and applications in bursty, unpredictable traffic patterns, with widely varying and more stringent demands on bandwidth and data transmission performance. Thus, OTN wraps each client payload transparently into a container for transport across optical networks, preserving the client’s native structure, timing information

We are thrilled to have partnered with Batelco, as the backbone of BGN answers the growing demand of high-speed and low-latency connectivity solutions of the customers in Bahrain.

Can you explain how the project can ensure reliable connectivity to Batelco and its customers? The BGN supports high bandwidths in order to meet the demand for reliable and cost-effective connectivity and capacity for Batelco customers and international carriers’ wholesale needs. The BGN cable system




Intelligent CIO spoke to Adel Al-Daylami, Chief Global Business Officer at Batelco, to ask further questions.


What were the main reasons you decided to select Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical Platform as the foundation for the new Batelco Global Network? We have selected Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical Platform as the foundation for the new BGN as it is a leader in providing future-proof technology to meet the growing demand of our customers.

and management information. The enhanced multiplexing capability of OTN allows different traffic types – including Ethernet, storage and digital video, as well as SONET/SDH – to be carried over a single Optical Transport Unit frame. OTN’s cost-effectiveness, ease of implementation and simplicity offer companies a straightforward, painless solution to evolving network needs. In addition to scaling the network to 100G and beyond, OTN plays a key role in making the network an open and programmable platform, enabling transport to become as important as computing and storage in intelligent data centre networking.

Furthermore, Ciena’s expertise enables us to achieve our vision and commitment in ensuring BGN is a reliable alternative to more vulnerable submarine cables, all with scalable capacity and the shortest inter-Gulf latency. We strongly believe this partnership caters for the growing digital economy, which is underpinned by the efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the GCC in the field of communications. Batelco’s comprehensive plans are designed to support the establishment of a robust national and international infrastructure. We are committed to strengthening our delivery to contribute towards Bahrain's presence as a major ICT hub, and we hope to build on this platform to ensure future success.

Has Batelco seen an increase in demand for high-speed connectivity services? If so, what are the reasons behind this?

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Consumers and businesses across the GCC are consuming more OTT (Over-The-Top) content such as HD videos and services from local and international providers, driving demand for additional high-speed connectivity services.

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Additionally, the Middle East telecom sector is witnessing an exponential growth of opportunities for operators to transform their revenue models through the introduction of new and innovative digital services related to data, content, OTT communications, IoT, 5G, eCommerce, mobile payments or managed services.

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However, in order to create these new revenue streams, service providers need to build the platform on which they can deploy cutting-edge technologies with guaranteed speed, performance, reliability and scalability.

Can you explain the importance of the Batelco Global Network to Bahrain? We are the leading digital solutions provider in the Kingdom of Bahrain with a commitment to enhance customer experience. At Batelco we serve both the corporate and consumer markets through the delivery of cutting-edge fixed and wireless telecommunications solutions. Our comprehensive portfolio of solutions for the residential, business and government segments in Bahrain include all IP fixed and 4G LTE wireless Home Internet networks, 5G and MPLS based regional data solutions. Batelco’s digitisation and connectivity goals are in line with those of the Kingdom of Bahrain to transform how businesses operate as well as transform the lives of residents, enabling everyone to connect, work and live better through the delivery of technologybased products and solutions. With an ongoing commitment to roll out Smart Home and Smart City digital solutions, Batelco is playing a crucial role in the Kingdom’s prosperity and development.

Why is the BGN a reliable alternative to more vulnerable submarine cables? The BGN features alternative pathways for submerged underwater routes, and with the introduction of the protection enhancement, customers can enjoy high reliable worryfree solutions allowing them to run their operations smoothly and facilitating the introduction of new and innovative services.

What is the importance of having ‘the shortest inter-Gulf latency’? Low latency, when coupled with reliable and scalable capacity, enables a myriad of new use cases, especially as applications are increasingly migrating to the cloud data centres, so having the lowest latency allows operators to differentiate their service offerings, while allowing end-users to benefit from and leverage the improved overall network performance. n


Tackle tomorrow’s digital business security risks With organisations still struggling to attract the right security talent, Earl Perkins, Vice President, Analyst, Gartner, says organisations must change their talent development and recruiting practices to address the issue.


s cybersecurity risks increase in digital business, organisations continue to struggle in attracting, retaining and, most critically, developing security talent.

attracting, retaining and developing security talent. Organisations must change their talent development and recruiting practices to be able to address missing skills. Start by building and developing a list of new competencies and skills required to support digital business initiatives.

Security and risk management leaders responsible for information security must evolve their practices and organisational cultures to keep pace with the digital business era. “Risk management, governance, business continuity and people – the most important asset – are critical elements of a successful risk and security programme,” said Earl Perkins, Vice President, Analyst at Gartner. “When allocating resources and selecting products and services this year, security and risk management leaders should consider three important strategic planning assumptions.” By 2022, 40% of Business Continuity Management (BCM) programmes will be integrated into the digital business risk management structure rather than exist as separate practices. The momentum of Digital Transformation projects within digital business will outpace the ability of organisations to accommodate changes related to security. Concurrently, the growing need to provide 24/7 technology services to support digital business and customer-facing services is changing the way that organisations interact internally and externally. These changes, as well as the constant threat of cyberattacks,

Then adapt short-term skills management practices by outsourcing security functions to managed security service providers (MSSPs) and/or delegating responsibilities to other internal staff. Earl Perkins, Vice President, Analyst at Gartner

will lead organisations to formalise the relationship between BCM and digital information security functions. “Stakeholders should be urged to accept BCM as part of the organisational structure,” said Perkins. “Managers within the digital business who oversee the delivery of critical activities will need to gain the necessary skills to engage with resilience planning as a business-as-usual function.” Through 2022, 30% of large enterprises will build a security skills management programme including experimental recruiting and talent development practices. Cybersecurity risks are increasing despite the efforts of trained security professionals. Organisations continue to struggle with

By 2022, 75% of organisations that outsource email and collaboration tools won’t meet their critical recovery objectives during a supplier outage. Email and collaboration applications are considered mission-critical resources for most organisations. Conducting business without them can impede production, result in lost transactions and hamper crisis management activities. When an organisation outsources these applications, many suppliers do not provide recovery with short timeframes. “It’s imperative for the organisation to maintain internal control and governance over all applications used in the delivery of products and services,” said Perkins. “It is also crucial to understand your vendor’s recovery commitments and communication protocols for outages to ensure they meet recovery requirements.” n INTELLIGENTCIO



