Q&A with Bilal Baig, Technical Director, MMEA, Trend Micro

Tell us about your participation at GITEX.

GITEX is a very strategic event, not only for Dubai but all of the Middle East and Africa region. We have been participating in GITEX for more than 10 years and each year we get bigger. This shows our commitment to our customers and partners in the cyber security space.

Any new launches, unique innovations on display?

We bring new innovations to GITEX every year. Since everyone is currently talking about AI and Trend Micro has been using AI for the last 10 years – machine learning, deep machine learning and all the different algorithms which are needed for AI – we have introduced more advanced AI into our core system which is called ‘Trend Vision One’. Trend Vision One is a platform that gives you visibility across your environment, from your users in enterprise space, SaaS application, and cloud users. The visibility comes across not from just the network side but also from the end point and cloud side.

What is your outlook about the security industry in the coming months and 2024?

Looking for an attack is like finding a needle in a haystack. So, the AI can actually augment and help an analyst looking at the data, giving you the answer in a very plain text format. AI will help the SOC analyst or anybody on the cyber security part to understand even the most complicated attacks much faster, thus mitigating the attack.

As the attack surface is increasing and will continue to increase, AI augmented solutions are important to make the SOC analyst understand the background of the attacks.

I think security is the key aspect of majority of organizations. The boundaries of work have moved from enterprise space to the home space, as we still observe a lot of home users. If we are looking at the security aspect of it as an individual from mobile devices to any application, we are using in the enterprise space, it’s extremely important for us to protect those. We want to make sure to protect the consumer, protect the organization, protect the government, protect the critical infrastructure.  

So, security is extremely important for all organizations today, especially in a situation where the attack surface is increasing, lack of awareness, and lack of cyber security skills. Companies can manage their data and information by bringing in smart systems that consume that data and make sense of the data on the cyber security risk and the risk factor of any applications.

The beauty of where we are going is about ‘predictive analysis’ – we are able to predict risks and adapt our solutions based on these risks. Attack Surface Risk Management is the key at that point. When all the data comes in, you are able to measure the risk of any asset before the attack and can actually predict whether you are going to get attacked or not, eventually mitigating those attacks beforehand.

How is Trend Micro set to make a difference to the security industry in 2024?

Cyber insurance is becoming more important since the risk factor of assets are increasing. Now more than ever, the board decisions are based on the security aspect of their digital environments and how effective SOC teams are working for that security. So, the space between different security teams is also shrinking. We see a lot of vendor consolidation on the security side, a lot of visibility through XDR and ASRM, all this is measured by what you gain and what you lose in terms of security partners/vendors.

We have a decent global market share in the server space globally and in this region as well.  Most of the governments, financial industries, and regulated industries are using Trend Micro as well.

Every year the investment is massively increasing. What started with 10 people, has now crossed 70. And due to the increased reliance on technology, Trend Micro has stopped more than 475 million cyberattacks in the Middle East and Africa in the first half of this year. In UAE alone, we were able to stop over 39 million cyberattacks.

What, in your opinion, are some of the security trends we could expect in 2024?

The trend is how to exactly determine the risk management, looking at the risk factor and having that risk factor assigned to every single asset within the organization. The new goal for security is to look into much wider domains and applications, and not be restricted to just protecting the end point. This can only happen when you have more visibility. With better visibility, you are able to make a better analysis of data coming from network, the cloud, and enterprise spaces. Once you have the data, you see how to find those TTPs, what we call Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.

IP addresses are very easy to block but to navigate this space and finding real attack with the intricacy of all the logs is where we are heading towards conquering in the coming years.

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