Recently, the Avecto team travelled to the Middle East for a four-country roadshow, hopping from KSA to UAE, Jordan and finally Lebanon. We travelled with the esteemed Microsoft MVP, Sami Laiho and our partners in the region Crestan, in a bid to spread the message of the importance of back to basics security and for Sami to showcase the simplicity of breaking Windows without the right security foundations in place.

The Middle Eastern market is showing great potential for endpoint security vendors right now, and Avecto with Crestan have established ourselves as a key player. Keen to build on this success, the roadshow enabled us to reach a wider, strategically-cyber-focussed audience with attendees from a wide range of industries.

Sami was definitely a significant selling point for many attendees, and true to form he was very well received at each stop on the way. Sami has a unique way of engaging audiences, it’s the com­­bination of Microsoft name dropping, Finnish humour and technical prowess that makes him a great public speaker. His message and demonstrations were very clear – back to basics security works and you should start with the removal of user privileges. “If it’s this easy to abuse privileges in Windows, then why do many organisations write off this risk?”, he asked.

Attendees listen to Sami Laiho in Saudi Arabia

Sami went on to look at not only Windows privilege abuse but the critical requirement for application control and isolation of external content. These points particularly resonated with audiences, as it’s still a huge problem and concern for the majority of organisations. I spoke to many attendees who have tried to implement such controls and failed as the end user experience ultimately suffered. Security doesn’t work if it brings the business to a standstill. Aside from this, this part of the presentation brought a simple and smart approach to a potentially very complex problem.

The most positive takeaway for me from the whole trip was the genuine interest in finding a solution to the issues Sami highlighted. Although the challenges are not necessarily new or ground-breaking, many were still looking for a vendor that could address these issues. Like any good and bad cop routine, Sami played the bad guy hacker, Avecto closed the doors he would need to exploit and it took very little time to show this in practice. It’s that lightbulb moment, that realisation and understanding from clients that we thrive on, showing them not only something new but also something they can get excited about. Something that provides an achievable solution to legacy issues that have typically been problematic to resolve. Add privileges to applications not users? Done. Whitelist the build in four rules? Done. Provide isolation without virtual machine or hypervisors? Yep got that too. Simple. Smart.

The Avecto and Crestan team

Thank you to everyone who attended, and big thanks to Crestan for hosting us in the region.

We are already planning a follow up road show in the region in 2017, and perhaps in the Nordics too. ­#AvectoOnTour