Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Advancing Cybersecurity: A Deep Dive into Trend Micro’s Strategy and Impact

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Advancing Cybersecurity: A Deep Dive into Trend Micro’s Strategy and Impact

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Rasheed Alodah
Trend Micro – Managing Director, Middle East


You’ve had an impressive career journey from TASNEE to SAP, and now leading Trend Micro Saudi Arabia. What key experiences have shaped your leadership style and approach to business development in the cybersecurity industry?

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Rasheed Alodah: Managing the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, has been quite interesting. Moving from being a customer to a vendor has taught me a lot. At first, my main concerns were about the costs, making sure services were available, protecting our company’s reputation, and keeping up with our fast growth. We really wanted to change how we did things digitally.

But when I switched to the vendor side, my focus changed. Now, I needed to understand what customers wanted, solve their problems, and adapt our products to fit their needs. One big change was how we paid for technology. Instead of buying it all at once, we started paying for it over time, based on how much we used. I also noticed that a lot of sectors and countries faced similar challenges. That’s why it’s important to work closely with partners and build a strong team to deal with these issues together. Although this topic is vast, I hope I’ve given you some useful insights into what it’s like managing the Middle East market.

Could you highlight key insights or trends specific to Oman from the latest annual cybersecurity report? How do these findings shape Trend Micro’s strategy for addressing cybersecurity challenges in the Omani market?

Rasheed Alodah: Our 2023 Annual Cyber Security report highlighted that Trend Micro solutions blocked and detected over 15 million threats in Oman, preventing over 3 million email threats and more than 2 million malicious URL victim attacks. Additionally, Trend Micro identified and stopped more than 8 million malware attacks, showcasing its effectiveness in safeguarding digital assets in Sultanate of Oman. 

Trend Micro’s strategy for enhancing cybersecurity resilience in Oman involves collaborative initiatives and cybersecurity education programs. This includes partnering with local organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions to raise awareness about cybersecurity best practices and promote a culture of cyber resilience. By fostering collaboration and providing education, we aim to empower organizations and individuals in Oman to better understand and mitigate cyber threats, ultimately creating a more secure digital environment for the Omani market.

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated rapid digital transformation for many companies. How did Trend Micro respond to the sudden increase in digital threats, and what measures were implemented to ensure clients received robust cybersecurity solutions?

Rasheed Alodah: In today’s world, staying safe online is more important than ever, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic changing how we work and live. At Trend Micro, we have a special program called Internet Safety for Kids and Families. Its goal is to teach people about cybersecurity and how to stay safe online.

During the pandemic, many of us started working from home. This means we’re often sharing our internet network with our kids, housemates, and other family members who use their own devices for things like gaming and browsing the web. But if these devices aren’t protected, they can become a security risk. If a hacker gets into one of these devices, they could also get into your work computer or even your company’s network.

That’s where our program comes in. We teach everyone in the family about safe internet habits. We stress the importance of making sure all devices are protected so hackers can’t get in. This is just one way we’re working to make sure everyone stays safe online, no matter their age.

Could you share some insights regarding Trend Vision One? How does this initiative align with Trend Micro’s overall strategy to combat modern cybersecurity threats?

Rasheed Alodah: Introducing Trend Vision One™ – Companion, a cutting-edge generative AI security assistant revolutionizing cybersecurity operations. Built on decades of AI and ML expertise from our Trend Vision One™ cybersecurity platform, Companion empowers Security Operations Center (SOC) teams to work smarter and faster.

Companion offers a wide range of capabilities, including explaining and contextualizing alerts, prioritizing tasks, decoding complex scripts, and crafting advanced search queries. What sets it apart is its user-friendly interface, making it accessible to users of all experience levels. This ensures that even junior analysts can quickly grasp critical security incidents, reducing response times significantly.

One of Companion’s key strengths is its ability to shed light on alerts, vastly improving threat detection and response. It streamlines understanding, facilitates efficient triage, and provides AI-driven recommendations for handling security events. For instance, it simplifies complex attacks into plain-language summaries, enabling analysts to respond promptly.

Furthermore, Companion automates repetitive tasks, minimizing false alarms, and offers precise insights into threat activity. It helps organizations swiftly identify threats during investigations and empowers analysts to respond effectively to potential breaches.

In terms of deciphering complex attack scripts, Companion autonomously investigates and interprets these scripts, offering clear explanations of each command line. This capability enhances incident response, ensuring swift actions in critical scenarios.

In the current landscape, what are some of the most significant cybersecurity threats that organizations face? How is Trend Micro addressing these challenges to protect its clients?

