x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Companies seeking safety for critical data

Employees are the biggest threat when it comes to data security. Mahesh Vaidya, chief executive of ISIT, a Dubai-based data storage and security company explains why.

Mahesh Vaidya, the chief executive of ISIT, says employees are the biggest threat when it comes to data security. Fatima Al Marzouqi / The National
Mahesh Vaidya, the chief executive of ISIT, says employees are the biggest threat when it comes to data security. Fatima Al Marzouqi / The National

Mahesh Vaidya is the chief executive of ISIT, a data storage and security company based in Dubai. He speaks about why employees are the biggest threat to companies when it comes to data security, and explains why some businesses are setting up disaster recovery centres in the UAE.

What is the biggest challenge for companies in keeping data secure?

What has happened in the last few years in the Middle East is we went through the worst recessions we have ever seen and a lot of people have been leaving organisations. The year before last, we conducted this survey of more than 100 IT professionals. More than 80 per cent of them admitted taking some kind of confidential information from the company.

What kind of information are we talking about?

It's confidential company information, which could be emails or pricing information. Recently, I was approached by an event management company. A lot of people who left there took databases … of suppliers and customers. Most of it was the intellectual property of the company. It was quite valuable information for the competition to get hold of … They wanted to take a loss prevention solution from ISIT.

What kind of trends are we seeing in the data storage industry just now?

On the storage front, what is happening is that people are extremely keen on disaster recovery because of the political turmoil in the Middle East. People are a bit worried about access to information. Some of our customers were not able to get to the office because of issues in Bahrain when the roads were blocked. So people started thinking about data recovery and keeping their data in safe places.

Where?

One of the options some of our customers came up with was to keep a data centre in places like the UK , another was India. But if you have a disaster, it's not easy for people to get to those disaster recovery locations and set up operations. What we have realised is that instead of going to India or the UK, people are now setting up disaster recovery centres in the UAE to keep the entire copy of their data so they can start out of the UAE.

Is the data storage industry in the UAE ready to capitalise on the opportunity? Has it got enough capacity?

The other companies are trying to do that, but we are already ahead of the game. We have offices in all of these countries (in the Middle East) as well as in the UAE, so we can also provide the customer with on-site support. For example, if something happens in Bahrain, we could have on-site support in Bahrain and the UAE.

How many companies have contacted you about setting up a disaster recovery centre in the UAE?

We're are in talks with at least 10 large institutions, such as financial institutions, [which are based in Middle East countries] where these recent political troubles have been happening.

gduncan@thenational.ae