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Harris Atlas discusses cyber security at roundtable

The world is at the precipice of a migration of technologies according to Dale Meyerrose, VP and GM of Cyberspace solutions at US based Harris Corporation and former CIO of the United States’ Intelligence Community.

Meyerrose was in Dubai to host a roundtable to provide insights into some of the major challenges of trust in cyber security, and solutions for the Middle East. Meyerrose attributes the dramatic change in the IT landscape to a number of elements beginning with increased mobility of people and networks, “A majority of the business employees feel they have better IT equipment and solutions at home than they do at work and so a lot of the organisation’s data is often shifted between organisational and personal devices,” he explained.

The next element in his opinion that leads to IT dynamism is the multi-device accessibility of the Internet, from PCs to tablets, the Internet may be accessed from any point and so an organisation can rarely define a single network to support this multi point accessibility and usage.

The increased focus on driving down operational costs and overheads by adopting more purpose and function driven technology solutions and products has also contributed to the development of the latest technology trends.

Finally, Meyerrose in what he calls the “inevitable” march of organisations to the cloud in an integrated fashion will have significant impact on IT investments, applications and security.

He also believes that the consumerisation of the Internet has leveled the playing field for most organisations; they now have access to a wider audience than with more traditional channels of communication and advertising. He added, “Five years ago, if I said I would Tweet you, you would be insulted, today its one of the most popular networking channels out there.”

“I believe we are now tearing up the network of the 90’s , there is now a change in the acceptance of the Internet as organisation’s begin to understand that they no longer control content creation, the Web has created room for a two way dialogue between organisations, governments, customers, competitors and any other intermediaries. The challenge for an organisation is now associated with how best to build and maintain a personal relationship in a virtual world.”

At the roundtable, Meyerrose addressed another challenge that organisations are facing in the current business environment. He stressed the need for a change in the approach that organisations take towards online threats. “We have to be more concerned about how information can be exploited, stolen or put at risk through a supply chain compromise. We need to tilt the capabilities scale against these increasingly sophisticated attacks because the potential for damage is extremely real,” he said.

“I do not believe that some of the most recent security breaches are what we call ‘hacks’, infact I think these attacks are better described as ‘infiltration’. I say this because, these attacks don’t involve any forced entry but more subtle yet sophisticated of breaching security barriers to get to mission critical data. The fact that these attackers don’t want the attack to be detected hindered or stopped hints that the attackers are looking to exploit and not disrupt an organisation’s activities,” he explained.

Meyerrose also added, “Besides, these cyber criminals are too sophisticated to be termed something as “amateurish” as hackers.” Addressing the issue of security within the cloud computing realm, Meyerrose said that Harris Corporation’s mantra is to change the calculation of the infinite problem to a finite problem to create what the company calls a “trusted” cloud and spoke at length about the recent launch of the company’s Cyber Integration Centre (CIC) in the US, which according to the company, is the first of its kind next generation data centre that provides enterprise clients with critical infrastructure through a trusted cloud service, developed in collaboration with many of today IT industry leaders.

Discussing their move to the UAE, Meyerrose said that he has been intimately involved with the UAE government in his previous role as a strategic member of the US Air Force and chose to make Harris Corporation’s presence felt because he believes in the country’s thought leadership process.

“From all my years of experience dealing with both Military and Government entities across the globe and the Middle East in particular, I believe that the UAE has always been at the forefront of technology and are actively involved in developing and using IT to solve industry wide problems. In this manner, having a regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi helps us service the demands of organisations and governments across the regions while contributing to the growth of the IT industry in the Middle East region,” Meyerrose concluded.

Harris Atlas Systems LLC, offers customers in the Middle East solutions for situational awareness, command and control, emergency management and other mission critical situations for government, civil agencies, ministries of defence, energy, healthcare, media and other commercial customers.

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