Michael Arov is the newly appointed Head of Cytek, a brand of YNV Group that delivers comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, providing businesses and organisations with the advisory, implementation, managed security services, and cybersecurity capability-building services they need to successfully defend themselves against cyber threats. In this interview with BusinessDay’s Frank Eleanya, he discussed more about Cytek, and the services and solutions it is providing to businesses in cybersecurity. Find the interview excerpts here:
Cytek provides services to YNV Group companies and clients around the world, can you tell us more about this and how it applies in Nigeria?
The threat landscape for CISOs, business and government leaders who are endeavouring to keep their operations safe does not remain static. Attacks are evolving fast and becoming ever more sophisticated as threat actors attempt to access assets, financial information, funds, and organizational operations. Businesses at the forefront of technological advancements, leveraging innovation to drive efficiency and deliver enhanced customer experiences, are unfortunately those likely to be at even greater risk of malicious intents.
Cytek provides YNV Group and its customers with state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions, delivered by the world’s top cyber experts. The services offered in Cytek include cybersecurity advisory and implementation services, managed security services, and cyber capability building programs, all designed to help organizations and governments enhance their cybersecurity posture and effectively combat new and existing cyber threats.
Other services include a unique blend of global security operations centers, rapid scalability, custom service design, proprietary IP and methodologies that are based on the expertise obtained by our executive team from delivering defense projects all over the world – resulting in a much more efficient way to gain the cybersecurity coverage needed in today’s constantly evolving cyber threat landscape.
When did Cytek start operations in Nigeria, and what are the USPs of Cytek?
We have been delivering cybersecurity training programs and providing technical support for cybersecurity products in Nigeria through our elev8 digital skilling and Tek Experts businesses. Bringing our Cytek cybersecurity advisory, implementation and managed security services to the market was a natural extension to our end-to-end tech lifecycle solutions to help companies source, skill, scale and secure their operations.
What makes Cytek stand out is our expertise and our 24/7 follow-the-sun operating model. Our team has an extensive track record in establishing and managing numerous national-level and highly classified cyber defense projects, including National Cybersecurity Emergency Response Teams (CERT), confidential computing platforms, secure data centres, sectorial security operations centres (SOCs) and end-to-end cyber solutions for various industries.
We also bring trusted partner relationships with the world’s leading IT technology providers, such as Microsoft. Our SOC in Lagos is built on Microsoft technology, integrating our cybersecurity expertise with Microsoft’s AI-enabled Sentinel platform. Cytek also provides on-the-ground incident response capabilities in Nigeria in the event of a local cyber emergency. Our expert team in Lagos can reach and address customer needs, whenever needed, at short notice.
Cytek has over 180 dedicated security engineers, over 50 premium support specialists, and over 14,000 security cases closed in 2022, can you tell us if some of these security cases were closed in Nigeria?
Our clients’ confidentiality is just as important as their security and we do not disclose specifics around volume by client or location.
Nigeria has been ranked 47th out of 182 countries on the Global Cybersecurity Index and 4th in Africa, tell us about the plans of Cytek to ensure that more people, businesses, and the government are safe from cyber threats?
Cytek’s Nigerian-managed cyber services will allow more local businesses to monitor, detect, and respond to cyber threats as well as comply with international regulatory requirements. Drawing on the strength of our global network of SOCs, the expertise of our local cybersecurity team, and our capability-building programs, we expect to help drive positive improvements in Nigeria’s Global Cybersecurity Index rankings in the future.
The company will be opening a Security Operations Centre powered by Microsoft, can you tell us more about this?
The Cytek SOC is operated by a team of cybersecurity experts and is based on a solid and propriety methodology. Built on Microsoft’s industry-leading, AI-enabled Sentinel platform and Microsoft Defender, Cytek can pinpoint and investigate threats at a pace that far exceeds human capability, enabling us to identify potential threats with accuracy and implement mitigation plans for our clients at superior speed.
Tell us about the benefits of the Security Operations Centre to Nigerians and businesses in Nigeria.
The Cytek SOC offers numerous benefits to Nigerians and businesses in Nigeria, particularly in the context of cybersecurity and risk management. Some of the key advantages are, through the SOC, Cytek monitors the organization’s networks, systems, and applications in real-time, allowing for early detection of security threats, such as cyberattacks, data breaches, and malware infections. Swift detection enables prompt responses, reducing the potential damage caused by cyber incidents.
Another benefit is that Cytek SOC operates round-the-clock, providing continuous monitoring and protection against cyber threats. This level of constant vigilance is especially crucial in an increasingly interconnected and digitized world. When a security incident occurs, Cytek has trained professionals who can respond promptly and efficiently to mitigate the impact of the attack. This helps in minimizing data loss, operational disruptions, and financial losses.
Cytek SOC also helps businesses adhere to industry-specific regulations and data protection laws, such as the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) or other global standards like GDPR. Compliance with these regulations not only protects customer data but also helps avoid hefty fines and legal penalties.
Other benefits are a reduction in downtime and losses by identifying and preventing cyber threats in real-time, ensuring uninterrupted business operations.
Though setting up an in-house SOC can be expensive, outsourcing SOC services to Cytek can be more cost-effective for many organizations in Nigeria. This allows even smaller businesses to access professional-grade cybersecurity protection without significant upfront investments. Cytek also demonstrates a strong commitment to cybersecurity, thereby enhancing a business’s reputation and building trust among customers and partners.
Finally, Cytek’s SOC team is equipped with advanced tools and technologies to identify and defend against sophisticated cyber threats, such as advanced persistent threats (APTs), ransomware, and zero-day exploits.
About 62% fall victim to cyberattacks due to a lack of awareness, does Cytek have provisions for training and skilling in Cyber security?
Training, awareness, and skilling are critical to embedding the right skills among employees. With tailored employee learning programs, we can rapidly improve the levels of cybersecurity knowledge across organizations, enabling employees to better recognize threats and security teams to better respond to cyber-attacks.
Additionally, we are providing cybersecurity training programs for school-age children in partnership with ministries of education and cybersecurity for governments in the Middle East and Central America.
Talk to us about the Security Operations Centre?
The SOC will be based in the Tek Experts building on Victoria Island which already provides 24/7 security and video surveillance of our common areas. The building is operated on a Siemens building management system and has redundant generators with enough diesel storage to provide generator backup time for up to 20 days.
Cytek has collaborated with Microsoft to have a Security Operations Centre, is Cytek open to more collaborations?
Absolutely. We are always open to collaborating with technology companies that offer the latest technologies and innovations to provide our clients with faster, more efficient ways to optimize their cybersecurity capabilities.
Finally, what advice do you have for policymakers and key stakeholders with respect to Innovation in cybersecurity in Nigeria?
Cytek’s leadership team has an extensive track record in establishing and managing numerous national-level and highly classified cyber defense projects, including National CERT, confidential computing platforms, secure data centers, sectoral SOCs and end-to-end cyber solutions for various industries. We are part of the cybersecurity ecosystem in Nigeria and as such will be happy to work with and offer our expertise and experience to policymakers and key stakeholders with respect to cybersecurity innovation in Nigeria. Based on the extensive experience of our leadership team, the most valuable advice we can offer is, “Learn and cooperate with others. Cyberattacks and critical cyber events are not something that generally happens in isolation of a single company. We need to work together to protect our people, businesses, and infrastructure.”