Regional leaders gather to discuss telecom cyber security resilience at SAMENA Leaders’ Summit 2024

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Huawei, in collaboration with the SAMENA Telecommunications Council and stc, hosted a roundtable on cyber security during the SAMENA Leaders’ Summit 2024, the annual telecom industry leadership gathering held in Dubai. Focused on the theme of “Building Telecom Cyber Resilience to Protect Business in the Digital Era”, the session was attended by leading telecom operators and regulatory bodies’ cyber security experts and decision-makers.

Led by Mazen Al Ahmadi, General Manager of Cyber Defense at stc, the panel marked the second edition of Huawei’s Global Carrier CISO Roundtable series. Distinguished guests and high-level speakers contributed insights aimed at boosting telecom cyber resilience and safeguarding the digital space.

With the world becoming increasingly digital and intelligent, deep network-cloud-intelligence convergence has become an intrinsic part of this. Driven by immersive digital experiences and ubiquitous intelligent applications, network capabilities are undergoing continuous upgrades and evolution. The roundtable spotlighted how cybersecurity and privacy protection are critical to business success in the emergent digital world.

Speakers discussed the importance of cyber resilience for innovative telecom operators, current challenges in light of accelerated technologies like 5G and 5G-Advanced (5G-A) telecom networks integrated with cloud and AI capabilities, and the remedial actions required for each. They also addressed cloud security, the strategies, models, tools, and skill sets needed to achieve resilience, and the required support from regulatory authorities.

Mazen Al Ahmadi, General Manager of Cyber Defense at stc, said, “In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, cybersecurity and privacy protection have emerged as paramount concerns for businesses across all sectors, particularly in the telecom industry. The potential for cyber threats and data breaches has grown exponentially as the world becomes increasingly interconnected and reliant on digital infrastructure. Recognising the critical importance of addressing these challenges, the roundtable was a vital platform for industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders to engage in meaningful discussions, share invaluable insights, and collaborate on strategies to fortify the telecom industry against the ever-present menace of cyber threats.”

Mohammed Alosaimi, Chief Security Officer at Huawei Saudi Arabia, reaffirmed Huawei’s commitment to reinforcing cybersecurity infrastructure, stating, “As an industry leader actively engaged in cybersecurity R&D and building a cybersecurity ecosystem in the region, Huawei remains steadfast in our collaboration  with carriers and partners to strengthen the construction of digital infrastructure around the world, build a thriving ecosystem, and unleash the potential of the digital world securely.”

The panel also discussed cyber threats, vulnerabilities, insider threats, supply chain risks, and the challenges in securing legacy signaling systems (2G & 3G) versus modern IP-based networks (4G & 5G). Additionally, the speakers shared cybersecurity use cases that support telecom business success.

The session concluded with an interactive discussion between the speakers and the audience on how collaboration between industry stakeholders can support with addressing existing and forthcoming cybersecurity challenges, improve resilience and signaling security across the telecom ecosystem, and adhere to the international standards and guidelines such as GSMA NESAS, MCKB, and OIC-CERT recommendations.

The previous edition of the Global Carrier CISO Roundtable, hosted by Huawei on February 27, saw 50 carriers and industry organisations, engage in in-depth industry discussions at MWC2024. Participants shared insights on industry standards and best practices in enhancing digital trust and safeguarding the digital world.

SAMENA Telecommunications Council’s Leaders’ Summit 2024 was held on May 13 in Dubai under the theme “Evolving toward Integration, Intelligence & Sustainability in Infrastructure”, under the patronage of UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), global collaboration with ITU, with stc and Huawei among the event’s strategic partners.

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