74th independence day of India


Cyber Security is the Backbone of Digitization


Secure Digital PR

To keep pace with the dynamically evolving market conditions, it is essential that organizations, world over, recognize the need for digital divergence and build capabilities to cope with exponential changes. Doha Bank hosted an interactive webinar titled ‘Digital divergence and Exponential Change’ - Build resilience, promote restructuring on the 15th September 2020. The event Secure Digital touched upon the paramount importance of digital identity, network and cyber security, emerging digital economy and the pertinent need to manage the inherent risks associated with “new normal”.

Proficient business & technology leaders from top notch international organizations joined us as panelists for the webinar. The panelists shared interesting views on digital security and on how building relevant capabilities can help us address technology risks and vulnerabilities associated with it whilst accelerating business growth.

The CEO of Doha Bank, Dr R Seetharaman, in his introductory note, thanked the elite panelists for their thought leadership on such an important topic. CEO, Doha Bank reiterated the importance of digital security in the current times where social governance was at stake and how prolific, the Qatari government was at responding to dynamic environment keeping trust, transparency and truth at the helm. He gave insight on state of cybersecurity on account of artificial intelligence, supply chain collaborations, threat to public cloud from malware and password less technology. In the Gulf region, malware attacks were one of the biggest cyber threats in 2019. There is increased exposed to cyber risks from digital transformation. More and more disruptive advanced technologies are changing the paradigm of Banking. At the same time, the cyber threats are increasing rapidly. Increased web based Banking channels and interfaces to provide convenient services to customers, the more Cyber threats and challenges. Cyber-attacks are capable of deteriorating institutions performance and economies’ growth. Financial, legal and brand impacted due to cyber-attacks. Measures are being taken to address cyber security in the light of digital transformation. Hence cyber security is the backbone of digitization.

 Dr R Seetharaman set forth the right tone for the session with an apt adage that “everything shared is shared with everyone..” and let the panelists elucidate further on today’s topic : Secure Digital.

The first speaker for the day, Mr Omar Sherin, Partner , Technology Practice, EY, took the audience through his views on digital commerce & secure digital economy, how people, processes and technologies are interconnected and involved in building a meaningful and secure economy. His views on building a secure Cyber eco-system with reference to the upcoming FIFA 2022 in Qatar was very well received. Mr. Sherin, during his talk, explained his views on the importance of prevention, detection and response to a security event and how there is a pressing demand to revise the existing IT and information security regulations to be relevant. While is it important to be at the driver’s seat of the speed of innovation engine, it is equally important to focus on the security aspects, both from a provider and consumer perspective. And that it was completely normal to be wary of how unscrupulous elements, have taken advantage of the current situation by upping phishing attacks using localized contents. The possibilities of a Denial of Service (DoS) / Ransomware acts could never be ruled out and hyper-preparedness for such an event should be looked at in its entirety.Our next speaker, the CEO of Vodafone Qatar, Shk. Hamad Abdulla Al-Thani, gave an impactful talk on how Vodafone Qatar is enabling digital transformation using future ready networks. His thought-leadership address on enabling innovative, future-proof connectivity & security to meet business demands was commendable. Shk Hamad, took the audience through his vision of how advanced network technologies can improve human living standards and its substantial dependence for a safe tomorrow. Vodafone Qatar is actively pursuing the implementation of a high-speed 5G technology in the country which amongst others will enable “machine to machine” communication that will transform the way machines communicate with humans. The CEO of Vodafone Qatar also highlighted how enterprises could maximize the benefits of cloud and edge computing using such a powerful network and its impact on end users. Shk Hamad’s reference to possible use-cases of this technology for the upcoming sporting extravaganza (FIFA 2022) was indeed praiseworthy.

This was followed by views from the next speaker Mr. Lell Fell, Senior Executive Partner, Gartner, who spoke at length on the hyper-awareness of opportunities and threats in the digital world. He spoke about the plethora of prospects available for users and vulnerabilities associated with digitization especially in a world post the covid-19 pandemic. Mr. Lell, rightly pointed out that “Resilience and Recovery are King..” and the covid-19 is acting a catalyst for change in many of the organization worldwide. The next speaker, Global Account Manager, Fin. Services Industry, Microsoft, Mr. Alaa Ajweh had the audience engrossed with his talk on the coexistence of Bots & Humans, on how “bots” (robotic agents) will complement humans and not compete with humans in the days to come. His perspective on how we should transcend collective human wisdom to build an efficient and useful AI-artificial intelligence (in building bots) was noteworthy. Equally important, for the producers and regulators to take note is the privacy and consent of the users before an AI service is put to use. The viewpoints were univocally agreed by the panelists.

This was followed by a succinct presentation by Mr. Abhik Goswami, Chief Risk Officer, Doha Bank on how and why an organization should focus on ethical data management and data protection, his explanation on how important it is for an enterprise to concentrate its efforts to develop parameters of data ethics, importance of data and its security and the Rights of Data Subjects (Customers) was laudable. Our final speaker Mr Ravi Baldev, Manager Sys Eng.- DPS & Cyber Recovery Systems, DELL, spoke at length on Cyber data defense strategies for banks. His views and explanation of newer strategies adapted by organizations for data security. Mr. Baldev threw light on threat vectors & attack vectors on backup dataactive in region, related to data security and how data infiltrators / attackers also on back-up data to up their ante on the ransomware ballgame. He emphasized the importance of organizations working in tandem with regulators to seek their guidance and build newer and robust data protection and cyber-attack defense policies .Reference to creation of a “Data Svalbard” - where critical data (of an enterprise) resides off the network and isolated from risk and the criticality of identifying crucial (for the organization) data and not viewing this as a mere DR exercise was well received. The underlining statement from Mr. Baldev was, that during a cyber-attack or data breach, any company should be capable of a building a recovery and response within a finite duration to help it overcome a situation.

The closing comments were delivered by Dr. R Seetharaman, who expressed his gratitude to the panelists and mentioned that the business climate is on its road to recovery and it is only wise for organizations to be cautiously optimistic with the changing dynamics. The webinar was concluded with a vote of thanks from Mr. Khaled Ellithy, thanking participants for their time and support.

The webinar was launched online for public participation and hundreds of intrigued participants, from across the globe, attended the webinar, from the comforts of their home/office. To make the session, highly interactive, towards the end of 2 hours discussion, we threw open the forum to all participants to seek clarifications through a live Q&A session for attendees, since this was the best way to seek clarifications from the experts..