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Aiman Mazahreh, STS: “everyone should be trained on cybersecurity skills and have cybersecurity digital literacy”

In today’s digital world, all organizations are at risk of cyberattacks. However, smaller businesses tend to be vitally more vulnerable as they lack the security infrastructure of bigger companies.

Often the mistake is relying on one or a few consumer-grade software like VPNs or antiviruses when there are companies like STS Arabia, that can affordably and qualitatively provide not only multiple services but also ensure innovative cybersecurity solutions and offerings.

Today, Aiman Mazahreh, the Co-Founder and CEO of STS Group, shares how their product helps businesses achieve digital transformations and fill cybersecurity gaps in the rising tide of cyberattacks.

How did STS come about? What has your journey been like?

It all started in 1989, it was such an exciting yet challenging journey. Toward the end of the 80s and while working at a local IT company in Amman, Me, and my partners (STS Co-cofounders) noticed a gap in the IT service market. Coupled with our personal ambition to build a business of our own, we figured we establish a hardware computer service company to fill this gap.

In Jan 1989 we left our well-established, well-paid jobs and launched a start-up under the name of STS. STS stands for Specialized Technical Services. At that time, we operated from a very small office in west Amman with small capital investment. Luck was not on our side at the beginning. As we registered STS, we were hit by a sudden devaluation of the local currency (Dinar), then in the early 90s, the world witnessed the Gulf war.

That war had a devastating impact everywhere in the region, including ours. From that day on, it was not an easy journey to build the business and grow it, and in many instances, we questioned our move. However, envisioning the future with determination, perseverance, and professionalism, 33 years later we are proud to have become the leading ICT and Digital Transformation Solutions company in Jordan and the MENA region.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? What are the main challenges you help navigate?

At STS we are specialized in providing ICT infrastructure solutions and services, digital transformation solutions, cloud services, and solutions, in addition to high-end cyber security services and solutions. Our solutions have been adopted in various verticals such as telecommunications, banking, insurance, government, and many other industries.

We aim to help companies and organizations keep up with the requirements and demands of digital transformation, as we are driven by a commitment to delivering a peerless digital transformation journey to our clients, whether they are to start from ground zero, or if they are in need for a digital upgrade to keep up with the pace.

The main challenge is that many companies are looking toward real digital transformation, but they do not know where and how to start. So, we advise and take the clients through a step-by-step professional application of solutions to achieve the desired outcomes.

We do also navigate the challenges that revolve around data security, so we invested heavily in providing innovative cyber security solutions and offerings that are backed up by an advanced security operations center (STS SOC). We also provide the latest digital infrastructure solutions, managed and multi-cloud solutions, various managed services, plus support and maintenance.

In your opinion, what IT and cybersecurity details are often overlooked by new businesses?

Any new business by default will be looking at mainly revenue generation and paving the path for its brand to be known. And often, they underestimate the threat of security breaches and prefer to allocate funds to other requirements.

It is vital to raise awareness of how vulnerable new businesses and small businesses are to cyber-attacks, as they are attractive targets because they have information that cybercriminals want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses.

We always advise start-ups to assess and identify where their business might be vulnerable, train their employees on spotting phishing emails for example and protect sensitive data. They should also consider a safe and secure backup for their data, work with validated vendors for their payment transactions and apply access controls.

In a nutshell, there are no half measures in cybersecurity, and businesses of all sizes should always be ready and prepared for any possible penetration or attack.

What is it like providing IT services in light of current global events? Are there any new challenges you have to adapt to?

Since this industry is fast paced; we always work on constantly keeping up with the changes in the industry to be able to answer our client’s requirements. For example, when the pandemic struck and the shift to remote working was the only option, we were able to provide an iconic digital workplace solution that kept our and our client’s businesses running as usual, and we used it at STS as well.

Now we see that the world is moving toward automation, it is challenging yet is the way to move forward to stay at par. Our efforts revolve around digitization and automation while providing unique multi-cloud and cybersecurity solutions to help businesses maintain and expedite growth in the face of any challenge that might emerge.

