IAM Transformation in the Middle East and Africa

Date: 2022-03-24
Author: Gabriela Peralta, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator

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With emerging markets and a global pandemic, many regions around the world have adopted new technologies and security systems. I interviewed two experts at our Versasec’s office in Egypt, who lead our Middle East and Africa (MEA) efforts, to share with us their perspective on the transformation around them in the identity access management sector (IAM). Here are Kamel and Roshdi sharing about Versasec in MEA.

What opportunities are you seeing in the MEA region when it comes to cybersecurity?
Many countries in the Middle East are going through digital transformation, moving away from paper processes, before the pandemic began. Egypt, for example, is implementing digital signature to serve commercial companies in replacing paper invoices. Every company would have to create a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certified digital signature from now on to issue invoices. The government has established public PKI providers and since the pandemic, they are offering services online to avoid long lines, crowds, and spreading of the COVID-19 virus. Digital transformation already brings benefits: automation of processes and the implementation of digital strategies.

It makes sense the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. Are other countries in the region also modernizing digitally?
Yes, the whole region is adapting and accelerating their security infrastructure to position themselves and deliver value to their citizens, businesses and markets. Governments such as Morocco and Tunisia, are growing in the country’s security infrastructure with credential management systems and certificate based authentication. End users are also moving things forward, looking for services online. The digital service may be a bit more costly, but at the end of the day, the user realizes they didn’t spend their whole day for a small need. They received a quality service, digitally, without any risk of being exposed to COVID. Above all, the user is also secure through PKI and digital infrastructure. From a security perspective, in addition to the legally binding digital signature, governments have been adopting Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) as a fundamental requirement for its organizations. This initiative is great as it demonstrates governments are prioritizing security as much as digital availability of services.

What about the challenges the region faces?
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) may not be as quickly adaptable as MFA. PKI is a complex solution, and for many years the region’s emerging markets have lacked the knowledge on how to set it up, and many times also the resources for implementing it. These challenges are not new when it comes to PKI in many regions worldwide, but perhaps the MEA region is facing them behind other regions. Now we are seeing business and commercial impact across an entire country adopting the use of digital identities and as a result, communities learning together about the technology. From a usability perspective, this is great news. Sometimes you have great technology, and the resources to implement it, but the users are not willing to adopt it, it can be a deciding factor against its implementation.

Which industries are we seeing take the lead when it comes to adopting IAM infrastructure?
We have some verticals that are moving at fast speeds. For example, oil and gas, government, enterprise and financial sectors. They are more aggressive and demanding when it comes to Identity Access Management. These industries carry high stakes when it comes to security breaches, but also hold resources to implement PKI. In the financial sector, for example, banks are starting to adopt online customer services, mobile browsers and applications for user access to their accounts. In Egypt, specifically, banks are providing more services digitally everyday. The innovation can create initial gaps in the existing IT infrastructure and increase risks of phishing attacks, malware, and other attacks. Financial institutions are recognizing the need for PKI now more than ever and are adopting IAM as a necessity for securing online financial transactions.

How do you see Versasec being a leader in the sector of IAM?
The mission of Versasec in the Middle East and Africa region is to educate, enable and deliver. With vSEC:CMS, our goal is to empower organizations to successfully adopt IAM.

When we talk about security levels, Versasec offers a top of the line solution. There is no other solution that will provide the same level of security. You are safe with Versasec, implementing PKI and an IAM system. When everything is digitalized, everything must be digitally secured, and that’s where Versasec comes in. The solution is for both small and large size companies and organizations, and we’re happy to be here for the region.

Conclusion
There are many variables and innovators driving the MEA region into a digital and secure transformation. Versasec has been involved worldwide walking through different stages of PKI adoption. Based on our expertise and experience, we can see the challenges as opportunities as we continue to walk with technology leaders in the Middle East and Africa region.

To learn more about certificate based authentication, our credential management system, zero trust, PKI, MFA and how Versasec can help, please reach out for a conversation by clicking here.

About Kamel & Roshdi
Thank you Kamel and Roshdi for giving us a tour of IAM and PKI adoption in the Middle East Region. Kamel Elias is a Technical Consultant in Sales at Versasec. He is based out of Cairo, Egypt with Ahmed Roshdi, Business Development Manager in Business Development at Versasec. Both lead Versasec efforts in the Middle East and Africa region with a combined 26 years of experience in the Technology industry.

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