Cybersecurity confidence key to Saudi economic acceleration

Cybersecurity confidence key to Saudi economic acceleration
Andy Purdy, Huawei’s chief security officer.
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Updated 15 February 2020

Cybersecurity confidence key to Saudi economic acceleration

Cybersecurity confidence key to Saudi economic acceleration

Advocating for uniform standards that support cybersecurity risk mitigation, Huawei joined top government, business, and academic leaders in Saudi Arabia last week at the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh.

Andy Purdy, Huawei’s chief security officer in the US, was in the Kingdom to stress the importance of a cooperative approach to cybersecurity risk mitigation in which governments, telecom service providers, and technology vendors collaborate on industry guidelines — those that protect consumers and which also harness the economic potential of digital transformation.

According to Huawei, the topic is particularly timely as the roll-out of 5G services continues in the Kingdom. Industries are already starting to benefit from the incredible leaps in bandwidth and network speeds provided by 5G.

“In today’s digital era, high-level decisions about security principles must be supported by both public and private sector stakeholders. That cooperation is the only way to extend identity and location-data privacy, to strengthen identity management of connected devices, and to align user authentication standards within a smart city environment,” said Purdy. “The challenge is that there are simply more stakeholders involved in these decisions than ever before. But it is a challenge the world can overcome.” 

Purdy also acknowledged the efforts of government bodies in Saudi Arabia to improve their cybersecurity capabilities and seek international cooperation. Saudi Arabia was, for example, ranked 13th globally and first in the Arab world in the UN’s Global Cybersecurity Index in 2018.

Addressing questions about Huawei’s own cybersecurity credentials, Purdy emphasized that cybersecurity is a global issue for all countries, governments, and companies.

It is one of the reasons why Huawei has launched many Joint Innovation Centers in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East, working with telecom operators, ministries, and enterprise partners to build secure solutions that promote digital transformation.

“We firmly believe that any future security principles should be based on verifiable facts and an objective approach. Today’s cybersecurity issues are largely technical ones at their core, and need to be addressed through technical means,” he added.