Dependable Security as a Service

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Interview with Mirza Asrar Baig, CEO and Founder of CTM360

CTM360 has a vision for the future—that the dynamics of managing enterprise security will rapidly evolve. We talked to Mirza Asrar Baig, CEO and founder of CTM360 and asked how this would impact how security is implemented within organizations.

Baig led us through a short history of the GCC market — how the whole economy of the region is driving towards diversification across industries. “There is a whole “Let’s Build” mentality; things have changed so much in recent years. That’s why at the moment, there’s so much potential for startups. We used to be just consumers and now things are happening—it’s a virgin land. Additionally, if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you can seize opportunities and strive to create value.” Such a drive has resulted in CTM360, a cyber security startup that is based in Bahrain and holds global aspirations.

As Baig notes, CTM360 offers subscription-based cybersecurity from the cloud, an offering which detects and mitigates security threats in a comprehensive manner using a variety of sophisticated methods and resources.

CTM360 has channeled years of experience and R&D into developing its suite of services specifically in the cyber security field; the company has built fully integrated service modules, capably backed by a 24 x 7 x 365 cyber analyst team.

CTM360 has established a Cyber Threat Management Community platform that leverages the 3C’s of communication, collaboration, and coordination. The company strives to deliver clear and measurable value for all their partners, including customers, regulators, vendors, and employees. Baig said that CTM360 was formed from the same strategy of “3 Cs” – “As a provider of “Dependable Security as a Service,” we are always eager to promote greater interaction and facilitate dialogue within our industry. Our goal is to elevate the region into a global benchmark for cybersecurity excellence”.

Collective Action

Baig believes that diversity and collective action create better policies and effective action plans.

This is not the first time that Baig has created a security startup. He recalls back in 1998, when the internet was new to the Arab world, and the Love Bug virus had wiped out all the hard drives. Before that, he was an active proponent of anti-virus, but was not taken seriously at the time. After the incident, everyone was trying to set up their systems with anti-virus. He was both in a good and bad position; good—because he was selling security solutions quickly, bad—because some people thought it was him who unleashed the virus!

Our goal is to elevate the region into a global benchmark for cybersecurity excellence.

This was, he says the start of the journey for security. In this region, when big things happen, people react but are not really preventative in terms of managing their security issues. But, he says, slowly the environment is maturing. Already in the financial sector a lot of banks are hooked up to cyber security. But CTM360 goes beyond ordinary cyber security and offers an ability to preempt an attack before it impacts an organization. When asked about it, Baig says “When we see threats on the internet, we don’t wait for them to materialize into an attack. We immediately look to contain any threat”. He adds that the price point of their business is a major advantage as they have a price ceiling and manage threats—be it on mobile apps, or in data—collectively, without frequent price changes or revisions. This is mainly driven by a desire to deliver true value to the end-user.

Research and Development

Baig added that he would like to develop a R&D company and be an incubator for new startups.

One of the main problems that Baig faces is that people are not really aware of what cybersecurity is. Sometimes people confuse cybersecurity with IT Security or Information Security, which are quite different. Baig used a simple metaphor to illustrate the difference. He says that IT security, much like the police, needs to allow end users (e.g. employees) specific scope to work within the confines of rules and regulations. In turn, Information Security teams have a different objective, i.e. to protect information assets, much like how the military acts to protect the perimeter from information or data losses; in contrast to these two functions and an independent role, the Cyber Security function operates outside the firewall and looks to identify and neutralize all threats – similar to how an intelligence agency acts.

In terms of prevention, CTM360 advocates a logical framework: know your own assets in cyberspace. For this purpose, the company offers a Digital Risk Management framework that includes cyber footprint of all assets through a cyber asset register, domain registration audit system and real-time vulnerability assessments. Simply put, CTM360 captures large volumes of data about any organization in an automated manner, then categorizes and audits in real-time. Known as the whitelist, this information ensures that CTM360 effectively counters all emerging threats, known as the blacklist. Overall, CTM360 takes on the same view as any attacker, with no installations or access to infrastructure required.

Corporate Credentials in Hacked Accounts Database

What is BreachDB? Baig recently unveiled BreachDB at GITEX 2017 and proudly claims that this database has collected 4.5 billion hacked records from the internet. Requiring large resources to operate, BreachDB is CTM360’s attempt to highlight how even the smartest and most secure  organizations may be exposed in hacking campaigns globally. After all, humans remain the weakest link in the security chain and ultimately may be the root cause of a security lapse, through negligence, incompetence or lapses in judgment. With increased levels of social engineering in targeted attacks, it is necessary for an organization to build staff vigilance. Tracking hacked or leaked credentials is a good starting point.

Leveraging from its position of strength and experienced at tackling a range of cyber threats, CTM360 seeks to become the cyber security department of any organization, irrespective of industry or geography. Following regional success, the company is now focused on its global expansion plans.

  • For more information: CTM360
  • Tel: +973 77360 360
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