IT Life: Keeping Up With The Cybercriminals

Protecting data is a company’s toughest task, says Lior Arbel of Performanta

Lior Arbel is the chief technical officer for Performanta Ltd, a specialist information security firm, securing enterprise clients.  He has worked in the IT security industry for 18 years – despite starting out with a yen to fly fighter planes.

What has been your favourite project so far?
It’s hard to choose since I have been involved in so many projects during my career. Purely from a professional point of view, my favourite projects are when the client is happy and appreciates the value of the hard work you put into a project – that always provides me with great satisfaction.

Keeping up with the threats

FirewallWhat tech were you involved with ten years ago?
Mainly firewalls, IDS and content filtering.

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?
I expect to be using more data protection and identification tools. With the enormous amount of data already being produced (and no signs of it decreasing), keeping intellectual property (IP) and confidential information safe is going to continue to be a business critical part of a modern company’s IT infrastructure.

Who’s your tech hero?
Rather than single out one person, I’d like to champion all of the entrepreneurs that have created new technology which has positively affected our everyday lives.

Who’s your tech villain?
Cybercriminals – I appreciate the irony that they provide everyone in the security industry with a job, but I would prefer if they didn’t exist. Cybercriminals may not break into your home or car like ‘traditional’ criminals, but they are no less callous or intrusive in invading your personal property.

What’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?
Smartphones – there is hardly a task I cannot do on a smartphone now and I use mine every single day for work. I just wish that the battery life would be more efficient, I am forever walking round with additional batteries and chargers just to get through the working day.

What is your budget outlook going forward? Flat? Growing?
Our budget forecast in the UK is growing. Having already achieved significant growth in recent years in terms of increasing our staff and client portfolio in Africa, we have seen increased customer demand and a market for new opportunities in the UK. There is a massive gap and need in the UK market for how information security is managed. We are already successfully working with enterprise customers in the UK with their information security deployments and naturally as the business grows so will the budget

Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?
IBM – in the face of stiff competition, it’s had the vision, drive and innovation to remain a technology colossus, maintaining the number one spot for many, many years – I think that is something to be admired and celebrated

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?
Data security. The truth is that intellectual property (IP) and other business critical data is no longer safe and businesses are losing their competitive edge as a result. CIOs have never been under more pressure to keep their companies’ business critical IP safe. Despite modern firewalls, and what was believed to be adequate protection, the stories of corporate espionage, state sponsored cybercrime and data loss are mounting. The important question of how we monitor, manage and control outgoing as well as incoming data has never been more relevant.

Israeli F-15 fighter planesTo Cloud or not to Cloud?
Cloud is the future but only if it is properly secured and managed with encryption (when you own the keys/part of them) to protect your data from potential threats (and governments…).

What did you want to be when you were a child?
From a young age I wanted to be a fighter pilot. That was a dream for a long time. When I served my national service in the Israeli Army I actually worked as an air traffic controller but that was the closest I got, I think I was always destined to work in IT – my careers advice centre even suggested I work in IT as far back as 1993!

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