Interview News

Focusing on Creating a Right Partner Ecosystem in the Region


GITEX 2023 gave us opportunities to catch up with technology vendors and thought leaders. We met up with Tejas Lagad, Director – Asia Pacific, MEA, Nexus and tried to understand his idea about MEA and GITEX.

What is your experience so far in GITEX?

I am excited to be at GITEX. I have also realized that this is a melting pot for not just people from the Middle East but for all over the world and seems to be the right and the premier conference where you see many technologies to be launched.  

What do you hear from customers?

Well, our presence over here is more about driving partnerships. We know that we will be able to start some end user conversations as well, but the real excitement is all about creating relationships and finding partnerships which will possibly help us throughout the next few years. So, with that context, we have started some good conversations with a few select partners all over the Middle East, some in Africa as well, and we look forward to leveraging that in the future now.

“Everything from the connected cars to the connected washing machines to connected smart meters – everything is getting smarter and are now able interact remotely as well. That is where the security issues are and that is where identity becomes a very important part.”

Tejas Lagad, Director – Asia Pacific, MEA, Nexus

What kind of partnerships are you looking at?   

We follow a multi-tier approach towards our markets which means looking for partners you know who are specialized in a certain segment of the vertical – let’s say government or financial services for example. Energy is a strong segment of focus for us and so is telecom. So, we are looking for partners, systems integrators and valuated resellers who have relationships with these companies who can then bring them onboard with us. They make the connections, and we do the rest for them.

Explain to us what Nexus is about and what kind of presence you have in the region.

Nexus is an identity company. We are in the business of giving identification to everything – right from people to things as well. Now, of course there are many options available for people to provide identities, but Nexus focuses on the highest level of identity. That is centered on the solution called as PKI or Public Key Infrastructure. That is the foundation of all the solutions at Nexus. We use that to be able to good and secure the identification of people by using smart cards or smart mobile applications. But now we are leveraging the same platform to do good and provide identities for smarter things as well. So, everything from the connected cars to the connected washing machines to connected smart meters – everything is getting smarter and are now able interact remotely as well. That is where the security issues are and that is where identity becomes a very important part.

IT and IoT integration are a very challenging aspect of infrastructure management. Can you tell us what are the challenges these sectors are facing?  

More so specifically around IOT, although the field seems new, the challenges that the field of IOT faces are not so new. For example, the challenges are the same as that we face in typical IT. For example, when you are interacting with some device, when the device claims to be somebody or something, is it indeed who it claims to be? Or is it a rogue device? When that device is sending some data to you, is that data being tampered over the wire? Or is it genuine? The third thing is when it has been sent over the wire, is somebody else listening to the data as well? So, the challenges actually are very similar to what we face in a typical IT field. That is the reason why we suggest that you do not need to go and create a new solution for managing the IOT challenges but rather you can use something which has been tried and tested and has been working for us for several years now. And that is exactly the foundation of PKI.
To tell you a bit about PKI – when you go to any website. Let’s say you go to your bank’s website; how do you know that you are on the bank’s website and not on another website. So, you have a certificate that is assigned to the website. It is called SSL Certificate and that is the foundation of how the Internet works. That is the same foundation that you have brought into the people and now into IOT world as well. So, when you start your phone, you can connect to your car and find out what the car’s location is, and the car is ready to transmit its location to you. How does the car know? That send the location to rightful owner and not to somebody else that the data cannot be misused. So, to ensure that we provide a fabric of PKI or digital certificates around the IoT network which allows you to go and secure and manage all the challenges.

Are your solutions restricted to establishing the identity, or even after that, your solution works?

Providing identity is the genesis of it. But that is not the end of it. We have solutions which can go ahead and not just provide identity, but also authorization as well, which means once identity is done, what else can you do with your entity, and it can take multiple form factors. It can take multiple forms in terms of what how to prove authorization, we are completely open standards based, which means you are able to support standard like SAML open authentication to be able to go ahead and interact with any kind of authorization engine that you might have.

Are you looking for specialists who have capabilities in security solutions or generic system integrators?

We have had success with partners, you know, who come with a security background and are then able to go ahead and translate our messages better to the end customers. However, we also had success with partners, which are vertically focused. As well. So, for example, a partner who is very good in telecom will get us and bridges across to the right telecom companies and through the journey of closing the first few opportunities the telecom partner learns the tricks of the trade and is able to go and try and trade messaging, so we are generically open to any kind of partner that comes along.

What is the optimum level of security you offer in terms of balancing the security and the productivity of the organization.  

We believe that the right balance is both. Traditionally, whenever the security has been increased, we have seen that the usability drops. That is exactly where solutions like Nexus come to the fore. With our security platforms, we enhance security and usability at the same time. Let me give an example, most people do not love passwords, but passwords are kind of a necessary evil these days. What we do is we try to go ahead and remove the need for passwords. At the same time, increase security by using something convenient to us. Let us say mobile phone application. The user just has to enter the username you get a pop-up notification on the phone, and you use your fingerprint or your face ID or your pin to just complete the log on. It increases security because replacing what you know with something that you have and something that you are. So, we can elevate security and at the same time improve usability as well.

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