Embrace gender diversity in security and risk management roles Roberta Witty, VP Analyst, Gartner, says the worldwide shortage of cybersecurity talent can be solved by recruiting diverse teams.


iverse teams provide an immediate and long-lasting solution to the global shortage of security talent. For every 100 security and risk management (SRM) executives, only about a quarter of them are women. The good news is that as the benefits of diversity are more widely realised that number will increase by nearly 15% by 2020. “While this makes for pretty sober reading, the good news is that the general workforce pipeline has a more balanced male-tofemale ratio, meaning that over time, it’s likely that there will be more female leaders in the discipline,” said Roberta Witty, VP Analyst, Gartner. Gender diverse and inclusive teams outperform gender-homogeneous, lessinclusive teams by an average of 50%

Early exposure to security and risk management disciplines develops more qualified candidates and provides professional support for gender parity. Gartner recommends that companies target women while they’re still in school to sell them on a career in security and risk management. “Grow the general workforce pipeline for security and risk management by partnering with primary, secondary and higher educational institutions to introduce young women to the security and risk management professions,” said Witty. “Do not focus only on technical educational programmes; approach liberal arts and communications academic programmes to ensure that females understand the value of a security and risk management career choice.”

The Gartner Gender Diversity in Security and Risk Management Survey explored how gender diversity impacts the ability of an organisation to manage its security and risk management objectives.

Retain diverse talent

Recruit diverse teams and outperform others

However, concerted efforts must be taken to retain them; otherwise, women may leave their positions to find a transparent and supportive work environment elsewhere.

Gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperform gender-homogeneous, lessinclusive teams by an average of 50%. Recent Gartner research found that managers of inclusive technology teams were more likely to say their teams outperformed non-inclusive teams in all seven measures studied, including implementing new ideas and making timely decisions. 64


People want to work where they know they will be accepted and respected for their unique background Implement gender-blind recruiting practices and training to mitigate gender discrimination and use retention practices that promote women to top leadership and executive positions. Providing work-life balance practices such as flexible work hours is a competitive differentiator in the labour market that can improve the retention and recruitment of women. People want to work where they know they will be accepted and respected for their unique background, skills and knowledge. It is a win-win situation for all parties. These efforts will contribute to the vast majority of organisations that will exceed their financial targets through 2022 by equipping frontline decision-making teams with a diverse and inclusive culture. n

Women find security and risk management professions to be excellent career paths, according to the survey.

Respondents believe sponsoring and mentoring high-potential women will improve the recruitment and retention of women in security and risk management. Diversity task forces are extremely important, but mandatory diversity training, job tests and grievance systems are not perceived as beneficial for organisational diversity.

Roberta Witty, VP Analyst, Gartner


Nexans launches Enspace High Density Fibre Panels


Cabling leader Nexans has launched new panels that are ideal for server racks and medium sized data centres.


exans, a worldwide leader in cables and cabling systems, has announced the launch of its High Density patch panels to complete its LANmark-OF ENSPACE range, which already comprises of Ultra High Density panels. The new ENSPACE HD panels are available in two versions: 1U with 96LC connections and 2U with 192LC connections. These complement the existing range of ENSPACE UHD panels, which can hold 144LC connections in 1U. The ENSPACE HD panels are designed for server racks or patching zones which don’t require ultra-high density.

The ENSPACE HD panels have two fixed trays per U. The staggered trays, together with the open top and bottom of the front of the panel, allow for maximum access to the patch cords to facilitate operations.


The label slides easily inside the rear of the front door to document moves, adds and changes. As the panels have no moving parts, patch cords and trunks can’t get stuck between the trays. The ENSPACE modules can be installed from the front and the rear of the panel without disconnecting already installed trunks or cords. This allows you to add ports without disrupting active channels. The modules are available in three types to support different installation and protocol requirements: MTP-LC adaptor modules, LC adaptor modules and MTP adaptor modules. The ENSPACE trunks are fixed at the rear of the panel in cable gland slot holders. These can be installed in various orientations (side, angle, rear) to allow maximum flexibility during installation. n






Seven best practices for securing the public cloud

///////////////////////////// Harish Chib, Vice President – Middle East and Africa, Sophos, outlines seven important steps that every organisation can take to secure the public cloud.


he simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the public cloud have led more and more organisations to take advantage of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). While the public cloud solves many traditional IT resourcing challenges, it does introduce new headaches. The rapid growth of cloud usage has resulted in a fractured distribution of data, with workloads spread across disparate instances and, for some organisations, platforms. As a result, keeping track of the data, workloads and architecture changes in those environments to keep everything secure is often a highly challenging task. Public cloud providers are responsible for the security of the cloud (the physical data centres and the separation of customer environments and data). However, the responsibility for securing the workloads and data placed in the cloud lies firmly with the customer. Just as organisations need to secure the data stored in their onpremises networks, so they need to secure their cloud environment. Misunderstandings around this distribution of ownership is widespread and the resulting security gaps have made cloud-based workloads the new pot of gold for today’s savvy hackers.

Seven steps to securing the public cloud The secret to effective cybersecurity in the cloud is improving your overall security posture – ensuring your architecture is secure and configured correctly, that you have the necessary visibility into your architecture and importantly into who is accessing it.

Step 1: Learn your responsibilities Security is handled a little differently in the cloud. Public cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform run a shared responsibility model – meaning they ensure the security of the cloud, while you are responsible for anything you place in the cloud.

activities, with real-time snapshots of your network topology and real-time alerts to any changes.

Step 5: Automate your security controls Cybercriminals increasingly take advantage of automation in their attacks. Stay ahead of the hackers by automating your defences, including remediation of vulnerabilities and anomaly reporting.

Step 6: Secure ALL your environments (including dev and QA) You need a solution that can secure your environments (production, development and QA) both reactively and proactively

Step 2: Plan for multi-cloud When planning your security strategy start with the assumption that you’ll run multi-cloud – if not now, at some point in the future. In this way you can future proof your approach.

Step 3: See everything If you can’t see it, you can’t secure it. That’s why one of the biggest requirements to getting your security posture right is getting accurate visibility of all your cloud-based infrastructure, configuration settings, API calls and user access.

Step 4: Integrate compliance into daily processes The dynamic nature of the public cloud means that continuous monitoring is the only way to ensure compliance with many regulations. The best way to achieve this is to integrate compliance into daily

Step 7: Apply your on-premises security learnings On-premises security is the result of decades of experience and research. Use firewalls and server protection to secure your cloud assets against infection and data loss and keep your endpoint and email security up to date on your devices to prevent unauthorised access to cloud accounts. Moving from traditional to cloud-based workloads offers huge opportunities for organisations of all sizes. Yet securing the public cloud is imperative if you are to protect your infrastructure and organisation from cyberattacks. By following the seven steps you can maximise the security of your public clouds, while also simplifying management and compliance reporting. n




EVOTEQ and Khazna to build Sharjah’s first Tier 3 data centre

///////////////////////////// banks, universities, enterprises and technology companies.

