Secerno to database rescue

The one-year old company has set up a commercial hub in Dubai, and is working to build its reputation and market share in the Middle East.

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By  Sean Robson Published  July 14, 2008

The one-year old company has set up a commercial hub in Dubai, and is working to build its reputation and market share in the Middle East.

Database security firm Secerno has established a commercial hub in Dubai as it seeks to prove itself as a recognised vendor in the Middle East market.

"The move to the Middle East has been as a result of a few factors. First, the commercial reasons as, in my experience, the enterprises in this region have always been extremely innovative in adopting and promoting new technology, and second, because of its location and great access to almost anywhere in the world," explains Secerno CEO, Steve Hurn.

Database security is essentially about keeping people from getting their hands on information that could potentially be damaging to the individual or organisation.

Secerno is an unique security solution provider, which primarily protects enterprise information in databases against insider threats. Apart from the commercial hub in Dubai, the one-year old company has a similar set-up in New York.

"When I started this company I noticed that while everyone agreed that security was important they just tended to do the same old things like firewall, perimeter security, essentially hard on the outside and soft on the inside," says Hurn.

"Database security is about keeping people from getting their hands on information that could be damaging to the individual or organisation. The growth in the Middle East is off the charts with huge enterprises like Emirates Airlines hiring 500 people a week. At that rate, when it comes to logging sensitive data, gaps begin to appear, Secerno stops those gaps being exploited and then fills them, says Kerry Koutsikos, Secerno's vice president for southern Europe, Middle East and Africa regions."

"Secerno technology eradicates the insider threat problem. Be it cyber terrorism or just an employee hitting the wrong key and sending your information out, our product is constantly looking for that anomalous behaviour. The reality is SQL injections are on the rise but we stop them all," says Hurn.

According to Hurn, Secerno has the power to control what they call superusers in the databases. Superusers are accounts that are used by DBAs (database administrators) to perform certain tasks within the database to help the application work more efficiently. This includes all administration tasks.

"The problem is that DBAs can do what they want, when they want. We have the ability not only to audit them, but to stop them from accessing specific data. For example, we can stop a DBA from accessing payroll information, although the database cannot stop this."

Secerno is also able to enforce policies on all data requests. If a user works on an application, but leaves the screen on and goes home Secerno can ensure that requests from the system are blocked after a specific time. "Basically, we can control what users see, do and work on within
a database and application," explains Hurn.

Koutsikos admits that there are some initial challenges in bringing the product to the region.

"Historically, it takes days to implement a product like this. We can set our product up within two hours and its up protecting you instantly. It's a non-intrusive product and the manageability of the system is first class due to our clustering technique."

"We have already appointed one partner in Saudi Arabia and are busy talking with another. We will initially focus our efforts on the GCC nations and recruit a group of skilled security partners to ensure a unique boutique model," affirmed Koutsikos.

When it comes to the end-users that Koustikos and his team will be targeting, Hurn believes that his product is aimed across the board. "This product lends itself to anyone who has a database and an application, practically any vertical. That said we are focused on the biggest companies, like telcos, financial institutions and even governments."

With Koutsikos and a colleague already in place, 2008 will see Secerno begin to build its reputation and market share in the Middle East, adds Hurn.

"We recognised that we had this core technology that was first rate and we found when we presented the proposition to clients that it was a bit of a non-brainer. This year was around getting the product to a position where it was in all areas better than anything the competition has to offer and we have done that," he concludes.

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