Huawei joined top government, business and academic leaders in Saudi Arabia at the Global Cybersecurity Forum held in Riyadh.
The company is advocating for uniform standards that support cybersecurity risk mitigation,
Andy Purdy, Huawei’s Chief Security Officer in the US, was in KSA to stress the importance of a co-operative 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.
That is facilitating new applications of Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented and virtual reality. Yet as these new services emerge in fields such as transportation, healthcare and banking, Huawei recognises that security demands can vary significantly across industries, and bespoke requirements are needed to support privacy and data security.
“In today’s digital era, high-level decisions about security principles must be supported by both public and private sector stakeholders. That co-operation 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 co-operation. Saudi Arabia was, for example, ranked 13th globally and first in the Arab world in the UN’s Global Cybersecurity Index in 2018.
Huawei has long committed to helping partners in Saudi Arabia to address cybersecurity challenges while building cutting-edge networks. Today the company serves over 260 local partners in the Kingdom, around 14 ministries, and employs more than 1,000 people across various offices.
Huawei has also been a partner of choice for telecom carriers in Saudi Arabia for 5G network development, helping to launch the largest 5G commercial network in the Kingdom in 2019 through a broad range of end-to-end solutions.
The company works closely with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) on talent development projects including the company’s flagship Huawei Middle East ICT Competition.
Addressing questions about Huawei’s cybersecurity credentials, Purdy emphasised that cybersecurity is a global issue for all countries, governments and companies. It is one of the reasons why Huawei has launched Joint Innovation Centres 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,” said Purdy.