In what ways has the security software industry changed in recent years?

DIAB: Security has evolved from a traditional software base to different varieties and shapes of security infrastructure. If you are secured on the end-point with anti-virus, it is no longer enough; you have to secure your total infrastructure. So McAfee has picked up the total focus and expanded protection to give 360° protection. This means to go into the data centers so that you have appliance based security as well. These entail a variety of different solutions including intrusion prevention systems, if you are facing a denial of service attack for example, data loss prevention, securing email gateways, web gateways, application firewalls, which is a very sophisticated type of firewall, and niche areas of infrastructure security. Along with that goes probabilities and risk analysis within your environment. So all of this is bundled into a hardware based solution that allows users to secure their data centers. Along with the end-points, there is a third category and that is the cloud. Everything is going into the cloud today. The 360°, which is your integration between the 3 areas can give you a better push to give you 24/7 business continuity within your environment.

McAfee has also introduced 3 new projects. The first is the integration with Intel, and that has really given new security features to our customers. Traditional security applies security over the operating system, but now with the integration with Intel, you are able to go with what is called the dismal layer, which means you are integrated into the fabric of the chipset itself. This sits under the operating system in the roots of your system. What does that mean? More efficiency, better protection, better management of your environment, and control to make any updates that are required. The second is that we have added database security solutions. All of your information sits in a database at the end of the day and you need protection that sits on the top of those servers that contain the most valuable information. That is where database security comes in. To put it all together, McAfee has announced the acquisition of Nitro in October 2011. Nitro is a security management solutions company. That will correlate all of these events and target your event management as well. This is the fastest management system in the industry. We can now give users one screen that shows what goes on in the total environment and better control in terms of being optimized and being able to know where your weakness is and how to solve this problem in the shortest path possible.

What is the future of ICT security?

DIAB: The future of security is a never-ending story. When we look at this just in terms of data consumption, this is a $40b market for hackers to make more financial rewards for themselves. We are going to see more complex attacks that are more sophisticated in nature to get sensitive data and utilize it in different fashions. We were seeing a lot of attacks before in banking targeting credit card information. We have seen attacks more on government and industry related activities such as oil and gas, energy, and on some nuclear plants. Now we are seeing a variation of these types of complex attacks. Data is one area that we will always see more and more sophisticated attacks. Another area that we are going to see growing is mobility. To enable our young CEOs to manage businesses, we have to make sure they are not stuck behind desks. Today you can manage your business from an iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, etc. Growth in that segment is huge and with that goes security. On all of your applications, your information is utilized. McAfee can service this area as part of the end-point solutions discussed earlier. I would say the third aspect is innovating a new type of security that goes into non-traditional IT security related to your home. For example, security that goes into controlling the temperature within your house, or maybe the security that goes around the Bluetooth in your car.

How sophisticated are companies in this part of the world with regard to computer security? What is currently the greatest threat to computer and internet security?

DIAB: Knowledge is power and that is how things are in this region in particular. What we have seen from our experience in being actively involved in security in different verticals is that knowing what you have within your enterprise will give you real information. Comparing this region to the West, there is a lack of developing that concept of knowing what you have in your enterprise area including what sort of attacks are being made and what sort of information is missing. Another question is whether that information leak is due to internal factors or is it due to vulnerabilities to the outside. All of this put together, in general in comparison to other parts of the world, we may be lagging behind. However, we are seeing initiatives to change that. Obviously due to the fact that there is financial penetration and business has been impeded, we are seeing some investments in security.

In which markets are you currently seeing the most growth? Which new markets are most interesting for expansion?

DIAB: Traditional growth markets for us in the Middle East and North Africa have always been Saudi and the UAE. The GCC is growing in general and North Africa is the opportunistic place where things are picking up in the sophisticated areas but it is slower in nature. The interesting thing we see is the opportunity with the Arab Spring that is going on politically. Egypt will be under new management and political power and it may be a rising star. South Sudan is a new area as well as Iraq and Libya. There is a lot of potential. But honestly speaking, without stability, you cannot see security playing a major role. MENA is an emerging part of the world, so we are part of the growth potential identified worldwide and I think we will continue to have the same position. Hopefully security, in terms of political stability, will be enhanced and we will see this region continue to pick up and be a bright spot for the future.