EVOTEQ and Khazna have signed an agreement to jointly develop the first Tier 3 data centre in Sharjah

EVOTEQ and Khazna are collaborating to jointly develop the first Tier 3 data centre in Sharjah.


VOTEQ, a leading Digital Transformation catalyst in the Middle East, and Khazna, the UAE's largest data centre wholesale provider, are collaborating with a view to jointly develop Sharjah's first Tier 3 data centre.

Data centres are fast becoming the foundation blocks for enabling Smart Cities safeguarding business continuity, key operations and data sovereignty, which form the blueprint of Smart Cities. EVOTEQ and Khazna intend to combine their expertise to develop an industry-standard Tier 3 data centre, encompassing high-tech security, fire and environmental control systems, and full redundancy grade power.

The data centre will enable faster and more efficient Digital Transformation of Sharjah and its development into a Smart City.

The collaboration is a response to the growing demand for secure, world-class data infrastructure by local and international entities. Target sectors of the new data centre include government departments,

The agreement was formalised by Jihad Tayara, CEO of EVOTEQ; and Hassan Al Naqbi, CEO of Khazna Data Centers in the presence of HH Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, Director General of Sharjah Department of e-Government Relations; HE Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of Sharjah’s Department of Government Relations; HE Salim Al Owais, Chairman of EVOTEQ; Badr Al Olama, Senior Executive of Mubadala; and HE Khaled Al Huraimel, Executive Board Member of EVOTEQ.




In addition to enabling and supporting the growth of Sharjah into a Smart City, the planned data centre will also enhance business continuity and scalability opportunities for commercial and government entities. Furthermore, the data centre will support Sharjah’s goals for attracting global and leading technology companies to invest in the Emirate. This is part of the wider vision for the Emirate to bring sustainable economic returns and generate jobs for UAE nationals. Jihad Tayara, CEO of EVOTEQ, said of the announcement: “EVOTEQ aims to play a critical role in the region's Digital Transformation, beginning with the UAE. Building a Tier 3 data centre in Sharjah will bring considerable digital experience and technological expertise to the table and we are delighted to work with Khazna in developing this ground-breaking project.” Tayara added: “The data centre holds immense benefits to the Sharjah public and private sector and will ensure their future development as the Emirate continues its transitions to a smarter city. We look forward to creating immense value for Sharjah through this project and building the city’s reputation as a forward looking, futuristic city in line with the leadership’s ambitions.” Hassan Al Naqbi, CEO of Khazna Data Centers, said of the partnership: "We are delighted to partner with EVOTEQ on this ambitious project, as we share a mutual interest in driving Digital Transformation in the UAE. Building Sharjah’s first Tier 3 data centre will have immense economic benefits not only in Sharjah, but also the wider UAE.” n


Today’s DDoS attacks are more prevalent, multi-vector in nature and morph over time. With millions of IoT devices predicted to be in use over the coming years, driven by the transition to 5G networks, traditional DDoS solutions will quickly become inadequate.

63 PERCENT In a recent A10 Networks survey of mobile operators, 63 percent saw advanced DDoS protection as the most important security capability needed for 5G networks. And, in an IDG research report, respondents confirmed that the number-one most important capability in a DDoS solution was

In today’s climate with the dramatic increase in polymorphic multi-vector attacks and the chronic shortage of qualified security professionals, enterprises and service providers need intelligently automated defenses that can accomplish tasks autonomously. Manual interventions are not only resource-intensive but too slow and ineffective, resulting in a greater potential of network downtime and high cost to the organization.”

automated detection and mitigation.

ZERO-DAY AUTOMATED PROTECTION (ZAP) A10 Networks’ ZAP is comprised of two components: dynamic attack pattern recognition by a machine learning algorithm and

Lee Chen CEO of A10 Networks

heuristic behavior analysis recognition to dynamically identify anomalous behavior and block attacking agents. ZAP works in conjunction with A10 Networks’ adaptive DDoS security model and its five-level adaptive policy mitigation engines to provide a complete in-depth defense system. This comprehensive approach blocks DDoS attacks while protecting legitimate users from indiscriminate collateral damage typically associated with traditional DDoS protection methods.


The A10 Networks team will be at GITEX in Sheikh Rashid Hall, booth SR-J10. Visit to book a meeting with the team.



Born in the Cloud. Built on Automation. Fueled by Insights.

Security Transformed

McAfee and the McAfee logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of McAfee, LLC or its subsidiaries in the US and other countries. Copyright © 2019 McAfee, LLC




INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Enterprise Security

Vectra expands operations in the Middle East

///////////////////////////// After strong growth in other regions Vectra is expanding its operations in the Middle East region.

natively run the Cognito platform in AWS environments to rapidly detect and respond to cyberthreats in the cloud. In September 2018, the company announced that Cognito can run natively in Microsoft Azure cloud environments with virtual sensors that integrate with the Azure Virtual Network Terminal Access Point (TAP). Both integrations enable Vectra to provide complete cyberattacker detection and response without requiring agents.


ectra, a leader in network threat detection and response, has announced it is expanding business operations in the Middle East to arm enterprise organisations and managed detection-and-response providers with a platform to stop in-progress cyberattacks in the cloud. To accommodate its rapidly growing customer base in the region, Vectra is expanding customer success, professional services, sales and security engineering capabilities along with additional channel partner support. Fuelled by a recent US$100 million Series E funding round, Vectra’s regional headquarters in Dubai is crucial to the company’s global go-to-market channel strategy to deliver advanced AI to detect and respond faster to cyberattacks. Earlier this year, Vectra strengthened its presence in Australia and the Asia-Pacific


Ammar Enaya, Vectra’s Regional Director in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa

region. The company also operates throughout North America and Europe, and has research-and-development centres in Dublin, Ireland, Austin, Texas and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Powered by AI, the Cognito platform from Vectra enables enterprise organisations to detect cyberattackers in real time and empowers threat hunters to perform conclusive incident investigations. Cognito provides 360-degree visibility into hidden threats in cloud, data centres, user and Internet-of-Things (IoT) infrastructures, leaving attackers with nowhere to hide. Vectra recently announced that its Cognito platform integrates with Amazon Web Services Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) traffic mirroring. Enterprises can now

