TSTT prepared in the face of changing global ICT trends

Once upon a time, hacking and cyber security were things mostly seen in movies. Today however, the threat of being hacked from both an individual and business perspective is very real, making cyber security of paramount importance to both businesses and the general public at large. And, while many people are leveraging this, the digital age, and all that technology has to offer, few consider the considerable risk they expose themselves, their customers and their company to.

CANTO’s 34th Annual General Meeting continued on Tuesday at the Hyatt with discussions on trends that Caribbean Telecommunication companies (telcos) should be paying attention to, as well as the issues of cyber security and safeguarding customer data and the reputation and integrity of their own organizations.

Representing TSTT, a founding member of CANTO and co-host of the event, Chief Technology and Information Officer at the company, Roger Richards, detailed the many trends affecting Telcos and how they needed to adapt in order to meet the changing landscape and customer needs. He looked at trends such as how the Internet of Things (IoT) applications will transform key industries, automated security intelligence in the transformation of financial services, mobile apps redefining customer/employee experiences and digital employees supplanting white collar jobs in the future, among other important trends.

“The first thing we have to do is change our view of the business. We have to move to the center of the universe being the customer and what those customers need now and in the future,” said Richards.

He went on to explain that the current trends have already resulted in a movement to and need for, services and products such as cloud driven networks, IoT enabled business services, cyber security in all organizations, mobile money and financial services and even e-health services.

 Richards explained that the possibilities are vast, and TSTT is currently laying the groundwork for that fast approaching future, in order to take advantage of any technology that can benefit it and its’ customers once it becomes available.

“We are currently in the process of rebuilding our network capabilities from scratch and these are being rebuilt around full automation for the network and this supports automated service assurance and self healing and responsive customer experience intelligence in the network,” said Richards, as he noted that the company was already realizing the benefits of some of these things.

 Meeting the needs of customers of course includes safeguarding those customers, and this was the focus of CISCO’s Alexandro Fernandez, during his presentation on Cyber Security and its’ Impact on Caribbean Telcos. Fernandez detailed the billion dollar business that hacking is and its constant evolution, which puts telcos at constant risk.

“If you do not change your thinking (on cyber security) you will always have a vulnerability posture; it’s a never ending story,” explained Fernandez as he walked those present through the many forms cyber attacks can come in. “A new wave of threats requires a new wave of cybersecurity,” he said.

Fernandez listed issues such as threats to cellular services, core threats which could compromise hosts, Access threats (RAN protocol abuse) and Device threats (Service bypass for mobile devices) to name a few.

 Security Consultant, Javed Samuel further emphasized the need for cyber security, pointing out that telcos need to consider who their attackers might be, as they can also be susceptible to threats from people who are their customers, as well as employees. Samuel noted the ways hackers can affect telcos, such as through denial of service, reducing network capacity, increasing traffic costs and disrupting service availability, among others, which directly affect the reputation and reliability of telcos.

 “Always be mindful that the threats landscape is always going to change, If I build a security network today but don’t upgrade it five years from now, I am going to be at risk,” said Javed. “There is no magic product. It is going to be a process and you will need to have security in layers to ensure you can raise the bar as high as possible.”

The AGM concluded with the election of new CANTO officers, the presentation of the CANTO’s 2017/2018 budget and reports from various committees including ‘Regulations and Emerging Technologies, Corporate Social Responsibility, presented by TSTT’s Gervon Abraham and the secretary’s report, among others.

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