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Under the radar

TomLeighton_26453_ppContent Delivery Network specialist Akamai has arrived in the UAE. CNME visited the firm’s Dubai Marina office upon its opening, and sat down with company CEO Dr. Tom Leighton, who says the firm’s services are used on a vast scale but are relatively unknown.

Congratulations on launching your regional office. What can you bring to the Middle East?

Media delivery is a business with huge potential here. Application acceleration has lot of potential – the ability to click and have instant access. Security is our fastest growing business.

Enterprise networking is something we are very excited about. Looking forward, there are a lot of global enterprises here so that is relevant for them. We’ve had servers deployed here for years but we’re now formally opening our first sales and services office here. We expect very strong growth and revenues, and over time we will open other offices.
Right now we’re starting here, but will look at other hubs in the region. We have no current plans for a second office but it will happen. Riyadh and Doha are obvious options we’d consider.

How do you plan to grow and establish your presence here?

We want to offer excellent service to leading brands in the media, travel, financial, hospitality and commerce sectors, to offer the world’s best service for delivery, acceleration and security.

Enterprise networking and security are saturated markets, what can you bring to table?

A cloud service that scales, and is far less expensive. Today’s approach to security is to buy devices and put them in your data centre. You can no longer defend yourself with that strategy. The scale of attacks is so large that you swamp out your data centre. In future, the only way to successfully defend yourself is in the cloud.
Attacks are getting larger now, with more and more devices that have a powerful CPU and are well connected; they are tremendous resources to bring large scale attacks against any data centre. As security moves into the cloud that’s where we’ll evolve and excel.

How can you convince regional customers that security in the cloud is indeed the best approach?

I think that’s needed on a global basis. We’re starting to see with our web security business – which protects web apps – was zero a few years ago zero, and is now expected to be a $250 million business, and we expect to see the same for enterprise security.

If you look at enterprise networking, today you still have a private network, where everything goes through the corporate data centre, but now people want to put video and other things on there, the world is turning upside down. People wouldn’t initially have thought that you would put enterprise applications on the cloud but now you are. That means the enterprise network changes. You need a different approach to it and require security in the cloud to do it.

Tell me about your Akamai Intelligent Platform.

We have servers located in thousands of places around the world. We’re present in 1,300 networks, and deliver content to end users on behalf of our customers. If you go to any top commerce or media sites, you’re going through an Akamai server near you. If you login to see your bank balance, you go to the origin data centre, but we’ve built our own virtual Internet on top, to make things fast, reliable and secure. Our software in branch offices and device JavaScript-based for a better UX.

Leading enterprises know about us, but the public haven’t heard of us. We don’t have a consumer brand and we’re behind the scenes. Half the time users are coming to our servers and they don’t even know it.

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