Kingdom ‘has talent to build cyber workforce’

MANAMA: Bahrain’s talent pool from the student community as well as military and police agencies is key to building a skilled cybersecurity workforce, a top expert has said.

Anilkumar Jayaprakash, founder and president of Cyber Chasse, a US-based cybersecurity and artificial intelligence firm, told the GDN in an exclusive interview that the skills shortage in Bahrain and GCC countries can be tackled through a strategic approach.

“What is needed is a comprehensive cybersecurity training methodology aimed at creating opportunities for learners in Bahrain and GCC is in adherence with the changing cyber world. It should encompass courses on critical security controls, ethical hacking, network and wireless security and mobile security,” he said.

The firm is looking to launch operations in the region and has signed up as a sponsor for the Mena Royal Investment Summit 2021 being hosted in Bahrain next month.

Mr Jayaprakash said the company aims at exploring co-investment collaborations during the event and he was “looking forward to provide strategic cybersecurity solutions to governments and corporates in the region”.

Cyber Chasse is a provider of online and vendor-based industrial training in AI, data science and cybersecurity, and advanced eLearning and staffing solutions and has the ambition to help create a qualified cyber workforce, bridge the skills gap and protect Bahrain and GCC from emerging cyber threats.

According to recent reports, the GCC region has faced more than 56 million e-mail, URL, malware, and banking malware attacks since the start of the pandemic last year.

A survey by a Geneva-based application security firm found that 98 per cent of the top 100 global fintech start-ups are vulnerable to cyberattacks such as phishing, smartphone and web app security attacks.

The study concluded that 100pc of fintech providers face some level of security or privacy danger.

The expert has asserted that the Covid-19 pandemic has raised new challenges as businesses adapt to a modern operating model in which working from home has become the “new normal”.

In all sectors including IT, FMCG, education, services, health, manufacturing, etc., the pandemic has compelled companies to use technology to reimagine nearly every facet of their operations.

Analysis by global strategic consulting firm Kearney shows e-commerce in the GCC got a $2 billion-plus boost from Covid-19 alone and the continuing momentum will propel the market to a value of $50bn by 2025.

Mr Jayaprakash said this was further evidence of a new era of digital transformation in the region driven by wider technology investments.

“Businesses are speeding up their digital transformations, and cybersecurity has become a major concern. Cybercriminals are looking for opportunities to ramp up their illegal activities by leveraging the outdated and inefficient data protection measures followed by several companies.”

Protecting consumer data has become more important than ever, warned Mr Jayaprakash, saying “exposing the customer base to potential threats will not only harm companies but also affect the industry’s overall adoption rate of future fintech solutions”.

Talking about fintech, in which Bahrain is a regional pioneer, he said as the technology evolves at a faster rate than regulatory reforms, many businesses regard enforcement regulations as a roadblock that makes it more difficult to reach key goals and deadlines.

“Most of the time this stumbling block is due to a lack of contact with regulators, rather than the regulatory system itself.

“Maintaining an open line of communication with regulators is one way to mitigate fintech security issues,” said Mr Jayaprakash, adding, “An open dialogue will reflect a desire to better integrate into the financial sector while also encouraging people to fine-tune their business objectives to meet current and existing fintech security requirements”.




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