“Cloud architectures are plagued by security vulnerabilities,” said Ammar Enaya, Vectra’s Regional Director in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa. “The SANS Institute says that one out of five businesses were hit by unauthorised access to their cloud environments in the past year. As more enterprises turn to the cloud for greater operational scale and cost efficiencies, it’s critical to address these security vulnerabilities so businesses can innovate free from external threats.” The Cognito platform makes a considerable contribution to closing the cybersecurity skills gap. Completely overwhelmed, security analysts today must manually sift through thousands of threat alerts and logs each day to find cyberattackers. Driven by AI, Cognito completely automates these manual and mundane processes and prioritises active attacks that pose the highest risk. This reduces the security operations workload by 34X and enables skilled analysts to focus their attention on threat hunting and data breach prevention. Vectra is a representative vendor in the Gartner Market Guide for Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems and Vectra is a representative vendor in the Gartner Market Guide for Network Traffic Analysis. n



INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Green Technology

EVOTEQ delivers greener HQ for Sharjah City Municipality

///////////////////////////// The implementation will involve the use of EVOTEQ and Johnson Controls’ Digital Vault platform and reduce the carbon footprint of the building.


harjah City Municipality and EVOTEQ have announced a partnership to deploy an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform at the municipality’s headquarters, turning it into a smart building. The move aligns with the government’s agenda to transform Sharjah into a Smart City. The AI platform will provide state-of-theart connected services to achieve the most innovative and efficient work environment for the municipality, while reducing the carbon footprint of the building and improving operational efficiency. Through the implementation of the AI platform, robotics and digitalised services by EVOTEQ, the Sharjah City Municipality headquarters will feature new smart lobby, parking and security functions that use facial recognition to operate seamlessly.

future processes to predict the future state of physical objects and understand potential outcomes before they happen. HE Thabit Salim Al Turaifi, Director General of Sharjah City Municipality, said that the evolution of the municipality’s headquarters into a smart building is a significant step towards accomplishing the comprehensive Digital Transformation that the municipality is aiming for by early next year, in order to enhance its services and emerge as sector leaders. He pointed out that the Sharjah City Municipality is constantly growing and is working to fulfill the UAE Vision 2021 by improving its technological capabilities to facilitate Sharjah’s transition to a knowledgebased and highly productive economy. He added: “The Sharjah Municipality continuously seeks to embrace Digital Transformation and technological development in line with the UAE’s visions and trends in this sphere, and therefore

is eager to adapt AI and next generation technologies in all its operations.” Jihad Tayara, CEO of EVOTEQ, said: “The series of services will take smart living to new heights and digitally transform offices, and how people work, to maximise productivity, efficiency, convenience, business excellence and sustainable practices. This marks the start of a long and fruitful journey by bringing and utilising state-of-the-art AI based services to cater to the needs of the public and private sector and improve the work office and we look forward to replicating the success that we achieve by assisting other organisations in achieving their strategic digital integration and sustainability goals.” The implementation will involve the use of Johnson Controls’ Digital Vault platform that allows building owners and facility managers to achieve smart, AI-enabled environments that will also improve environmental performance through increased energy savings. n

Human resources, procurement and finance back office operations will be integrated and the workspace will be made wholly paperless and digital. Equipped with ready-to-use analytics, the AI platform will also allow Sharjah City Municipality to extend the life of its equipment and efficiently maintain a comfortable environment for its occupants. Customers and employees can also utilise capabilities to eliminate the ‘what-ifs’ in decision-making by simulating or testing



Representatives from Johnson Controls, SCM, and EVOTEQ

INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Mobile Technology

IEC Telecom and partners to present connectivity solutions for energy sector at ADIPEC 2019

///////////////////////////// A global provider of managed network communication solutions, IEC Telecom Group, along with its partners, will showcase their latest connectivity solutions at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry.


igitalisation in the oil and gas sector is a topic of great interest to the industry, with experts beginning to acknowledge the immense benefits it can bring. Energy companies are rapidly adopting digitalisation to stay sustainable and competitive by reducing their production and exploration costs. Oil and gas companies in the Middle East are also increasing their investments in Digital Transformation to scale up their output. According to BP Energy Outlook 2019, the Middle East remains the largest oil producing region and the second largest gas producer, with 36% of global oil and 20% of gas output. Nabil Ben Soussia, Vice President Maritime, IEC Telecom Group, said: “Studies indicate that between now and 2025, Digital Transformation in the oil and gas industry could unlock approximately US$1.6 trillion of value for the industry, its customers and wider society.

In addition, the IEC Telecom stand will feature v85NX, the latest model in Intellian’s easy to install, low-lifecycle cost NX Series of VSAT antennas. Featuring Kaand Ku-band compatibility, all NX Series antennas are future-proof and ready for operation on planned satellite networks operating from Middle Earth Orbit (MEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO), while still providing unmatched performance on Geostationary Orbit satellites. Nabil Ben Soussia, Vice President Maritime, IEC Telecom Group

“Digitalisation has the potential to generate around US$1 trillion for oil and gas businesses as well as create benefits worth approximately US$640 billion for the wider society. The ability to facilitate improved crew communications, online access and seamless operational performance is driving demand for new solutions, accelerating a new era of connectivity.” In this backdrop and to meet changing customer needs, IEC Telecom Group will display its latest solution OneGate Energy, designed as a land variation of its unique solution OneGate, presented earlier this year to maritime (OneGate Marine) and offshore (OneGate Offshore) markets. OneGate keeps remote units connected, providing high quality data for daily operations and staff welfare. It provides access to a virtual platform that hosts a wide range of critical applications. This enables the technical team to maintain, update and upgrade onsite infrastructure remotely, saving time and money on logistics. OneGate also separates the corporate environment from the staff network. Such segregation ensures that e-operations and classified data remain safe eliminating cyberthreats.

At the expo, which runs from November 11 to 14, IEC Telecom also joins forces with its strategic partner Thuraya to showcase the bespoke Thuraya VSAT+ service. Combining the reach of the Ku-band with the flexibility of the L-Band, Thuraya VSAT+ delivers high throughput services for bandwidth-hungry applications, effectively speeding up the digitalisation of offshore platforms. It caters to all vessel types and offshore budget requirements. Together with its strategic satellite broadband partner Yahclick, IEC Telecom will also demonstrate a robust IEC Welfare Solution, specifically designed to provide on-demand data access for team members and third-party contractors at onshore and offshore oil and gas facilities, as well as at remote sites across other industries such as the construction one for instance. Powered by Yahclick satellite broadband, IEC Welfare offers uninterrupted and costeffective connectivity thanks to YahClick’s use of the efficiencies provided by High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technologies over the Ka-Band. Visitors to ADIPEC can learn more about new trends and solutions by visiting the IEC Telecom’s stand at ADIPEC Hall 4, Stand No 410. n



INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Software for Business


SaaS – What’s in it for customers and vendors?

