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Tackling CISO Challenges with Confidence

Ram-Narayanan

It is a very bad time for the corporate executive members as they are facing a lot of cyberattacks from multiple fronts. There is no predictability about in which form it is coming. They do not have enough deterrence and skill to avoid these attacks. Therefore, the best way to the situation is to have right tech stack and consultants around who can respond quickly.

Due to the prolonged pandemic, the priority of organizations has become digitization and modernization of their assets. Parallelly, the situation has also prompted the bad guys and groups to find ways and means to hack into the systems and create demand for ransom or throw open your classified documents to the public. This is obviously natural in the scenario but there is certain capability and strength of human to manage and control the situation. These humans are the CISOs and CIOs who are under tremendous pressure despite being in best of their abilities and capabilities. They cannot do much about it as they are surrounded by too much of external challenges including dynamic technology landscape, lack of skillsets and differently thinking attitude and un-predictability of the hackers. Therefore, these executives need support of a highly dependable vendor having good ecosystem of partners and consultants.  

Global statistics says that there has been a 50% YoY growth in attacks but in the GCC, the cyberattack growth is 71% YoY. That is the reason even the top management is concerned about it. Check Point Research indicates that every organization on an average in a week is targeted 900 times in this region. This picture paints well about the challenges that the CISOs are going through. The other big pressure for the CISOs is from the news media which says: “despite investing so much of dollar in technology stacks there is no abatement in cyberattacks”. This is a big psychological pressure. 

Therefore, today’s CISOs are looking at how to do consolidation, how to bring more visibility and how to integrate with the business functions so that everything works together in synch. 

Ram Narayanan, Country Manager at Check Point Software Technologies, Middle East, says: “Today challenge for the CISOs is to be the business enablers therefore they must have access to the right technology. Thy can cover all the challenges with our Infinity architecture, which addresses vulnerability around networks to mobility to cloud.” 

With Check Point Infinity architecture, Check Point brings in the consolidation and 360 – degree visibility for the CIOs and CISOs. Secondly, Check Point is also different in terms of its enterprise offerings, which is based on three pillars. The first pillar is Check Point Quantum, which is a network security including next-gen firewall with threat prevention and sandboxing needs of an enterprise. This has got the capability to address the hyperscale architecture. Ram says, “With Check Point Infinity architecture, if the customer needs to expand, they can expand security coverage without any rip and replace. They can simply provision the coverage.”

Second pilar of Check Point Harmony, which addresses users and access. With increasing adoption of remote work, Check Point is ensuring Zero Trust engagement and SASE Model of engagement with the customers. So, Check Point Harmony suit of solutions takes care of the mobility and access of any enterprise. 

The third pillar is Check Point CloudGuard, which is cloud native product line offering security to all the cloud environments including security posture management keeping the compliance in perspective. It not only protects the cloud environment but also the DevOpp environment, containers, applications on cloud, etc. 

Ram added, “In addition to the above offerings, we help the CISOs and CIOs in their tactical strategies of maintaining complete security without distributing the financial commitments by engaging them in Infinity enterprise licensing. With this license agreement they need not have to worry about whether it is for network security or cloud security or endpoint security. They access it based on pay per user model, which is very good for their finance team also.”

A lot of enterprises in the region are embracing this model as this brings a lot of predictability in terms of cost and performance. 


“Today challenge for the CISOs is to be the business enablers therefore they must have access to the right technology. They can cover all the challenges with our Infinity architecture, which addresses vulnerability around networks to mobility to cloud.”

Ram Narayanan, Country Manager at Check Point Software Technologies, Middle East.


Challenges

Check Point Software has a fantastic technology stack. The challenge for the company is to take this message to customers, senior leaders and decision makers and make them aware of the offerings and options they have. Along with the products stack, Check Point has a fantastic partners’ ecosystem which can help the customers in their journey and an adaptive market strategy to go along with the growth of the end customers. 

The other challenge Check Point sees is inadequate skillset in the customer organizations. Even though the products  are very good, unless there are well informed and well skilled customers, the product is of no use. Even today, the partners ecosystem have good skills sets in traditional solution and still in the process of enhancing the skills on new and emerging technologies. There is a strong need of upskilling and reskilling of the workforce on both the sides. Ram says, “The industry is changing so dynamically that we are putting in continuous effort to get our messaging across to the market and to our ecosystem that they get upskilled and reskilled regularly.”