In your opinion, what kind of cyber threats are we going to see more of in the next few years?

Cyberthreats are growing stronger and smarter by the day, the more the technology advances, the more cyber threats will invade your digital realm be it IoT, Business Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence AI, or others. With the complexity of these innovations, it is not an easy task to identify possible attacks.

Cyberthreats will keep on tormenting businesses, ransomware attacks have become mainstream and are becoming automated, and the spread of ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is trending where cyber-criminal groups create and market ransomware to users.

In addition to Polymorphic malware that acts like the coronavirus we know, a number of malware variants now contain polymorphic characteristics, which means they continuously change their features to hide from many detection techniques.

There are also data breaches and Cybercrime-as-a-service (CaaS) which puts the accumulated knowledge and tools of a number of hackers and cybercriminals at the fingertips of an individual attacker.

There is more to see in this ever-changing digital world, but we must always stay ahead and be ready to stand against these threats, as a single vulnerability is all that an attacker needs.

What security measures do you think not only organizations, but also casual Internet users should implement to tackle these new threats?

It’s hard to predict what the future will hold, especially in an industry as complex and fast-paced as cyber security. But by taking the time now to build your baseline as an organization or as an individual, you can set yourself and or your business up and ready for any attack, whatever it may be.

Everyone should be trained in cybersecurity and have digital literacy, as an individual you need to be able to know how to identify a spam email, for example, browse secure sites, and always be on alert that you are always vulnerable and exposed if you do not take your precautionary measures.

As for organizations, I always stress the importance of having a solid infrastructure to build on, this includes the adaptation of secure data centres, cloud computing, and investing in your security, as this is your only way to salvage your sensitive data if any unforeseen attack happens.

What would you consider to be the most difficult challenges that companies face on their digital transformation journey?

I can summarize the challenges in a few main points.

First of all, when opting for digital transformation many companies do not know where to start, my advice is always to choose the right partner, seek professional consultation, and have an assessment to see if you can start your journey on solid grounds.

The next points are building an infrastructure, investing in cybersecurity, and always looking for innovative solutions to digitize your work processes so your decisions are data-driven.

The third challenge is the culture and mindset of the organization. Humans are creatures of habit. It takes a great effort to make employees leave their comfort zone to adapt to and accept change. It takes a lot of training, coaching, and mentoring.

Digital transformation has no destination, it is a non-ending journey that requires constant employment of technology with agility to always improve and keep up.

Yet if I would identify the most important challenge, it would be cybersecurity.

What are your thoughts on IT systems specifically tailored to one’s business? Is it something each organization should invest in or is it only relevant for large enterprises?

Since economic diversity can lead to innovative solutions, I believe that businesses of all sizes should always look after tailor-making their IT systems according to their requirements, as most businesses have a niche offering that differentiates them from others in the same field.

There are many use cases on international and regional levels that we can inspire. Businesses can opt for tailor-made systems that are a match for the industry they operate in. For example, at STS we offer an automated internal audit solution that can either be adopted by an auditing company or installed in any company for its audit department.

Adding to that, we have a CRM solution that is made to work for three industries at the moment: the pharma industry, insurance, and microfinance. It aims to automate the sales force tasks, generate advanced reports, and many more. We have also created a digital workplace solution that answers to the rising needs of the community. With this being said, there is no one size fits all solution, agility and creativity are required to make any business of any size succeed and be different.

And finally, what’s next for STS?

At STS we are always working towards providing the latest solutions in the ICT and digital transformation industry, we have expanded our offerings to embrace digital infrastructure containing advanced multi-cloud solutions and managed services such as XaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, cyber security offerings that are backed up with an advanced security operations center (STS SOC), training and licensing and digital experience.

Additionally, we provide data center services including hosting and colocation and hardware, system and business software, and services management.

We will continue working on elevating the digital experience throughout our offerings ranging from digital customer experience to digital workplace solutions, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and business intelligence BI services.

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