///////////////////////////// Krupa Srivatsan, Director, Product Marketing at Infoblox, says Software-asa-Service is going nowhere with the model offering ‘something for everyone’.


aaS (Software-as-a-Service) is here to stay. This is evident from the widespread adoption of business applications hosted in the cloud such as CRM, payroll processing, collaboration and human resource management software over the last decade. And it is not just business applications these days. Increasingly, networking and security has also moved to the cloud. SaaS is a delivery model where the software is centrally hosted by a vendor and buyers consume the service from the cloud. Whether you are an organisation using applications to run your business or a vendor providing critical software as a service to your customers, there is something for everyone in a SaaS model.

What’s in it for consumers of SaaS: • Reduced IT overheads – Organisations consuming services from the cloud do not need to install or maintain expensive hardware or infrastructure on-premises. If consuming security from the cloud, this is a big advantage because now security can be deployed even in locations where no IT expertise is available. • Immediate access to functionality – Customers get access to the SaaS service immediately upon sign-up without having to wait for shipment and installation of hardware or software. For example,



organisations can immediately improve their security posture by signing up for a cloud-based security offering. Flexible licensing/payment options – SaaS model provides companies an alternative to the traditional CAPEX model where they pay upfront for any hardware needed and a perpetual software license. By shifting to an OPEX model, they can take advantage of lower upfront costs and more predictable recurring costs thereafter. Seamless upgrades – Customers don’t need to worry about updates for latest features or patching their software for vulnerabilities. The SaaS provider always has the latest secure code in the cloud. This enables customers to get immediate access to new innovations and features. Scale as you grow – Organisations don’t have to plan for peak capacity like they do when purchasing infrastructure. They can scale by purchasing higher tiers of the service as they grow. Extend reach – Since SaaS services are delivered from the cloud, it is possible to extend the usage of the services to beyond the traditional on-premises network. For example, security delivered from the cloud can easily be applied to devices on or off

premises which greatly expands the use cases that can be addressed. What’s in it for vendors: • Latest code for all customers – Vendors can allocate resources to provide the latest and greatest to all their customers at the same time, without having to worry about a legacy of old software they may need to support. • Speed of innovation – The speed of innovation is also much greater as vendors can make available new features and functionality to their customers much faster than with a traditional six-month release cycle for on-premises software. • Better customer insight – Companies with SaaS offerings are much closer to the customer than companies with only a traditional model because of more frequent involvement with users of their service. This means they can provide features that the customers actually need based on the feedback loop. Many businesses are in the process of making a shift to consuming services from the cloud because they see greater business value through SaaS. n

Hasan Haider

Areije Al Shakar

Managing Partner 500 Startups MENA

Senior Vice President at Bahrain Development Bank Director at Al Waha Venture Capital Fund of Funds

Hashim Alawadi

Firas Alnaji

CEO Tech Invest Com

Vice President BECO Capital

Walid Hanna

Qusai Al Saif

Co-Founder & CEO Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)

Senior Portfolio Manager Riyad TAQNIA Fund





Kuwait Credit Bank enables cloud-based Disaster Recovery backup system Kuwait Credit Bank has enabled a cloud-based Disaster Recovery backup system allowing it to respond robustly to unexpected emergencies.





uwait Credit Bank (KCB) has enabled a Disaster Recovery backup system to the cloud after forming a strategic partnership with EBLA Computer Consultancy and Microsoft Kuwait. This will enable KCB to retrieve its vital data from the cloud during unexpected emergencies. The project launch ceremony witnessed the attendance of Kuwait Credit Bank’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director Salah Al Mudhaf, Zain Kuwait’s Chief Corporate Communications and Relations Officer Waleed Al Khashti, EBLA Computer Consultancy’s Chief Executive Officer Hilal Arnaout and Microsoft Kuwait’s Government Sector Manager Ali Haddad.

THIS WILL ENABLE KUWAIT CREDIT BANK TO RETRIEVE ITS VITAL DATA FROM THE CLOUD DURING UNEXPECTED EMERGENCIES. equipment, systems and networks, while maintaining the safety and security of all its data.

The ceremony also witnessed the presence of KCB’s information systems team, as well as business and government relations teams from the partners.

He also pointed out that the project comes as part of KCB’s efforts to keep up with the latest technological advancements. He said: “The bank’s executive management is keen on implementing saving policies by migrating all staff’s emails to Microsoft’s Office 365 service on the cloud, which alone saves nearly KD 20,000 annually for every 500 users.”

Kuwait Credit Bank’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director Salah Al Mudhaf expressed his pleasure on the occasion of launching KCB’s Disaster Recovery Backup Site project in collaboration with Microsoft and Dell EMC.

Al Mudhaf explained that the new feat is added to KCB’s long list of achievements, as well as to the successes of the information systems team, whom along the years held the responsibility of transforming the bank’s transactions from paper to digital.

Al Mudhaf said: “The finalisation of the Disaster Recovery Backup Site project marks our second disaster and emergency site, as the first site was built in Kuwait a year ago, and is fully equipped to exactly match the main site, working in parallel with it around the clock and all year-round.

The team also succeeded in preparing and defending the bank’s data networks against cyberattacks, an achievement that received great praise from various related entities.

“The second Disaster Recovery backup site exclusively saves a backup of our data on Microsoft’s cloud (outside Kuwait), making KCB one of the first entities in Kuwait to have a disaster and emergency backup site on the cloud. This also makes KCB the first institution in the State of Kuwait to use Microsoft’s Avamar Backup Cloud Technology in collaboration with Dell EMC.” Al Mudhaf stressed that the new project will ensure the continuation of KCB’s offering of its services to the citizens of Kuwait with the same high efficiency in all circumstances and situations. The project will allow KCB to face any attempts to sabotage its

