An attendees view of QITCOM 2012
This was not planned at all, and that was the beauty of it after all. At the last minute, after visiting Dubai in a business trip, I changed plans to attend QITCOM 2012 Conference & Exhibition, March 5-7 the second edition. I arrived in Qatar and was immediately impressed by this country, the fancy airport with the smiley, friendly and welcoming Qatari people. Qatar, by all standards may be small country, but it’s a giant when it comes to global and regional issues. Globally, one important issue today is the cyber Technology and Security. Now, Qatar is moving towards knowledge base economy, and this vision comes from HH Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifha Al Thani and HH sheikha Moza Bint Nasser El Mosnad in the body of IctQATAR, the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology. QITCOM 2012, organized by IctQATAR is a real show case and evidence of how this dream is being realized, and I witnessed it.
As Cyber Security Consultant, I attended many conferences and by far this one will stay on my memory for a long time. This began when the taxi dropped me in front Qatar National Convention Center, a place where I truly lost my mind. The building is spacious, elegant and it looks like cyber buildings in the cosmos, real evidence of how this country is developing. The registration was a piece of cake, it took the young Qatari lady two minutes and it was done. I headed with a nice bag of presents plus brochures and booklet about conference details. After having a nice glass of fresh orange juice, another Qatari young man escorted me to the conference hall with wireless Audio head set for the translation. The beautiful conference hall, with dim lights added more warmth and delight and immediately felt as part of the crowd.
It was learning moment for me. Under Cyber Security, the issue of promoting safety and cyber security in the Middle East was a mind feast. IctQATAR did a wonderful job, they brought diverse group of well known international subject matter experts, Middle East practitioners and local Qatari professionals in this conference. This allowed me to gauge locally and internationally how these issues are handled and that added the tasty flavor to this conference, and made it very special. The discussions included privacy, cyber bullying, cyber crime, laws regulations, frameworks and many other sensitive issues facing the world today. The moderators, key note speakers, panelist and audience participant added dimensional sense to the problem, it’s global. Cyber now is a village, where more than 1.7 billion people regardless of race, religion or place are linked together to exchange ideas, services, business and may be friendship. The most important element of any security process today is people – users, staff, policy-makers, and other stakeholders specially our young kids. The local Qatari participant amazingly drew my attention, their professionalism, level of knowledge and their involvement through local polices and the adoption of the international frameworks and guidelines covering this sticky issue. To be fair, I loved the moderation done by Kalifa Saleh Haroon, the participation of Nora Al-Abdalla, Bana Al Khulaifi and Fareeda Al-Obaidy and others. On the international level John Carr, Robin Blake, Jackline Beauchere and others.
On the second floor, many other sessions are also being held and I have to make tough choices.
I choose to attend Cyber Resiliency, the main area of my interest of course. The subject matter experts and the distinguished panelist spoke about how to meet the ever increasing risk posed by cyber threats to governments, the private sector and citizens through integrated, collaborative and technically innovative approaches. Let’s be honest –We are humans, in our heart we already know that Cyber Security is an important issue and we got to get involved. It’s just that we really don’t want to deal with it. None of us do. It’s a little like keeping up with taking medications on time as the doctor said – we know it got to get done, but as long as we feel fine, we ignore it. This past two year's wave of high-profile, extremely sophisticated cyber attacks are a watershed moment for us in the security field. Online security has traditionally been about building the biggest, fiercest defenses possible to keep bad people out. That's not enough. Now, we have to assume you've been compromised, and invest just as heavily in detection. The panelist agreed that, proactive security is the way to go, and awareness is the sharpest weapon we have at this time to protect our assets. All these points were made clear by this session keynote speaker and participants and to mention names, I agree with Mr. Roger Cressey, from Booz Allen Hamilton with his point that we cannot secure everything; we should prioritize assets and efforts with a risk base approach. From ictQatar Mr. Khalid Al Hashimi, Mr. Malike Bouaoud, Dr. Ashraf Ismail, and Mr. Omar Baig made valuable contributions highlighting the important role ictQatar is playing.
On the last day of the conference, I got to see and hear Dr. Michio Kaku an internationally recognized figure in physics, who is trying to complete Einstein`s dream of a "theory of everything," . This smart scientist made the audience glued in their seats as he explains in plain English, how the next digital revolution will look like. Just an example, the smart toilet seats will detect cancer 10 years earlier-He added Steve Jobs should not die from cancer if this is here today.
Qicom 2012 covered everything industry wide: Next Gen Broadband, Internet TV, Broadcasting & IPTV, Social TV, e-Accessibility, Cloud Computing Trends, National Digitization, Internet Gaming & Social Media, Smarter Homes & Cities, Digitization , Cyber security and the Gaming industry. On the exhibition section over 200 leading global companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco and local companies Qtel, Vodafone, and Meza all showcased their products, services and projects. Salute and congratulation to IctQATAR, with around 15,000 visitors 2500 delegates this is real success and top world-class conference and exhibition. With this vision, I would say Qatar is on the right direction as its moving towards the digitalization of its infrastructure with best tools and knowledge. As Dr. Michio Kaku predicted that tomorrow’s economy is knowledge base not a commodity and only those nations who go this direction will survive the coming global economic recessions.
Ibrahim Abdalla Musa,
Cyber Security Consultant,
CISSP, CISA , CEH
Follow us on our social media channels: