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Faisal Al Bannai, Chief Executive Officer of DarkMatter, an international cyber security company based in the UAE, which is empowering digitisation globally
Over the last 20 years of technological innovation it has become increasingly apparent that successful start-ups have a much more disruptive impact on the status quo, developing radical new business models or actually creating ones that previously did not exist.
What lies at the heart of this deeply disruptive ability is two-fold.
The first being the fact that the very nature of modern technology today allows an instantaneous engagement with huge number of entities and people across continents.
The second is because successful start-ups are entrepreneurial; entrepreneurship being derived from the French word that means “to undertake”.
Thus successful start-ups have a sense of “undertaking” in their mission; meaning they have a purpose for being and are looking to find a solution to a set of problems, or even better, create altogether new use cases that render earlier problems irrelevant.
Cyber security is in need of an entrepreneurial approach, which is to say, a requirement for new ideas, new ways of doing things, and most fundamentally, a new attitude to what protection and resiliency really means in a digital world.
The best start-ups and entrepreneurs do not exist for existence’s sake. They are constantly in motion, driven by the “undertaking” to make things quicker, easier, better, more resilient.
They ground themselves in the techniques and industry norms of the day, but then go on to leap towards new problem solving ideas, which challenge the status quo and in some cases obliterate it.
The exponential growth in digital networking means that we have entered unchartered territory with respect to the way digital infrastructure is utilised and information transmitted. With the sheer volume of digital information being exchanged, and the importance of such data in allowing us to live our daily lives as normal, adding immunity to this environment requires an entrepreneurial flair, an “undertaking” to protect digital infrastructure end-to-end.
The birth of companies such as DarkMatter is a manifestation of entrepreneurial disruption at work. We are looking to re-calibrate and re-constitute cyber security for this modern era. And we are not alone in pushing the start-up agenda in this area.
Last month, the UK’s security agency GCHQ announced the launch of a cyber security accelerator as part of a programme to create two "world-leading" innovation centres. The accelerator will see selected start-ups receive a grant and be able to work in the building.
Creation of the accelerator is the first part of a renewed attempt by the UK government to invest in cyber security. In November 2015, then-Chancellor George Osborne said £1.9 billion (US$2.4 billion) would be made available for investing in cyber defences.
The accelerator will be the first of two innovation centres where cyber start-ups can base themselves in their crucial early months, and which can become platforms for giving those start-ups the best possible support.
As well as using the funding for developing start-ups and the UK's cyber scene, the money would also be used for launching active defence programmes against national threats.
While not exclusively focussed on cyber security, in Dubai a bold accelerator programme has also been launched with the aim to utilise technology to solve national-level challenges.
The Dubai Future Accelerators is the world's largest government-supported accelerator, launched by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Future Foundation. The programme is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and identifies ground breaking companies from around the world, offering them the opportunity to find and test new solutions to real-life challenges.
DarkMatter has been selected as one of just 30 innovators to participate in the programme, and will see the firm work on the provision of big data analytics as a tool to help solve crime. This against a backdrop that one of Dubai Police’s challenges is to be able to test integrated behavioural, genetic and biological systems for identifying, tracking and sharing information on criminals.
We welcome the rise of increased disruption in cyber security and believe it is a necessary development in bolstering defences for every nation, enterprise, and individual.