Al Mudhaf thanked the bank’s information systems centre for its continuous efforts, as well as the Council of Ministers’ Central Agency for Information Technology for their support to finalise the disasters and emergency site project. During the ceremony, Zain Kuwait’s Chief Corporate Communications and Relations Officer Waleed Al Khashti said: “Today we are proud of announcing yet another strategic partnership that brings Zain together with a leading governmental entity: the Kuwait Credit Bank, as we continue to expand our strategic partnerships ecosystem with the Kuwaiti public sector.” Al Khashti added: “We are also pleased to enrich our ongoing partnership with the

world’s biggest tech leaders at Microsoft, and our colleagues at EBLA Computer Consultancy, with the joint aim of bringing forward the latest tech advancements to Kuwait’s enterprise community, both in the public and private sectors. “Today, Zain and KCB’s visions come together to achieve the goals of the Kuwait National Development Plan (New Kuwait 2035) that stems from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah’s conceptualised vision of a new Kuwait by 2035. Our presence today reflects the joint success of the collaboration between the public and private sectors in achieving the country’s developmental goals.” Al Khashti continued: “Zain’s role in this partnership is to offer a high-speed and secure express route to enable KCB’s Disaster Recovery backup system outside Kuwait using Microsoft’s cloud services. This service, which Zain offers exclusively in Kuwait, allows KCB to be prepared for any unexpected emergencies by swiftly and securely retrieving its data from the cloud. “Zain’s promise will always be to present the best and latest services and solutions to serve the further progress of the enterprise ecosystem in partnership with the country’s various institutions. This stems from our goal to enrich our leadership position as the biggest digital service provider in Kuwait.” EBLA Computer Consultancy’s Chief Executive Officer Hilal Arnaout said: “Data is the cornerstone of any organisation, and preserving it is a great responsibility that lies upon the information systems team. Our gathering today is a success story for KCB, and it came to light because of the collaborative efforts of Kuwait’s biggest INTELLIGENTCIO



technology leaders EBLA, Zain, Al Diyar Al Mutaheda and Microsoft Kuwait.” Arnaout added: “EBLA Computer Consultancy enjoys a strategic relationship with Kuwaiti government entities, and we also enjoy a relationship of collaboration and trust with Kuwait Credit Bank. We stress our commitment to support the bank’s Digital Transformation journey in all areas.” Microsoft Kuwait’s Government Sector Manager Ali Haddad said: “Microsoft’s vision comes together with that of Kuwait Credit Bank, and we are proud of this collaboration that contributes to accelerating KCB’s Digital Transformation by relying on Microsoft Azure’s cloud in three key areas: business integration, Artificial Intelligence and developing staff skills.” Haddad continued: “KCB sets the best example in how adopting technology and advanced tools pushes the change, empowerment, enhancement and transformation wheels. “We know how Digital Transformation contributes in empowering organisations to redesign their tech potential and how it takes them to new levels. Today Microsoft is proud to support KCB in their Digital Transformation journey and we stress our support to the government of Kuwait.” Haddad concluded: “Microsoft values the partnership with the government of Kuwait, represented by the Central Agency for Information Technology, who enabled us to offer other government entities with Digital Transformation tools, especially Kuwait Credit Bank”. Zain is keen on supporting the various developmental projects and initiatives in the country, as such partnerships showcase the collaborative spirit between the public and private sectors. The company is also keen on contributing to the further progress of the national economy, reflecting its leadership position as a leading national company in the Kuwaiti private sector. 78


Mashreq Bank brings AI to the heart of customer experience Mashreq Bank’s innovation brings Artificial Intelligence to the heart of its self-service capabilities with the region’s first digital engagement banking bot.


ashreq, one of the leading financial institutions in the UAE, has partnered with Avaya and Koopid to create a new banking experience that represents a giant leap forward for customer experience, including self-service capabilities, with the region’s first digital engagement banking bot. The new system, which acts as a visual and conversational virtual assistant, enables Mashreq customers to access banking services and complete service requests almost entirely through an AI-powered ‘agent’. The ‘chatbot agent’ will be able to verify customers, complete transactions and sign up for new services on the customer’s behalf – from anywhere and through any device. The solution paves the way for the bank to open new channels while allowing its customers to complete banking transactions. Additionally, the service is immediately responsive, offering instant service and is available 24/7. The solution is the latest being rolled out in a process of accelerated Digital Transformation, which sees Mashreq keeping pace with its ever-expanding list of customer demands while also maintaining a leadership position in the evolving landscape of digital banking regulation. Sandeep Chouhan, Head of Operations and Technology, Mashreq, said: “Innovation is embedded in Mashreq’s DNA and we firmly believe in building on our AI and digital capabilities, so that we can continue to introduce value-added solutions such as these.

“This solution represents a massive step forward in customer experience, by enabling instant access to finances from any device. By putting customer-centricity at the core of our business, the bank’s Mashreq’s AI-based services will make it easy for our customers to safely and securely have their banking needs met.” Sumit Bhatia, Head of Direct Business Channel, at Mashreq Bank, said: “The new chatbot will not only play a role in transforming banking self-service, but also will make banking more intuitive, easy to use and enjoyable when it comes to performing tasks such as inquiring about your balance on an account, or requesting a statement, or applying for a product. It will also assist our call centre agents in enhancing service delivery. We will continue to provide and develop innovative services as well as deliver a modern and interactive experience to our customers.” Fadi Hani, Vice President – Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Avaya, said: “Mashreq has always been a step ahead of every technological development. This latest deployment sees the bank dive headfirst into the emerging AI category and use the latest tools to take the lead on digital customer engagement. We look forward to enabling Mashreq and its customers with even further innovations in the future.” Venky Krishnaswamy, CEO, Koopid, added: “Virtual banking and rich visual automation experiences are the greatest disruptors for organisations and self-service-based industries. With this collaboration, Mashreq is yet again at the forefront of being an early adopter of new technologies to gain access to new markets and take the digital experience of its customers to new heights.” The solution deployed by Mashreq is just one of many innovations that Avaya demonstrated at GITEX. n


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WORLEY AND AVEVA TO DELIVER FIRST CLOUDBASED ERM SOLUTION FOR EPC MARKET Companies can now build on AVEVA’s industry-leading Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) solution to develop a project delivery system that meets the unique materials management challenges facing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) organisations.