Refuting Perception 

The perception about Check Point that it is pricy. Refuting the perception, Ram says, that if you want to come out with a quality product obviously it comes with a price. Sometimes, it is worth the money you spend to protect your organization.  Security is no joke in present context because one incident can ruin your reputation and destroy your entire effort in the market. He maintains, “If someone says it is pricy, it of course comes with a price, but it gives you the value for money.”

Other perception is that Check Point is meant for large projects and large organizations not for the SMB and SMEs, to which Ram said that Check Point for a long time has solutions for SME’s / SMB and we have renewed focus in this area with Check Point Quantum Spark series. For years Check Point had products and solutions for distributed enterprises (branch offices) also extending the same security in a small form factor. The company realizes that the weak link of the enterprises is the branch offices and unless those offices are protected, the entire enterprise cannot be protected. SME and SMB are the key and focused growth sector for Check Point Software. It has smaller form factor devices to the sector and offerings are packaged in certain way to secure the endpoints, emails for SME/SMB customer profiles where they don’t have to look at point solutions to protect data.

Resources strength 

Customer experience is what Check Point values; and it continues to look at enhancing their experience. The company has seen exponential growth in this region and has beefed up its operation with adequate and more numbers of pre-sales and post-sales persons, which has always been a concern for the CISOs in the past. As per Ram, every country has Check Point’s direct in country presence. He specially mentioned about having more people aligning with the 2030 vision of Saudi, where the country is focusing a lot on digital and cyber.

Besides, the company has the professional services team to get the solution implemented with best practices. Along with these capabilities, there is a good number of channel ecosystem of Check Point on ground and the company wishes to upskill and reskill these folks in certain scale that they come at par with the internal tech team of the vendor from the skillset perspective. Check Point takes all efforts in certifying these partners on various technologies including Check Point Maestro Hyperscale Network Security so that there is no paucity of skillsets for the market. Along with these efforts Ram also revealed that they are skilling the customers on required technology using its Cyber Security Learning Credits. 

Besides, Check Point is also focusing a lot on the Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) program in the region. Despite all efforts to upskill the customers about new technology, there is a still a paucity of talent in the market. It is not because there is less resource but because there are so many technologies in place and it is so dynamic in nature. Therefore, at least MSSPs can offload some of the critical responsibilities from the customers’ shoulder. Besides the SME and SMB customers would be of great beneficiary.  Giving an example Ram added, “A large organization would have their SOC team and capability to manage and monitor inhouse, but in case of mid-size organization, it is difficult to do so. Therefore, our MSSPs come into their aid. Secondly, if any mid-size organization having any SOC for monitoring only, these MSSPs also augment the capability with their specialization with services like incident response, managed services, etc.” As per him, this is going to be the future of the SIs as well. 

Use cases

Check Point Software is betting big on hyperscale architecture. There are large banking, retail & educational customers in the throughout the region who have already implemented hyperscale architecture and some are getting ready to be implemented. Ram says, “The customers see value in investing as they need scalability for the business to grow. Therefore, we have customers in the BFSI sector using our network security and Check Point sandboxing solution for their entire DC and branch office scenario. Similarly, we have government and semi-government entities which are using Check Point Harmony for endpoint & email security. Large enterprise customers are using our cloud security as they are transforming into cloud.” 

Similarly, Check Point has references in education and healthcare verticals. Incidentally these two verticals were at the target of the hackers during pandemic and suffered maximum damage too. So, across different business verticals, Check Point Software is having its presence.   

Finally…

Check Point Software has the complete stack of solutions with dependable channel alliance and a skilled workforce for pre- and post-sales services. Along with this, the company is available locally in each country. Along with this, there huge potential and growth opportunity in this region and Check Point Software has enough headroom to grow. Ram is eying at a higher double-digit growth in this region from the base line of whatever the company has achieved so far and the coverage it has along with its channel penetration. He added, “Check Point Software has achieved significant growth in the region during the last three years, and now with additional investment and a lot of uptake from customers, we can expect a better number than earlier.” 

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