Dragos CEO on Why a Reliable Partner is Must in Security Journeys

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Global industrial control systems (ICS) and OT security solutions company Dragos has unveiled its new office in Dubai amid its debut participation at the global cybersecurity show GISEC 2022.

Located in Dubai Internet City, the cybersecurity company’s UAE office is its second in the region, following the launch of its Middle East headquarters at the Saudi Information Technology Company (SITE) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia a few years ago. The company had announced UAE expansions plans in late 2021.

Speaking to CXO Insight ME at GISEC, Robert M. Lee, CEO, Dragos, says, “We are showcasing our extensive offerings at the show and letting attendees know that we now have an office in the country. We have had employees here for a while and have been doing business in the GCC for a long time. Now opening an office in Dubai is exciting for us and our customers alike.”

After the US, where the company is based, Lee emphasises that the Middle East is the second most important region for the company and reveals that the region is the first market they expanded to.

Dragos UAE office
Dragos UAE office

“Normally, companies target larger GDP markets. However, it was all about the organisational mission for us,” he adds. “As a company our strengths lie in helping customers make their infrastructures safer. The Middle East, more than other markets, understands the importance of safe infrastructure and recognises that there are regional adversaries trying to cause havoc. We found there was a strong alignment in what we were offering and in what the regional market was seeking, so we came here first.”

Specialising in ICS security, Dragos focuses on deploying innovative technology into OT networks to enable IT heads to have better visibility into their environments, threats and provide greater insights on how to respond to incidents.

According to Lee, many customers keep searching for a silver bullet to solve all their security issues. In fact, the region tends to focus on buzz words rather than looking at practical use cases for some of the advanced technologies such as AI, blockchain, machine learning, and so on.

“This is a challenge. Instead, companies must see how they can drive these technologies forward on an everyday basis and focus on achieving business outcomes and solving problems efficiently.”

One of the challenges that the region is grappling with today is the fact that OT networks are often viewed in silos or separate segments.  “It is critical to see that these infrastructures such as firewalls or data are linked, whether it’s to our equipment manufacturers or integrators or maintenance providers or cloud resources, it is all connected. Therefore, it is important to move past just prevention strategies to deploying solutions that help detect and offer visibility inside the networks,” Lee explains.

He also encourages customers to have a cohesive strategy and define the direction they want to go in alignment with the whole business. “You don’t want to have conflicts between IT and OT or between plant and HQ. There needs to be consensus on the issues you want to solve as a company. Once there is a clear objective, everything else falls in place. Otherwise, everyone is focused on a different part of a problem, which slows reaching an outcome.”

So why should organisations choose Dragos when the region is spoilt for options in the cybersecurity space?

Lee says, “Every vendor sitting here would argue why their technology is better than somebody else’s. I too could argue all the technology differentiations Dragos has, but the real answer is we have the expertise and a highly skilled team. We’re the only ones on ICS security that has those teams.”

According to the CEO, the company has built the largest and most experienced team of OT risk analysts, threat researchers, and incident responders, and leverages their expertise into scalable technology that delivers the most effective protection against industrial threats.

“And no matter what technology you pick, you’re going to need a reliable partner to go down this journey with, especially as it’s a multi-year long journey. So, customers are better off partnering for people more than anything else,” Lee concludes.

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