An In-Depth discussion with Botan Osman: Looking to the IBBC Spring Conference
Ahead of the IBBC Spring Conference in London on Monday 3rd April 2017, we interviewed Botan Osman, Managing Director at Restrata to get his thoughts on technology and digitisation in the region.
1. What technology infrastructure is available and how could this support modern systems and operating protocols in Iraq?
The internet continues to grow in Iraq at a fast pace, and this is helping diversify the economy, with access to connectivity and knowledge across the country increasing. This coupled with the global companies working in Iraq, bringing in new services and technology, importantly transferring know-how and technology, we should start seeing a new economy emerging, where an entrepreneurial generation embarks of building Iraq new industries, beyond oil.
Technology infrastructure & enablement is the key to this economic diversification and growth, it enables empowerment of individuals and democratization of access to government services.
However as more businesses, operations and devices come online the Cyber threat increases, with that their digital protection must be seriously considered. The Internet of Things (IOT) era is truly upon us; in 2012 the number of connected devices reached 8.7billion, surpassing the number of people in the world, it is now estimated to be at 28.4 billion devices and growing to an estimated 50 billion devices in 2020. That is a lot of IP addresses vulnerable to attack, and with every device added, the risk of attack increases. Therefore, as the technology infrastructure grows in Iraq, the cyber risk increases, and we must be mindful and act to mitigate and respond accordingly to the threat.
From a physical security perspective, we have seen developments in technologies utilized in Iraq to improve detection, specifically for wide area surveillance and intruder monitoring for long range and early intruder detection, including thermal image based technologies.
Traditionally in Iraq, the focus has been on physical security but in order to remain resilient, the cyber threat must be considered and actions taken.
2. In your opinion, what factors currently hinder the widespread use of technology in Iraq?
These are a combination of:
• Often limited internet access, a low quality connection and low band width
• A lack of technical skills and availability of required training to improve these
• Poor technical support
• Language obstacles
In the Internet World Stats Report of 2015, Iraq showed a substantial improvement in internet usage, growing from 1% (2009), 9% (2014), to 33% by the end of 2015. This could be an indicator about the improvement of ICT infrastructure, however it is still low when compared to other nations in the region, which highlights a need for further development.
3. How can modern technology help to reduce costs of operating in Iraq?
Restrata has enabled true cost savings for its clients by enabling protection across the enterprise through modern technologies and design methodologies, whether that is in the protection of a static or mobile asset.
An example of this is our tracking and fleet management technology which enables our clients to connect their vehicles, helping them drive down costs and increase productivity while making sure their drivers are safe and the fleet is compliant. The technology provides an array of information at our client’s finger tips, helping them analyse their business performance and predict trends, unlocking greater efficiency across their entire fleet, and ultimately reducing the cost of operations.
Technology also enables our clients to save costs on 24/7 monitoring of their people and assets, as they are not required to setup their own capacity, instead subscribing to our BSOC center which has a resilient back-up site in our Aberdeen Incident Management Center, serving clients in Iraq and around the world.
4. Is Restrata currently developing any technology or making advancements to their own services and solutions to specifically support those operating within the Region?
We are continually innovating in how we can make our clients more resilient, and ensure that they have the right mitigations and response in place to ensure business continuity and asset protection. Secure by design is the principal we work by, and we ensure that the security designs and solutions provide the optimum protection required, balancing technology, process and people development, with costs.
Restrata has enjoyed a strong working relationship with Iraq dating as far back as 2003, most notably, operating a BSOC (Business Solutions Operations Centre) from Basrah since 2011. The BSOC provides a range of services including liaison for International Oil Companies and private business with the Basrah Operations Command (BaOC), the seat of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) power within the province.
Due to growth in its activity, and a requirement to offer a more sophisticated solution to new and existing clients alike, Restrata is currently developing a new Portal for our BSOC subscribers, offering an improved, modern service for those who rely on our daily, weekly and monthly reports to keep up to speed on incidents and general updates on specific regions of Iraq. The Portal is a commitment from Restrata to technological advancement in the region and is set to go live in early April 2017 at www.bsocme.com