UAE-based Coordinates announces Adaptive Bespoke Cybersecurity for SME
Mita Srinivasan
10X Technology

UAE-based Coordinates announces Adaptive Bespoke Cybersecurity for SME

Tarek Ghoul, CEO of Coordinates, shares his view on how the UAE is responding to ransomware in the region

Coordinates, established in 2015, offers a service entitled Adaptive Bespoke Cybersecurity. Under this service, their teams will continuously assess, monitor and detect cyberthreats 24/7 and provide the right defense and remediation for each company. Importantly, they evolve these solutions constantly, just as the hackers evolve their attacks. They claim to be able to take any company from a Code Red (unsafe) to a Code Amber (safe from most attacks) in just 21 days. Given that in 2019, 85% of organizations worldwide reported experiencing cyber-attacks and that was a 16% increase on 2018, this could not come sooner.

According to Tarek Ghoul, CEO of Coordinates, medium and small size businesses are at a heightened risk with a false sense of security. “Unfortunately, we estimate that 96% of CEO’s think their company is safe from cyberattacks because they have an off-the-shelf ‘box’. The truth is that an unsophisticated hacker can smash that box in minutes and hold companies to ransom for however much money they choose.”

The UAE is as sophisticated as any other country in its national data protection and the Government has established a National Cybersecurity Strategy to tackle this issue. However, given that AED1.8 billion is spent on cybersecurity in the country each year (and AED18 billion across MENA), it is fair to say that local businesses are not exempt from attacks.

The simplest yet more effective weapon of choice for hackers is ransomware. It is a type of malware that threatens to publicize the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless a payment is made. Ransomware is not a single program bought by hackers from a store. It is personally crafted and evolves daily to be smarter, stronger and faster. That’s why off-the-shelf solutions only work at a basic level.

In addition, being held to ransom by hackers doesn’t only have a financial cost, it has a significant impact on the organization’s services, reliability and reputation in the eyes of the public, shareholders, and employees. In short, a hacked company can go bust very quickly. CEOs and management need to continue educating themselves about the extent to which they are held responsible in such cases.

While the largest firms such as banks and utilities deploy teams of specialists to monitor and fight against cyberattacks, it is the medium and small businesses that are at most risk.

Ghoul explains “If you were a thief, you would target the less protected places because you have the highest chance of success. Hackers know that medium and small size businesses have very basic defenses. Coordinates was setup - to defend all UAE businesses – large or small - with the bespoke service that is usually only affordable and provided to the top 4% of businesses.”