Threat Prevention Sales Leader, Middle East and Africa at Check Point, Mr. Andrew Voges, spoke with Emma Okonji on the latest trends in global cyberattacks and how best to mitigate the problem in Nigeria, using Check Point solutions. Excerpts:
Could you share your mission to Nigeria and how successful is the mission?
I visited Nigeria with the Check Point team to attend a customer forum being put together by our partners and facilitated by Check Point. The focus is to present new technology solutions from Check Point that will help organisations overcome threats from cyberattacks. We are in Nigeria to help businesses resolve the challenges and threats of cyberattacks. It is a forum that allows customers ask all questions relating to cybersecurity and prevention. Our team is on ground to proffer solutions to cybersecurity challenges.
So what kind of support do you provide for your partners and customers, aside organising customers’ forum?
Aside customers’ forum, which we organise from time to time, we also offer training for our customers directly and through our channel model, where we work closely with our integrated partners to offer training on latest technology solutions. Those customers, who are registered with our partners, get the training and they also get certification from the training. We also offer security training as well, to make our customers more knowledgeable in the area of cybersecurity.
In 2017, Nigeria and the rest of the globe witnessed series of cyberattacks. What in your view are the impacts of such attacks on Nigerian business?
The impact of cyberattacks varies from organisation to organisation, depending on the size of the organisation and the extent of damage caused by the attacks. Small businesses may not feel the impact as much as big organisations will feel it, but attacks on organisation’s data could lead to operational downtime and also bring down the entire operations of an organisation. Cyberattacks can disorganise productivity, and affect returns on investment.
Data breaches with sense of information, created by cyberattacks, could lead to huge disaster in any organisation, and the bottomline impact is always disastrous.
What has been the nature of cyberattacks and what is the general perception of organisations about getting the right technology solutions to prevent cyberattacks, irrespective of the cost of such solutions?
I will like to describe the nature of cyberattacks and the perception of organisations towards the attacks from various levels of distinct generational attacks. The first generation attacks, which occurred between 1980 and 1990, were mild attacks with various kinds of virus infections, but in the second generation attacks, which came between 1990 and 2000, the attacks were more severe and damaging and the attacks were launched through the internet. What the companies did to mitigate the attacks was to get firewalls installed in their systems to prevent the attacks. The third generation attacks, which were launched from 2000 to 2010, were targeted at software applications, while the fifth generation attacks from 2010 to date were mainly through malware, which comes as cyber war and they come repeatedly on organisations. Now the perception of organisations in these different generational attacks varies because they were also thinking fast on how to get the right solutions to address the attacks.
You have been a strong advocate of multilayer architecture as a solution to cyberattacks. How does the multilayer architecture work and how does it prevent the current generation of cyberattacks?
Multilayer architecture is the key to addressing cyberattacks of any magnitude. It provides full scale protection on the data and systems and prevent them from cyberattacks. It helps protection of cyberattacks up to 99 per cent.
How will you advise organisations that are too particular about cost cutting, when ordinarily such organisation is supposed to invest in cybersecurity?
My advice for such organisation will be built around consolidation. They have to find better ways between cost cutting and investment in cybersecurity through consolidation with their software security vendors. From Check Point view, we can offer solution that will give organisations the full insight of their security risks and advise them on what solution they need that could be cost effective, and still protect the organisation from cyberattacks.
How interoperable are your security solutions for organisations that were initially running other security solutions and still have the need to run the Check Point security solutions?
We have technology partners globally and our solutions that are deployed by our partners have full features of interoperability, which allows our solution to run side by side with the solution from order vendors. So if any organisation wants to maintain two different solutions from different vendors, it is possible with Check Point solution because of the interoperability features that come with our solution. So our solution can integrate with different networks and still offer the best result in terms of cyberattack prevention and mitigation. So we can integrate with order networks and still provide the best of cybersecurity solutions for organisations.
What kind of solution do you have for small businesses like SMEs with small customer base and little funding?
The good news is that Check Point provides solutions for both enterprise and small businesses. So the nice thing is that prior to shifting to our new technology, we also realised that we still need to take care of smaller businesses, in as much as we provide solutions for big enterprise organisations. With our new technology solution that is based on cloud solution, we ensure that we provide the right solution for every size of business at affordable cost. So we offer the same protection to both big and small organisations, including government owned organisations. We have big solutions for big and enterprise organisations and we also have small solutions designed for small businesses, because we know that the small businesses also exist.
As information technology (IT) security expert, what is the best security solution you will advise Nigerian organisations to adopt, considering the type of cyberattacks that are prevalent in the country?
The best cybersecurity solution to be recommended for any organization depends on the kind of attack that is prevalent. In Nigeria for example, attacks such as malware and phishing are prevalent in the country. Irrespective of the kind of business embarked upon, be it in the manufacturing, construction, pharmaceutical, and financial, the attackers look for vulnerability in the system to launch their attacks. So what we will suggest as IT security experts is the solution that will offer full protection of the entire system and data of an organisation. We have a solution called Sandblast, which offers the best of protection to organisations’ data and system. I will also suggest generation fibre security solution to address organisations’ need in the area of cyberattacks.
Hackers are looking at new ways to launch cyberattacks on organisations. What is Check Point doing to counter such attacks?
Part of our solution to address the current advancement of hackers is based on our free cloud solution that is connected to all our technology solutions. What free cloud does is to address the attacks from the intelligent division, and from the signatures, and these are realtime solutions that address any new cyberattack. So with this, any customer that is connected to Check Point solution is fully protected from newer forms of attacks. Our solution goes beyond signature update, and it comes with realtime update, which is best to detect and stop new forms of cyberattacks, and this means that we can secure up to 99 per cent of such prevention.
At what point does the attack from hackers hit organisations, and at what point does your solution detect such attacks?
The hackers operate in different ways. For the financial sector for instance, we deploy our solution in their system in such a way that the solution detects the malware before it launches its attack. What the attack does is to try and get access to organisations emails and through the compromised emails, they can get access to the data and the entire system, so we have solutions that prevent the attacks from getting access to the emails and other peripherals that could give them access to the entire system.
You spoke about preventive solutions to cyberattacks, but you did not talk about how to address challenges of organisations that have already been attacked. How does Check Point salvage such a situation after the attack?
We also have solutions for organisations that have already suffered cyberattacks. What we do in that instance is to deploy our Incident Response Solution, irrespective of whether the organisation is our customer or not. The solution will do the check performance and carry out the mitigation process of the attack as quickly as possible. After that is achieved, we will deploy preventive solution that will completely prevent further occurrence of the attack.