Tata Communications, a digital infrastructure provider with operations in nearly 240 countries, opened an advanced cyber-security operations centre in Dubai as part of the company's wider push in the region.
"We will be spending $50 million [Dh2.14 billion] in cyber-security globally by 2020 and our region's share will be up to 20 per cent, which I consider quite sizeable," said Radwan Moussalli, senior vice president, Middle East, Central Asia & Africa at Tata Communications.
The 12-seat Dubai centre, which was opened on Thursday, will provide cyber-security services to the GCC nations. Tata Communications has two posts in India, one in Singapore and plans to roll out another in Saudi Arabia in October.
The high incidence of cyber-attacks in the region is creating a boom in the cyber-security industry, which is worth $11.4bn and is expected to double in size by 2022, according to consultants Fircroft.
The level of protection against external cyber-attackers was assessed as extremely low for 43 per cent of companies, which may result in an increase in attacks, according to a report released by Kaspersky Lab in Moscow. About 73 per cent of perimeter breaches were achieved by penetrating vulnerable web applications, according to the survey, which evaluates data collected from Middle East enterprises.
More than 40 per cent of all industrial control system computers globally protected by Kaspersky Lab solutions were attacked by malicious software at least once during the first half of the year.
Tata Communications has invested $250m in the region, whose share is 7 per cent in the global sales revenue, in the past eight years.
The “majority of this investment is made in the Middle East, nearly 70 per cent, and it spans multiple services”, said Mr Moussalli. “There is ongoing investment in various resources including employees, offices, technology and training ... digital transformation is happening at different pace in different countries. And with more services moving to the cloud, security becomes an important element offering good scope in this region.”
Tata Communications, based in India, has its regional headquarters in Dubai, which it considers a top priority market and employs nearly 70 professionals in the emirates.
"Dubai is a perfect place from a platform perspective. When we put all business elements together, Dubai qualifies to be our top priority," said Mr Moussalli.
Tata Communications has more than 50 partners in the region and is working with telecoms operators such as Etisalat, Turkcell in Turkey, STC in Saudi Arabia, Batelco in Bahrain and SimbaNet in Kenya.
Managing cloud security and digital infrastructure is one of the main mediums of growth for the Indian company, which is growing 33 per cent year-over-year.
Its global network includes one of the largest submarine cable connectivity to more than 240 countries. A submarine cable is laid on the seabed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of water bodies. About 90 per cent of global data is transmitted by wires at the bottom of the sea.
“We have invested in setting up hubs in different countries in partnership with licensed local partners. We buy capacity from local players and connect them with customers, spread across five continents, who want to connect with this part of the world and vice versa,” said Mr Moussalli.
Beyond the Middle East, Tata Communications is focused on Africa, where it considers Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania as technology hubs.
“We have a plan to open a SOC in Kenya that will also serve Uganda and Tanzania. We are helping the communities to protect their data. Because if we don’t protect it, then the entire journey of digital transformation will slow down,” said Mr Moussalli.