In a conversation with Small Enterprise, John Michael, the CEO of iStorage, speaks about his thoughts on GDPR, their overall experience at GISEC and the evolving threat landscape in the region

What was your key messaging at GISEC this year?
With the dawning of GDPR, one cannot emphasise enough the importance of keeping mobile data secure at all times by using portable hardware encrypted USB data storage devices, such as flash drives, hard drives and solid state drives, not just in the workplace, but throughout society at large.

Which products did you showcase at the event? What was the feedback from the visitors?
We showcased our latest innovative products, the new diskAshur range featuring the award-winning hardware encrypted diskAshur PRO² portable hard drive and the datAshur PRO USB flash drive. When visitors first see our products, they are always impressed by how many security features are packed into such compact devices. The devices are also backed by certifications such as NCSC CPA, FIPS 140-2, NLNCSA and NATO Restricted Level as well as winning industry awards such as, ‘Security Product of the Year’. Our customers are even more surprised that we are an SMB rather than a larger organisation leading the way in portable data security technology.

How has the threat landscape evolved over the years in this region?
As governments and businesses increase their dependency on digital products and services, so does the threat of cyber-attacks grow throughout the region such as the WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware attacks. These types of attacks are not the result of sophisticated targeting but are as easy to deploy as opening what seems to be a normal looking email and unwittingly triggering an infected attachment and spreading the virus throughout a network. Having a strong backup strategy such as offline backups on hardware encrypted, OS independent external hard drives such as the iStorage diskAshur DT² range will mitigate against such attacks.

Does the GDPR compliance in Europe have any impact on the way data is handled in the MEA region?
The GDPR will impact companies anywhere in the world, including the Middle East if they are offering products or services within the EU. In fact, any company no matter where they are based at, that deal with EU businesses or citizens data will have to comply with GDPR or risk being fined 20 million Euros or 4 percent of their global annual turnover whichever is higher.

How can companies keep their data safe? What are the top three things they can do to keep security threats at bay?
First, make sure your network and IT environment is secure and ensure that all data is encrypted while at rest or in transit and only use hardware-based encryption to secure all data stored on USB data storage devices. Next, educate employees on how to avoid falling into traps laid out by cyber criminals by making sure they know about current and potential threats and how to avoid them. Finally, always update your operating system with the latest patches as and when they become available and last but certainly not least, backup and backup often.

What sort of new security threats do companies need to be aware of, in 2018?
According to the National Crime Agency (NCA) a part of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), with the increase of devices connected to the internet, it is more likely that we will see cybercriminals targeting the Internet of Things (IoT) to commit crimes. In a report published in March 2018, the NCSC set out how the government will work with industry to address the challenge of insecure IoT. The report advocates a fundamental shift in approach, moving the burden away from end-users having to secure their devices, and instead ensuring strong cybersecurity is built into IoT products by design.

What sort of milestones does iStorage want to achieve this year?
For 2018-2019, iStorage continues to strive to remain the leader in hardware encrypted data storage devices, increase our sales and activities across Europe and USA, continue to introduce innovative products that people love, trust and are excited about…there are exciting times ahead indeed!

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