An Interview with Dr. R. Seetharaman, Group Chief Executive Officer, Doha Bank, Qatar – CyberX Qatar Summit

Dr. R. Seetharaman will join Ibento Global’s CYBERX Qatar Summit, which is taking place on 7-8 June’2021. We took the opportunity to interview Dr. R. Seetharaman and ask him some questions about his upcoming Keynote talk, sharing CEO’s perspective on - The Making of Cybersecurity Culture. Here are some of his thoughts:

What initiatives/projects are on the horizon for your team in 2021?

  • Doha Bank is committed to fostering a stable and efficient cyber environment for its employees, customers and all the stakeholders by implementing various digital initiatives to make customer comfortable, ease of convivence and x-generation ready.
  • By establishing proper Policy and procedures we avoid maximum of cyber-attacks. Establish Strong Information Security policy and Procedures. Adequate number of skilled security analysts for proactive monitoring of threats and remedial actions.
  • Implementation of technology-based solutions with enhanced security. Awareness on Phishing & Social engineering attacks to employees.
  • We recently launched Digital wallet which itself unique in Qatar market and has various payments features and we are enhancing it to have multiple other services at the fingertips of the customer. 
  • At the same time these channels, digital platforms need to be equipped with robust Cybersecurity aspects such as threat intelligence gathering, timely threat identification and monitoring, ensuring Brand reputation is maintained, bringing up awareness among the employees and the customers are for success.

One Question the CEO should ask the CISO?

  • Is the private information of all the customer/ staff and stakeholders being safe? How as Cyber Security head will help me in enhancing my business?

How can CEOs tackle the challenge of cybersecurity in the age of the digitalization?

  • Cyber security risks is one of the strategic risks for any organization. Cyber-security should be part of strategic technology discussions at the board level. Cyber risks are now regarded as a leading threat to the global financial system by policymakers. GCC countries see sharp spike in financial walmare in 1st Half of 2020.A total of 5,544,299 malware attacks were recorded in GCC in 2019. Qatar endured 439,638 attacks.
  • There is increased exposure to cyber risks from digital transformation. More and more disruptive advanced technologies are changing the paradigm of banking. At the same time, the cyber threats are increasing rapidly. Increased web-based banking channels and interfaces to provide convenient services to customers, the more cyber threats, and challenges. Cyber-attacks are capable of deteriorating institutions performance and economies’ growth. Financial, legal and brand are impacted due to cyber-attacks. Measures are being taken to address cyber security in the light of digital transformation. Hence cyber security is the backbone of digitisation.
  • Qatar Central Bank has brought IT Security Strategy and Technology Risk circulars, which will provide directions for the Banks to build their Strategy while adopting advanced technologies. It also took the initiative for formation of Banking CIRT (Critical incident response team), which will Act as Platform for Sharing of Security Incidents and enable quick response for its members. The State of Qatar has brought cyber-crime prevention laws, National information Assurance Policy V 2.0, data privacy laws, monitoring bank websites and alert on probable cyber-attacks in the country. It has conducted cyber security assessment and business viability of banks in Qatar. Qatar Central Bank have established the Information Security Committee and mandated all the bank’s that operates in Qatar to be a member of it. The Ministry of Information & Communications Technology, ictQATAR, and its arm Qatar Cyber Security Emergency Response Team, QCERT, have played a major role in supporting all the Bank’s in Qatar, including Doha Bank. The Ministry of Interior, MOI, have provided great support in fighting Cyber Security criminals, through its Cyber Crimes Investigation Center. As innovation, emerging technologies and cyber-security become increasingly important in a digital world, boards of directors are expected to have a broad IT perspective in their oversight role.
  • The key to addressing Cyber risks and threats is - Integrating cybersecurity into every phase of digital transformation process. This can be achieved by: Implementing an effective governance structure with multiple lines of control. Establishing management committees enable effective management and oversight of cyber security risks and risk-based decision-making. Assessing cyber security risks to (Confidentiality, Integrity, Accuracy) CIA from the inception of the projects, including those risks from third parties; and ensuring that access to right cyber security skill at the right time. Compliance with QCB on cybersecurity matters.

What do you hope attendees will take aware from your session?

  • I will be focusing on the strategic objectives that every organization should work on to provide the foundation for protecting against, preparing for, detecting, responding to, and recovering from cyber incidents and attacks.

Objective 1: Establish a robust governance and risk management process.

Objective 2: Safeguard the Bank’s critical information assets (CIA) and comply Data privacy requirements.

Objective 3: Strengthen systems and increase surveillance /security monitoring to identify a cyber security event.

Objective 4: Enhance measures to limit the impact of and quick recover from cyber security incident.

Objective 5: Foster a culture of cyber security that promotes safe and appropriate use of cyberspace across the stake holders.

Objective 6: Contribute towards Strengthening financial Sector resilience at national / regional / global level.

What are you most looking forward to at CyberX Qatar 2021? 

  • This is the platform wherein our community / stakeholders learn what’s happening in the industry, experiences of leaders and their strategies on effective handling of cyber risk while ensuring Business growth.
  • I also take the opportunity to learn from the well-known speakers and also build Doha Bank’s knowledge sharing brand in the cybersecurity segment.

Register for #cyberxqatar and watch Dr. R. Seetharaman live, sharing his vision and success stories. We have created this virtual summit to satisfy the industry's need to share cutting-edge research, learn from your peers and engage in quality networking within a niche and highly selective audience to forge valuable collaborations. Enjoy a stellar line-up of speakers guaranteed to make you feel inspired and informed.

For more information, please contact Noora Ali at noora.ali@cyberxqatar.com.

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  • Thank you for sharing this interview Kanupriya! Looking forward to the next CyberX Qatar Summit soon!

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