Five Minutes: Dr. Najwa Aaraj
Dr. Najwa Aaraj, Vice President of Special Projects, DarkMatter.
What is your current role in the ICT industry in the Middle East and what are your responsibilities?
As my title suggests, I am a Vice President at DarkMatter and I oversee Special Projects. My area of specialisation is in Software and Hardware co-design and cryptographic implementations, which relates to the discipline or writing or solving codes. I am currently overseeing the commercialisation of a series of secure communications solutions that integrate military grade cryptographic primitives.
What is the best thing about your job?
It is working alongside people who are equally passionate about what we are looking to achieve at DarkMatter. We are re-thinking the approach to cyber security, placing it at the centre of network development and focusing on our Cyber Security Life Cycle, which entails planning, detection, protection, and recovery.
How innovative do you think the network industry in the Middle East is and how can it improve?
There are a lot of talented practitioners in the region, and the network industry is progressing rapidly, especially with the uptake of the Internet of Things, and the development of smart city programmes. However much of the innovation still occurs outside of the region, and this is where DarkMatter has clear differentiators. We are based in the region, but have been attracting tier one global talent to come and work for us in the UAE, offering services across the region.
What are the upcoming trends or products in your sector?
We believe that hyperconnectivity is going to be a trend for years to come, that is to say, many more devices are going to have intelligence embedded in them, and be connected to a network.
Does your company utilise virtualisation or cloud computing and if so what products/ implementations do you have?
We are in the process of building a security operations centre (SOC) in the UAE, together with a network operations centre (NOC), both of which will utilise cloud computing.
What are your out-of-office hobbies?
I enjoy learning and practicing dance from different cultures and regions, practice Pilates, and I am an aspiring jewellery designer.
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