After Hours: Mirza Asrar Baig

ACN below the corporate strategy to find out what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick.

Tags: CTM360 ( crimeCyber espionageUnited Arab Emirates
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After Hours: Mirza Asrar Baig Mirza Asrar Baig, Founder & CEO of CTM360.
By Staff Writer Published  December 14, 2016

Mirza Asrar Baig, founder & CEO, CTM 360.

How did you come to be in your current role?

I have been an entrepreneur from the time of my graduation and have innovated multiple firsts in the region. The passion and obsession of developing a world class information security technology that is recognised as being developed in the Arab World, has been my main driver.

What is your management philosophy?

I have tried multiple management philosophies and realised that the context of culture and surrounding business environment matter the most. Subsequently, I drafted the universal principal of instilling ‘Trust’, ‘Teamwork’ and ‘Treasure your job’ in an organisation that is driven by a higher sense of value for all stakeholders. Though it is much easier said than done.

What was your first computer and when did you first use it?

The good old mainframe at King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals, back in my undergraduate days, as a computer science student. We used to punch our programs on cards and submit those to the data processing admin to run the program.

What is your greatest achievement?

I was being recognised as ‘father of PCI’ for introducing and developing a collaborative compliance program in the Saudi Banking Sector. This was in 2011, which resulted in Saudi Arabia becoming the ‘first country in the world’ where all Banks were PCI DSS certified. That achievement is now being overshadowed by the development of the suite of Cyber Threat Management technologies and services.

What was the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?

Gaining recognition as a ‘producer of world class technology’ that was developed within the region and managing the doubts of being a local producer has been the greatest challenge. It took hard work and a much higher quality of deliverable in comparison to global competitors to break that barrier.

What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East industry?

Having spent about 30 years working in the Middle East and watching the industry grow and mature in certain aspects is remarkable. The best part has been the experience of witnessing the growth of the BCIS in Saudi Arabia. Since 2002, the cohesive and collaborative body now meets every month.

What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the market in 2017?

2017 is the year of FinTech. The race is on, globally to adopt and deliver financial transactions through novel and disruptive concepts. Transactions through buzzwords like ‘blockchain’ would start happening. More vendors would move towards the cloud-based SaaS model using cutting-edge cyber security. IoT also deserves a mention here, though regulators would push to adopt much stricter security controls.

What’s the best way to deal with stress?

By not having any stress to begin with. Work related stress is mostly due to issues that delay or disrupt deliverables. In my view, issues should be dealt as challenges and opportunities. Find a creative solution rather than counting the numerous hurdles. For example, the region is cutting costs due to lower oil prices, hence opportunity exists to offer viable solutions at lower budgets previously unconsidered.

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