Ephrem Tesfai, the Sales Engineering Manager for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa at Genetec, speaks about the regional threat landscape, the evolution of security threats, and the role of digital transformation in combating cyber threats

Tell us about the regional threat landscape?
Throughout the pandemic, we have witnessed an increase in cyber-attacks, a rise in identity spoofing, and cybercrime directed at several online traders. Currently, cybercriminals use major events to leverage cyber-attacks to take place, and that is when cyber-attacks mostly take place.

Research shows that 83% of UAE businesses surveyed had seen a change in cybercrime as a result of the pandemic, and became more vulnerable to threats. They experienced or observed a significant change in the following: 50% phishing scams, 46% email spamming, and 38% online scams.

How have security threats evolved during the current work from the home culture in the region?
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global community has been facing challenges that we could never anticipate. Lockdowns made most businesses operate remotely through the business’ network. With millions of employees working from home, organizations are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Also, employees are not very aware of the threats and numerous temptations that lead to increased cybercrime vulnerabilities which results in an increase in their vulnerability to cybercrime. In the past couple of months, we witnessed a heavy reliance on remote access systems which is making businesses more susceptible to malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks. This has created a challenge for businesses due to the data theft, ransomware attacks, and data breaches they have faced during COVID-19.

However, we do see a silver lining to all of this, since the evolving number of cyber threats can also mean that organizations are educating employees on IT policies. This can start with teaching them simple tips on how to create strong passwords and to identify phishing scams in emails.

How can digital transformation help companies cope up with the current IT requirements?
IT has become the primary driver of business innovation and digital transformation. Embracing this shift requires everyone in an organization to rethink the role and impact of IT in their day-to-day experience. Digital transformation with the help of IT is allowing businesses to gain insight into buying trends, customers’ habits, and growth opportunities.

Fortunately, things are changing as we are increasingly seeing organizations using data already collected by their physical security systems to gain valuable insights into their business. Most organizations are already collecting and storing vast quantities of surveillance data in their systems. Additionally, digital transformation in IT can also enhance the cybersecurity software used in businesses, which allows for better protection against frauds and hackers.

What is the role of digital transformation in protecting customers from electronic commercial fraud?
Digital transformation is rapidly becoming a key priority in most industries, as organizations adapt to transforming markets by leveraging technologies to build IT-centric business models. In general, organizations are using digital transformation to reach their goals of achieving greater responsiveness, improving operational efficiency, and developing new revenue streams.

When it comes to protecting customers from electronic commercial fraud, however, the digital transformation is essential for cybersecurity as the fraudsters are becoming smarter. AI software that helps with cybersecurity with the help of digital transformation will be needed in the upcoming future.

How have cybersecurity policies and strategies changed, compared to pre-COVID era?
At Genetec, even during the pre-COVID era, we always ensured that our systems are safe from any potential threats. Our solutions have exceptional security against cyberattacks which respond to incidents and threats. We understand bringing in more devices can also make an organization more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which is why everything we build is infused with end-to-end security and privacy by design.

We protect all components from our software to certified partner hardware with dual authentication and hardening practices. All of Genetec’s solutions are unified with the system which ensures safety as well.

What are your key strategies as a company for 2021?
As a provider of security, operations, and business intelligence solutions, we will continue to protect organizations. We will continue to provide tools organization needs to build a secure and compliant security system to protect against both physical and cyber threats.

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