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Securing the Web

Ray Kafity, Regional Sales Manager of IronPort SystemsWhat’s the significance of the web security appliances for the government sectors, investment companies and banks in the UAE? And what are their advantages on the economic boom experienced in the UAE?

The lack of a sophisticated network, applications, content and advanced security measures makes an organisation vulnerable to attacks, viruses and the harmful global spam. These are threats that lead to impeding the work and reliability of an information technology infrastructure within a business enterprise, which leads to the waste of millions of dollars due to the suspension of work and the loss of valuable work completed by the staff. The UAE is currently experiencing excellent economic growth, which also translates to the necessity of adopting security solutions that provide protection from these attacks that continue to hinder the progress of work.

Are there any cases of penetration and piracy that have been reported in the UAE?

We cannot discount the fact that there are security breaches throughout companies in the region and the UAE. The region is no stranger to these acts of piracy and penetration as a recent study shows that companies in the Middle East receive a barrage of spam on a daily basis, which constitute up to 90 per cent of the nearly 1.5 million emails received everyday. Globally, spam accounts for 78 percent of the e-mails sent each day. However, we encourage our clients to always be on guard and to constantly monitor their systems. We usually get reports from our clients about persistent attempts to penetrate their firewall programs online and try to cause serious damage.

Dubai is seeking to build an economy based on digital knowledge and to be an international center for communications and information technology… What is your vision about the future of the Emirate in this domain?

All the development happening here makes for an exciting time to be in the UAE and we look forward to providing the best security solutions that complements Dubai's economic growth; providing services that are based on high proficiency on hardware, assistance in the security domain, information technology, network security, applications and content. IronPort has a broad portfolio of outstanding security solutions in terms of the infrastructure requirements presented by the Emirate.

Has IronPort been affected by the international financial crisis? And if there are negative effects, does the company have plans to face them?

Not at all, our revenue for 2008 has doubled when compared to that of last year (2007). Our significant increase in revenues are mainly because we have built a reputation of being able to provide our clients with effective solutions that help them increase the return on their investments even during these difficult times.

According to you, how has the web security appliances market grown in the Middle East region over the years?

Regional demand for web security appliances has climbed significantly in the past two years, parallel to the disturbing growth of internet attacks in the Middle East during the same period. The Middle East’s internet use grew a phenomenal 920.2 per cent from 2000 to 2007, thus attracting several hackers, fraudsters, and criminal elements to its internet corridor. As the world’s fastest growing ICT region, the Middle East has become highly susceptible to threats such as botnets, which are responsible for more than 80 per cent of global spam and incur click fraud losses of more than AED 3.67 billion annually.

Web-based threats throughout the region have grown more than 600 per cent during the past two years, and industry is noticing that breaches are now highly structured and well orchestrated. Individual and organizational Arab users are fortunately responding positively to the security needs of their respective systems through acquisition of reliable web security applications and appliances.

How is the ME market different from other regions? Are the needs different in terms of your product offerings?

The Middle East is the world’s fastest-growing ICT region; I have referred several times to the phenomenal 920.2 per cent growth in regional internet use from 2000 to 2007 as a clear indicator of both the vast potential and risks of this growth area. Many hackers and profiteers are converging in the Middle East to take advantage of its rapidly-expanding user base, which has made the region highly-susceptible to web-based intrusions.

Amplifying this vulnerability is the movement of various IT-intensive businesses into the region due to its favourable business environments. This convergence has led to elevated demand for reliable and efficient network security tools. Given the wide variety of businesses migrating to the region and the expanding operations of domestic firms, our thrust in the Middle East is to offer products that are highly customisable, affordable, and easy to deploy from the smallest to the largest organisations. We also offer individual licenses supported by superior after-sales service in response to the region’s burgeoning internet user base.

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