VEVA, a global leader in engineering and industrial software, has announced that Worley, which has been operating in the Middle East since the 1950s, has selected AVEVA’s ERM solution as its preferred materials management platform. The partnership combines Worley’s EPC knowledge with AVEVA’s industrial software expertise to deliver the first cloud-based ERM solution optimised for the EPC market. Like many businesses, EPCs are currently challenged with reducing project costs while keeping pace with changing IT environments. However, as EPC projects

operate as mini-enterprises, on-premises configuration and hosting of enterprise projects within private networks is not only costly, but restrictive and unsustainable in an industry undergoing mass consolidation. For global EPCs to remain competitive, the move from an on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based enterprise resource management is necessary. Worley, which has operations all over the globe including nine offices in the Middle East including UAE and KSA, sought to help its customers find a way to streamline their materials management to deliver on these challenges while also creating process



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improvements, increased efficiency, ease-ofuse and the ability to deliver in-house training. After reviewing AVEVA’s ERM solution, which had historically been used in marine settings, Worley and AVEVA, committed to developing the AVEVA solution to become the industry’s first cloud-based ERM platform purpose-built for EPCs. “The EPC market is undergoing a period of change and our customers are looking to us to help them find solutions in this new world. The advances in technology and digital disruption have provided us with an opportunity to rethink our approach to materials management. We needed to deliver an efficient, cloud-based solution customised for the nuances of our market,” said Andrew Wood, CEO Worley. “With AVEVA, we saw a commitment to developing this solution together to create something best-in-class for engineering. We believe the AVEVA Enterprise Resource 80


WE NEEDED TO DELIVER AN EFFICIENT, CLOUD-BASED SOLUTION CUSTOMISED FOR THE NUANCES OF OUR MARKET. Management solution marks a step forward for productivity, efficiency and effectiveness that will drive the EPC industry forward.” The cloud-enabled solution from AVEVA and Worley is the first of its kind and will be fully optimised for the EPC market

By embedding Worley’s subject matter expertise in EPC supply chain management, major updates to the AVEVA ERM solution for EPCs includes: • Project-specific functionality: Enabling EPCs to view and work on projects in AVEVA ERM as standalone entities • Updated catalogues and specifications module: Migration of Worley’s legacy corporate catalogue and specifications to create a robust, easy-to-use model for EPCs • Training solution: Allowing EPCs to streamline internal training on the new solution In April 2019, Worley and AVEVA kicked off the final stage of a four-phase programme to develop the AVEVA ERM solution for EPCs. Phase one included design, while phase two incorporated the solution build, moving onto phase three integrations and catalogue readiness, and then into phase four – project go-live and decommissioning of Worley’s legacy solution.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// t cht lk ABOUT WORLEY AND AVEVA Worley delivers projects, provides expertise in engineering, procurement and construction and offers a wide range of consulting and advisory services. It covers the full lifecycle, from creating new assets to sustaining and enhancing operating assets, in the hydrocarbons, mining, mineral, metals, chemicals, power and infrastructure sectors. Our resources and energy are focused on responding to and meeting the needs of our customers over the long-term.

AVEVA is a global leader in engineering and industrial software driving Digital Transformation across the entire asset and operations life cycle of capitalintensive industries. The company’s engineering, planning and operations, asset performance, and monitoring and control solutions deliver proven results to over 16,000 customers across the globe. Its customers are supported by the largest industrial software ecosystem, including 4,200 partners and 5,700 certified developers.

As part of the programme, AVEVA ERM reduced training time across engineering, procurement and project controls by 23%. Participants noted the solution was easy to use, provided quality training materials and the right functionality for EPC projects. “The construct of the co-managed project team exceeded all expectations. We set up

stringent delivery benchmarks and executed the project in phases to ensure alignment between the teams remained in place. A transparent and open working relationship with a keen focus on the success of the initiative played a crucial role in adjusting to all project challenges, and this solution is something we are proud to have delivered together,” said Craig Hayman, CEO AVEVA.

Worley CEO, Andrew Wood (left), and AVEVA CEO, Craig Hayman(right) announce a partnership to build upon AVEVA ERM software and deliver the first cloud-based solution optimised for the EPC market

THE EPC MARKET IS UNDERGOING A PERIOD OF CHANGE AND OUR CUSTOMERS ARE LOOKING TO US TO HELP THEM FIND SOLUTIONS IN THIS NEW WORLD. The first official project roll-out for Worley on the AVEVA ERM solution for EPCs begun in August. Worley will use AVEVA ERM and AVEVA Everything3D innovative plant project execution software in tandem, and the two companies have agreed to work to continually mature ERM for the EPC market. n INTELLIGENTCIO




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GET TO KNOW... On the lighter side of things, we ask the industry experts what makes them tick. . . .

Sahem Azzam, Vice President Middle East and Africa, Orange Business Services


What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

learning and working at the same time and this made my job more fun.

From a career perspective, being promoted to lead a services business unit in the Middle East and being specifically asked to turn it around and grow the business was certainly one of the major professional challenges I have faced so far. It took me 18 months to achieve it and I learned a lot – that success is fuelled by many factors: having the right strategy, focus, the right combination of talent, calibre of people and the right leadership in place. We had successful sustained growth for four years before I moved to another role.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

What first made you think of a career in technology? Initially, I wanted to go to medical school because of my father’s influence and I followed this path until high school but then opted for communication engineering. I realised the impact of continually evolving technology and it’s future potential, so I started to do Microsoft and Cisco training courses to develop my knowledge and understanding and to be ready for the market place with the right skills. I did the training while I was studying at university and it gave my career a boost. I focused on emerging technologies such as VOIP and contact centres, and I enjoyed combining

However, when there is little or no time for consultation or a clear consensus, I opt for a more directive style because ultimately, someone has to ‘call the shots’ when we have to act faster. So far, this combination – with an emphasis on the consultative approach – has proven to be very successful

I have always combined consultative and directive management styles; I use consultative more often to listen to the team and gather different opinions to select the best option when considering an important decision, for example. In addition to creating consensus among the team, it’s an effective way to engage the team and to get them actively involved in making decisions.




What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

and helps develop mutual respect between team members and leaders.

What do you think is the current hot technology talking point? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most exciting current hot topics with so many pilot phases underway; we have already started to see different applications such as chatbots, city concierges, government services. The use cases for these technologies are very broad, and it's evolving so quickly. I believe the demand for AI skills and use cases will increase as applications widen and the impact of AI deepens. Adoption levels will vary from country to country and from sector to sector but all will have some level of AI implemented over the next two to three years.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office? I am a very social person and enjoy spending time with family and friends. I usually spend Fridays relaxing with my family and then have more active Saturdays – starting the day with biking or other sports then going out for a family lunch and then the evening with friends. Every year, I do a hiking trip around the world with a group of friends as a kind of disconnect from daily life and to re-connect with nature and simplicity.

