Securing the digital nation

Security specialist DarkMatter is working with government clients in the UAE to develop cybersecurity practices for a digital nation

Tags: DarkMatter ( networksUnited Arab Emirates
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Securing the digital nation Rabih Dabboussi, senior VP of Sales, Marketing & Business Development. (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  June 6, 2016

With the rise in digitisation, smart systems and connected infrastructure, the number of potential targets for cyberattack has increased dramatically in recent years, and as digitisation has spread to include critical infrastructure such as utilities, transport and public safety networks, so the magnitude of the damage that could be caused by a cyberattack has increased. With smart city models proposing even greater interconnectivity between systems, and standardisation and interoperability between many different communications protocols increasing, the risk of catastrophic hacking incidents is greater than ever.

Securing highly-connected, mission critical systems and ensuring that both the risk of incidents and their impact is minimised, is changing the way that many organisations think about security. Point solutions that tackle certain specific problems or protect just one part of an infrastructure in isolation from the rest of the network are no longer effective, and organisations are looking for holistic solutions that include not just cyber security but monitoring, risk planning and incident mitigation as well.

The shifting security landscape is also changing the way that security companies address threats and serve their customers. DarkMatter, a new entrant to the security space, is looking to offer a holistic solution for security to its customers, primarily with a focus on government.

Formed in the UAE in 2015, the company has developed a broad set of security capabilities and developed close alignment with many UAE government entities.
Rabih Dabboussi, who recently joined DarkMatter after 20 years with Cisco, said that the company has been formed with a vision of helping governments and private sector organisations to secure critical national infrastructure.

“We are established to address national security, and that involves not just the government sector, it involves every critical national infrastructure, all the way to individuals and homes. We have the aspiration, as well as the know-how and the presence, as well as the strategy to expand regionally and globally,” he explained.

Dabboussi, who has been appointed as senior VP of Sales, Marketing & Business Development, is the latest in a number high level hires for the company, which has built up its expertise in areas including network defence; PKI and certification; white hat hacking; governance, risk and compliance and other areas. DarkMatter has also developed capabilities in areas such as technical surveillance, mobile security, security monitoring, trusted supply chain and secure communications. The aim is to create a company that has traditional security integration capabilities, plus its own products and services and consulting to cover the whole range of security activities that a nation state-level customer might require.

The company is even named after the ‘dark matter’ that physicists hypothesise constitutes around 90% of the universe, to reflect its aims to be ever present, but invisible, when it comes to protecting customers.

“We are in the business of securing nations, we are not just another security systems integrator,” Dabboussi said. “Our key differentiation is in the fact that we have global experts, very well recognised for their experience, we have the trust and relationship with the UAE government, and we have the local R&D. There are other local organisations that have a flavour of each one of those, but there are none that have all three together, we are unique in that way.

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