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Engaging the World with Technology for a Greater Future Starts with Building a Solid Cybersecurity Foundation

IBM recently held the IBM CoDE Digital Festival and Think 2021 Watch Party, a special event highlighting the key sessions from IBM Global annual event ‘Think 2021’ and live demos from experts who are part of IBM Malaysia’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CoDE).

Kicking off the Watch Party was Catherine Lian, Managing Director of IBM Malaysia, as she shares IBM’s vision of how technology can take Malaysia to greater heights.

She mentioned that the current health pandemic has massively accelerated technology adoption in Malaysia. A Forrester study showed that 46% of organisations in Malaysia are on a digital transformation journey. However, the figure is expected to increase significantly in 2021 as organisations have now started to implement and expand their digital transformation. 

In Malaysia, Catherine said IBM has become a recognised brand in the enterprise sector and has played a part in delivering solutions to businesses across the industries in the country. 

“To name a few, IBM has collaborated with the Royal Malaysian Custom Department (RMCD) to use the blockchain-enabled TradeLens platform in Malaysia to modernise the shipping processes, create greater transparency and enhance customer satisfaction. The blockchain-enabled TradeLens also aims to fulfil RMCD’s mission to facilitate legitimate trade, help combat smuggling and modernise the national logistics system in support of Malaysia’s digital economy,” she explained.

Catherine expressed that IBM is committed to Malaysia’s growth journey and that IBM’s strategy and technology solutions can help Malaysian businesses modernise existing applications and build new AI-infused data analysis capabilities on a leading open hybrid cloud platform.

Highlights from the Think 2021 were also touched on during the Watch Party where Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO of IBM Corporation, introduced the latest advancements of IBM’s Artificial Intelligence (AI), hybrid cloud and quantum computing technologies. He also highlighted how the agility of hybrid cloud and the intelligence of AI are accelerating digital transformation – enabling companies in every industry to build a stronger digital foundation and reinvent the way they do business and engage the world. To find out more, you can read our coverage article of Think 2021 here.

Securing Digital Acceleration with Zero-Trust

These days, however, no matter how much an organisation modernises and takes on new technology, they have to keep a close eye on ensuring all of their digital assets are secure from data breaches and cyber threats.

In the security design practice at IBM, it is their guiding principle to help customers balance the pressure of moving with speed by centring on the end-user experience while giving the security team the controls they need to protect the organisation. Hence the introduction of zero-trust, where it allows security teams to not only make data and applications more usable and accessible but take the responsibility out of the hands of the end-user to always know how to do the right thing.

Also present at the watch party was General Manager of IBM Security, Mary O’Brien, who spoke with Mauricio Guerra, Chief Information Security Officer, Dow Chemical Company, on the company’s adoption of a zero-trust approach to protect their business.

Dow is one of the largest material science producers globally and operates from 109 sites across 31 countries with more than 36,000 employees. Mauricio is a big proponent of zero-trust. To him, zero-trust is a critical concept that is reshaping Dow’s cybersecurity program to manage the “new environment” and protecting Dow’s information and operations in the new reality. By new environment, he means the world of the internet. He found that the concept allows what the company wants to do securely. 

According to Mauricio, applying a zero-trust approach starts with understanding the digital journey, what the business requires and defining your priority. So, Dow has been working with partners IBM Security and Zscaler that help them provide users with secure remote access to all of their locations and access to applications wherever and however they are hosted.

Not only that, but the adoption of zero-trust has also enabled the company to make good progress on conditional access and authentication. “They are critical. Now we don’t talk about perimeters or things like that, so we talk more about how to protect identities, how to ensure that our authentication processes are working,” said Mauricio.

“Working from anywhere, combined with enterprises’ move to SaaS and the cloud, has effectively rendered the perimeter security model obsolete and traditional security defences ineffective,” said Jay Chaudhry, Chairman, CEO and Founder of Zscaler. “The only way to truly secure today’s digital businesses is to adopt a zero-trust security model where validated user identity is combined with business policies for direct access to authorised applications and resources. Our alliance partnership with IBM Security, as part of the Zscaler Zero Trust Ecosystem, is helping organisations and their employees fully embrace working from anywhere while protecting enterprise data.”

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