- New senior digital, cyber experts at PA Consulting Group warn Middle East businesses to transform securely, harnessing power of disruptive technology
Middle East businesses embracing digital transformations in order to gain business advantage and drive innovation are being warned to place digital trust and cyber security at the heart of such change.
The advice has been issued by two new senior experts in IT, digital transformation and cyber security appointed by PA Consulting Group Middle East and North Africa as part of an aggressive recruitment phase to bolster client capabilities in the region.
Farrukh Ahmad, selected to head up the cyber security team at PA Consulting MENA has joined the technology, innovation and consulting firm from Vodafone. He has advised businesses in the region to pay close attention to their technology ‘exposure window’, where organisations are vulnerable to internal and external entities accessing services, data or systems.
“The biggest mistake an organisation can make is not to embed security functionality from the onset,” he said from PA’s Dubai office. “By entrenching digital trust and cyber security from design, to build and deployment, the protection will correctly cover the risks, be less costly, and provide a secure foundation upon which additional business services can be offered.”
Digital transformations are not optional for businesses in today’s climate and the speed of digital disruption is increasing.
Ian Grannan, who joins PA to lead the MENA technology and digital services team following his tenure at Etihad Rail, highlights international and regional success stories such as Apple, Amazon, Uber, Careem, and Souq.com. These are brands which have driven their own revolutions, while others such as Blockbuster and high street retailers have disappeared completely.
Ahmad and Grannan, together with their growing team of IT, digital and cyber experts are urging organisations to adapt or die, but also to ensure cyber security is placed at the heart of transformation.
Grannan said: “Digital transformations that do not change, improve and encompass underlying business processes lead to disjointed, inefficient services that will never be able to compete with digital-native competitors.
“The opportunity that digital transformation provides for most businesses is huge and those businesses that embrace that opportunity will be the future leaders and heralded as successful case studies in five to 10 years. It is essential, however, that organisations underpin that transformation with a robust digital trust and cyber security strategy. Companies want to become household names, but not for the wrong reason.”
Both experts agree that the risk not to change is too high, but that employees and senior leadership must understand that digital transformation is a business transformation, with cyber security acting as a core bedrock.
Ahmad added: “An integrated approach requires a pervasive culture of security within an organisation. This starts with having clear organisational policies and standards which will ensure a consistent approach to embedding digital trust and cyber security in all systems, including the digital transformation that will power your businesses into the future.
“Organisations should also consider how they can leverage newer security technologies such as mobile authentication, shared ledgers, digital signature based workflows, and cloud access security brokers. These security technologies can allow organisations to introduce new business services using commodity public services, knowing that they are highly scalable, secure and cost effective.”