Smart Cities and smart districts are developing fast and we see this as a big trend in the region with many organisations looking to offer smart services. The expectations of citizens and governments are rising and demand is growing. Today, citizens expect a simpler, easier and more convenient way to request services and to get them via their mobile apps, regardless of the location of the service provider. At the same time, governments are looking to provide better services and ensure happy citizens, while managing costs, and so to automate services wherever possible,

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in the Middle East? Adaptation of new technologies and trust are usually the two main challenges to implementation in the region. Most organisations will not roll out new technologies that are not tested or in largescale production; this is especially the case with software products where customers expect a lot of fixes to follow an initial release based on customer feedback and experience. On the other hand, there is relatively little awareness about the broader impact of adopting new technology and the need for change management to get the real benefits of the technology. Learning about

ADAPTATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND TRUST ARE USUALLY THE TWO MAIN CHALLENGES TO IMPLEMENTATION IN THE REGION. new technology and the way it changes how people do things is always part of the challenge in the region.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months? I have just started my new role with Orange Business Services and so ask me again in 12 months and I would be happy to answer.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry? I would say there are three areas to look at – firstly, acquiring the right level of knowledge about the industry; building a good executive network to help with quick wins and provide support when needed; and finally the right leadership attitude towards people, customers, business and culture. n

If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be? Looking back, I can say that there is nothing I would change in my career journey so far – I have learned something valuable about the workplace, people or myself from every role and experience. 84


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Eliminating the blind spot CISOs and their teams face increasing pressure to manage the sophisticated new cyberthreats that are constantly emerging, with visibility a crucial part of staying one step ahead. Hesham Elsherif, Principal System Engineer at A10 Networks, tells us how the company’s A10 Networks’ Thunder SSLi product can be seamlessly deployed to bolster an organisation’s cybersecurity defence and, critically, eliminate the blind spot.


How would you describe the overall threat landscape? Day after day, cyberattacks and threats are increasing in complexity and in volume, which represent a daily challenge for executives to block and disarm these threats. IOT, 5G, IPv6, office365 and NFV are all newcomers to the Middle East and these technologies will change the rules. Infrastructure needs to be adapted to accommodate the rapid growth and new user behaviour to ensure safe communication and to eliminate security threats. In 2019, according to Ponemon Institute and IBM Securities, US$3.92 million is the average cost of a data breach and US$150 is the average cost per record lost. There has been a 650% increase in trojan-based malware threats and a 195% increase in ransomware in Q1 2019 according to the HIPAA Journal. A total 90% of breaches were caused by phishing as per a Retruster report. And almost 50% of cyberattacks use encryption to evade security, as 94% of all Internet traffic is encrypted according to the Google Transparency Report/Dark Reading.

What are some of the most complex network security challenges that enterprises and large organisations are encountering? I would say building a skilled security team that is capable of identifying priorities and executing on a plan is key. This begins with assessing the assets (data and infrastructure) up to correlating










Cyberattackers are aware of this fact, so it is easy to hide malicious activities into an application layer to pass it through security defences towards the targeted services or machines. The end service will then decrypt the traffic without prior inspection. This is a risky scenario, isn’t it?

Hesham Elsherif, Principal System Engineer at A10 Networks

between different security reports and analyses. This helps to establish a vision, but before that the CISO has to ensure that vision is comprehensive and that an assessment is built based on accurate reports and measured analysis. Without proper traffic visibility this will be an unachievable mission.

How crucial is network visibility in preventing attacks and how difficult is this to achieve? None of the above will be achieved without traffic visibility (ingress and egress). Visibility in each and every level is mandatory in order to activate the security devices. Visibility is not a nice-to-have, it is critical. And I always advise our partners to consider it as a top priority. Otherwise reporting and analysis will be meaningless. Also, it is very important to realise that visibility does not mean violating confidentiality – ensuring compliance with privacy standards should not conflict with visibility and this is achievable.

How does A10 Networks’ Thunder SSLi product help to eliminate the blind spot? Blind spot is a terminology that describes the situation when security devices cannot inspect the actual data or application layer due to encryption. Once the client/ server exchanges the TLS certificate and key during the TCP hand-shake, the traffic will be encrypted, thus there will be no way to intercept the traffic and inspect it. 88


The A10 Networks Thunder SSLi solution helps to eliminate blind spots by intercepting the client/server TLS negotiation as full proxy and maintaining two separate sessions, one session with the client’s side and the other one with the server’s side. In between, A10 Thunder SSLi will feed the security devices intelligently with clear text traffic. After the security device finishes the inspection and forwards the traffic, A10 Thunder SSLi will encrypt the traffic again before forwarding it to the original destination.

How does the product help to make the lives of CISOs easier? Deploying our SSLi solution and forwarding the traffic to many inline and non-inline security devices eliminates the decryption overhead of each security device. This improves performance while maintaining proper security diligence, enhancing the user’s experience and saving costs by eliminating the need to purchase bigger security devices just to support resource-intensive decryption and encryption functions. This will help CISOs achieve the next level of securing the infrastructure by fine-tuning the security polices and configurations on security devices based on the visibility obtained and the control gained by eliminating the blind spot. The A10 Thunder SSLi solution not only provides visibility of the traffic to security devices, but it also sends logs and can mirror the traffic for the SIEM and logging solution and forensic analysis tools allow CISOs to keep historical logs and events in a readable format. Moreover, A10 Networks can support the ICAP protocol to feed and activate the DPI and AV solutions.

What are the other features CISOs can leverage from Thunder SSLi? Many built-in features come with Thunder SSLi. Application Access Management (AAM), URL filtering and application visibility

come on top of the list. AAM enables us to integrate with AAA servers to apply policies and track activities per user. While URL filtering helps to ensure compliance with privacy standards so we can bypass SSLi for specific categories like finance or health, for instance. Last but not least is application visibility, where we can identify and classify the applications even without decryption based on the protocol ID and apply policies, such as blocking WhatsApp, or we may allow Facebook but block chatting on Facebook, for example. We can go further than that and deploy a full secure web gateway with transparent or explicit proxy setup and use the aforementioned features.

What would you say to CISOs who might consider Thunder SSLi a complex solution to deploy? A10 Networks has introduced a built-in application template to deploy more than 15 applications in all new ACOS releases. SSLi provides a wizard to enable any feature the security team wants to employ. Later on, editing or modifying the configurations using the same built-in template is possible. Furthermore, Thunder SSLi provides a detailed dashboard where the security team can monitor the performance and report any issue instantly. A10 Networks supports all deployment modes such as Layer 2 or Layer 3 or even fully transparent and security devices can also be transparent or Layer 2 or Layer 3. It is worth mentioning that A10 Networks also supports multi-tenancy to divide the same Thunder instance into isolated partitions to cover multiple segments on the network. n









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Intelligent CIO Middle East - Issue 48  

Welcome to the latest edition of a new international gateway enabling it to As usual we have the latest news from Intelligent CIO magazine....

Intelligent CIO Middle East - Issue 48  

Welcome to the latest edition of a new international gateway enabling it to As usual we have the latest news from Intelligent CIO magazine....