Rasheed Alodah: In today’s fast-evolving threat landscape, customers demand robust cybersecurity solutions that are easy to use. At Trend Micro, we meet these needs by providing advanced products and expert services, offering a seamless and effective security approach. Our solutions are constantly updated to tackle emerging threats, providing comprehensive protection for our clients.

AI is increasingly influencing various sectors, including cybersecurity. How is Trend Micro leveraging AI to enhance its cybersecurity solutions, and what future developments do you foresee in this area?

Rasheed Alodah: In discussions about technology in cybersecurity, it’s essential to recognize the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats and our response to them. Traditionally, cybersecurity concentrated on safeguarding endpoints, servers, and networks. However, the complexity and frequency of attacks have surged, with attackers often adopting new technologies faster than the defenders.

A significant challenge in today’s cybersecurity scenario is integrating artificial intelligence into our defense strategies. Attackers exploit advanced technologies, underscoring the need for cybersecurity solutions to remain one step ahead. By incorporating AI into our products, we can automate many processes, greatly enhancing efficiency and effectiveness for our clients.

For instance, AI can streamline routine tasks, freeing up cybersecurity professionals to focus on critical issues requiring human judgment and expertise. This not only boosts productivity but also strengthens organizational security. Technologies like ChatGPT illustrate how AI can simplify and improve various aspects of daily operations, directly benefiting cybersecurity practices.

By automating repetitive tasks and prioritizing essential matters, cybersecurity teams can transition from a reactive to a proactive stance. Instead of merely reacting to threats, they can anticipate potential risks and neutralize them before any harm occurs. This proactive approach is crucial for outsmarting cybercriminals who continuously refine their tactics.

What sets Trend Micro apart from other cybersecurity enterprises? Can you highlight specific aspects of your solutions or approach that give you a competitive edge in the market?

Rasheed Alodah: Trend Micro is dedicated to advancing cybersecurity with innovative solutions like Trend Vision One Companion, a generative AI assistant for security operations teams, enhancing proactive threat detection.

With decades of experience, Trend Micro has adapted and refined its cybersecurity solutions to meet the evolving threat landscape. We offer multi-layered security solutions, including endpoint protection, cloud security, and network defense, enabling organizations to streamline their cybersecurity efforts.

Our innovation-driven approach leverages advanced technologies like machine learning, behavioral analysis, and AI to stay ahead of emerging threats. Serving customers  in the region, we provide tailored solutions that meet the unique security needs of diverse industries.

Committed to cybersecurity education and awareness, we offer resources, training, and guidance to promote best practices and a safer digital environment. Our leadership in the industry is recognized by:

In 2023, Trend Micro achieved significant milestones, reinforcing its leadership in cybersecurity. For the 18th consecutive time, we were named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms, showcasing our consistent excellence. 

Additionally, we secured the top position in IDC’s Worldwide Cloud Workload Security Market Shares report, May 2023, affirming our dominance in cloud security. Furthermore, we were recognized as a Leader in the Forrester Wave for Network Analysis & Visibility, Q2 2023, highlighting our advanced capabilities in network security.

How important are collaborations with government entities in the realm of cybersecurity? 

Rasheed Alodah: Collaboration between companies and governments is crucial for effective cybersecurity. These partnerships acknowledge the shared responsibility for protecting digital ecosystems and critical infrastructure. Governments provide valuable insights and data on cyber threats, enhancing the private sector’s ability to respond to risks promptly through real-time information sharing.

Governments also set cybersecurity standards and regulations, ensuring businesses understand and comply with these guidelines, thus fostering a cybersecurity-conscious environment and avoiding non-compliance penalties. In case of a cyber incident, collaboration allows for a coordinated response, with governments supporting investigations and legal actions while companies mitigate impacts and restore operations.

Contributing to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, you’ve been involved in initiatives like launch.sa and Trend Micro Academy to blaze a cybersecurity career path for young Saudis. How do these initiatives impact the local talent pool and the broader cybersecurity landscape?

Rasheed Alodah: One of the key programs is the Cyber Academy. Here, we recruit fresh graduates directly from universities and provide them with intensive training. Depending on the program and specific customer requirements, these training periods can range from three to six months, and sometimes even up to a year. The primary objective of this approach is to ensure that when these graduates complete the program, they are fully prepared and ready to step into real-world cybersecurity roles seamlessly.

This hands-on training gives them practical experience and a thorough understanding of market needs and job requirements. By the time they graduate from the academy, they have not only theoretical knowledge but also the practical skills that are in high demand in the cybersecurity field.

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