Below is an exclusive interview with Acronis during GISEC earlier this month (14 to 16 March 2023):
From partnering with motorsport teams to reduce carbon emissions to launching innovative products to drive sustainability, Ziad Nasr, General Manager (Middle East) at Acronis, is leading the charge toward a greener future. In a recent interview with GreentechnewsME, Nasr discussed the company’s green initiatives toward sustainability.
In the interview, Acronis’ representatives discussed how the partnership with motorsport teams aligns with the company’s sustainability goals and vision for a more environmentally friendly future. They emphasized the importance of data management and analysis in reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions in the motorsport industry. Acronis’ innovative technology solutions will enable teams to track and optimize their energy usage in real-time, helping them to make more informed decisions that reduce their environmental impact. Through this partnership, Acronis hopes to set an example for other industries and inspire positive change for the planet.
Here are some of the questions we asked Ziad Nasr, General Manager (Middle East) at Acronis:
1) What solutions are you presenting at GISEC 2023?
During this year’s GISEC event, we will be presenting our new-to-market cyber protection solutions that have been designed to deliver integrated, automated cyber protection that solves the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security challenges of the modern digital world. In addition to our current, tried-and-tested offerings, which include AI-enhanced anti-malware, signature-based AV, automated vulnerability scanning and patch management, advanced email security, DLP, backup, and disaster recovery – all of which are managed from a single platform with a single endpoint agent, we will also introduce our EDR solution in 2023. Our goal for this year’s participation is to further educate individuals on the importance of safeguarding their data and planning for disaster recovery. We will also address the security threat landscape by highlighting potential cyber risks and offering solutions to mitigate them.
2) What areas of security is the Middle East well prepared for and where can they further strengthen?
The UAE was ranked as the 5th country in EMEA in February 2023 for the number of malware attacks that were blocked. In that month, 14% of computers protected by Acronis in the UAE had at least one malware attack blocked, which was a significant increase from the 6% recorded in January. The number of blocked attacks had more than doubled. Similarly, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan had a 16% blockage rate, Kuwait had 11%, and Saudi Arabia had 8%. The surge in blocked attacks was partly due to the emergence of new waves of malware that were being spread through malicious emails containing files such as Microsoft Onenote and Google documents. Businesses must take proactive steps to protect their systems, such as updating their antivirus software to include AI-enabled antimalware, refreshing their email security to detect new obfuscation techniques and phishing emails, and implementing measures like data loss prevention and endpoint detection and response.
Many countries in the Middle East have already enacted data privacy laws, and businesses in the region will need to comply with both domestic and international regulations, especially with the implementation of SEC regulations. The growing significance of cybersecurity and data privacy is also expected to drive increased investment in cybersecurity technologies and personnel. Private sector entities and government initiatives will likely lead this investment to improve national security and safeguard critical infrastructure. To avoid significant financial and reputational damage, enterprises in the Middle East must prioritize compliance with these regulations and invest in robust cybersecurity and data privacy measures to protect their sensitive data from potential breaches and cyber attacks.
3) What are the primary challenges that IT decision-makers will face in 2023?
Amid the heightened war against cybercriminals, Chief Information Security Officers and security decision-makers are likely to experience ongoing sophisticated challenges and pain points in 2023. The demand for cybersecurity talents currently exceeds the available supply, making filling roles challenging. Budget constraints as most organizations may continue to face financial uncertainty may limit their ability to invest in cybersecurity technologies. Other challenges include third-party risk as many organisations continue to work with third-party vendors, which can introduce additional cybersecurity risks. Challenges in meeting compliance requirements can be complex and time-consuming, especially as regulations evolve. Cybersecurity solutions that can provide effective threat detection and response capabilities must be prioritized. Ransomware attacks have stayed on a stable level in the United Arab Emirates, resulting in less than 1% of the computers getting encrypted. Although this number is low it might be misleading as many of the ransomware attacks are blocked earlier in the chain, for example by blocking the malicious email, and therefore never make it to the encryption phase. In general, we have seen an increase in attacks against fintech companies in the GCC region. This might be related to the increase of cryptocurrency companies being based in GCC as well as new startups being registered. Ransomware attacks are still very popular, especially combined with data exfiltration, as this allows the attackers to profit from their attacks.
4) How has Acronis been able to scale up its business in the MENA region in 2022?
Acronis achieved remarkable business growth in the MENA region in 2022, thanks to a combination of strategic partnerships, region-specific cyber protection solutions, a customer-centric approach, and a well-established brand reputation. We have always prioritized partnering with reputable vendors and Managed Service Providers to provide customized products and support to our customers. We have also invested heavily in targeted marketing campaigns, tailoring our messaging to the specific needs and concerns of MENA customers, which has helped establish a strong presence in the region and attract new customers. Furthermore, we deliberately placed significant emphasis on delivering high-quality solutions and excellent customer experiences, which fostered a loyal customer base and positioned the brand as a trusted leader in the MENA cyber protection market. These efforts have enabled us to establish a robust foundation, successfully scale up our core business in the region, and position ourselves for continued growth and success not to mention the leading cyber protection company in the region.
5) What efforts is Acronis making in green technology and sustainability?
Acronis takes green technology and sustainability very seriously, making it a crucial part of our day-to-day operations. We remain committed to reducing our environmental impact and have implemented several measures to achieve our objectives. To reduce energy consumption, we have adopted energy-efficient practices like LED lighting and optimized cooling systems at our global locations. We also encourage remote working, which has significantly reduced our carbon footprint. Additionally, we have partnered with leading motorsport teams worldwide, providing our Acronis Cyber Protection Solutions to help reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Furthermore, we engage in joint machine intelligence projects with SailGP and Ocean Race, two major sailing series that promote green power technology and sustainability. At Acronis, we are dedicated to promoting green technology and sustainability, and we believe that our efforts will inspire others to join us in our quest for a better, more sustainable future.