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Kamal Zian, chief security officer, Huawei Gulf North, talks to Telecom Review about Huawei’s cybersecurity efforts and its readiness to provide solid support during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

What are the latest cybersecurity challenges faced by organizations and businesses in the Middle East and what kinds of investments should be made to mitigate those threats?

As organizations in the Middle East increase their adoption of the latest advanced digital technologies to support their digital transformation goals, the risks and challenges of cybersecurity will evolve. As such, we make it our mission to safeguard the digital future.

At Huawei, cybersecurity is our topmost priority, and we are considering a holistic approach. First, all our solutions are designed with cybersecurity and privacy protection right from the start.  Second, we know our customers' pain points, they expect no compromises, so do we. Hence in security, we do more. Third, we are talking about people, processes, and also platform and technologies. We consider that people should be our focus. We need to invest in our people to bring awareness about cybersecurity best practices and guidelines to have an organization that can operate in a safe and a secure manner.

Therefore, personally, and from an organizational perspective, we believe that the starting point is not the investment itself but the commitment of the leadership in regards of cybersecurity. Our senior management headed by our founder Ren Zhengfei clarified that cybersecurity is a cornerstone of our business operation. It cannot be separated from our operational excellency. Taking that into account, Huawei has invested heavily in cybersecurity, around $110 billion in terms of R&D with 5% of that investment going directly to cybersecurity, transforming people, transforming our own organization, as well as transforming our products and solutions to be safe and secure.

How is Huawei supporting Qatar's digital transformation by delivering innovative, secure and safe cloud services?

Huawei plays a key role as an ICT leader in terms of supporting government and enterprises to transform digitally and also secure their business operations.

In Qatar, we are proud to be an active player in the market in terms of providing network capabilities for cloud solutions to our customers as well as the government sector. Talking about cloud, Huawei is the fastest growing cloud provider globally. We are proud to provide our customers with over 250 services that are reliable and secure in addition to supporting the diversification of cloud platforms within the government entity. In Qatar especially, we are taking cloud as a critical infrastructure on a national level. Hence, we are taking care of diversification on this platform as the key to ensure digital sovereignty and security.

Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup this year. Can you give us an idea on the company’s plan put in place to provide secure networks and high-speed connectivity?

We are excited about the World Cup in Qatar as we have been operating in this country for around 20 years and we are really proud to reach this stage and support the government and private sector in to have a successful event.

We are committed to support government entities and our partners to build a solid foundation that can support all the innovative services and immersive experiences that we would like to deliver to our football fans. At the same time, we want to give a clear message that Huawei is also spending and investing a lot of time, efforts and resources to secure the infrastructure with optical fiber networks and 5G to avoid any issues of reliability, capacity or even cyberattacks at the event.

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