Prepared for the Unexpected

As part of MEA Finance Magazine's LEADERS IN BANKING TECHNOLOGY special report, Raghu Nandakumara, Field CTO at Illumio describes his experience in financial technology which has shown him that security, far from being a hinderance, can be an enabler for business.

What excites you and keeps you motivated as a leader in banking technology? 

Nothing ever stays the same and especially in the MEA region. If this year has taught us anything it is that we must always try to be prepared for the unexpected. The dynamic nature of the banking industry mixed with the unpredictability of the world makes me feel that I want to get up every morning and make a difference. Who knows what will happen next?

Describe your journey in banking technology and how this has influenced the role you are in today? 

In my 15 years of experience in the financial services sector, I have had the opportunity to work across a number of areas of Cyber Security – from the early days in operations, through service delivery, engineering, product management, and finally audit and compliance. This variety of roles has helped me understand how technology solutions are assessed, certified, integrated and operationalised and then validated. Further, the opportunity to work closely with the business in a highly regulated industry has allowed me to appreciate how security can be an enabler for, rather than a hindrance to, productivity. My current role of Field CTO at Illumio draws heavily on all these experiences which, in hindsight, have been invaluable.

What does your company bring to the banking and financial sector that helps it advance levels of service and remain profitable? 

For banks of all sizes, Illumio provides a simple security solution to prevent malware from spreading to critical applications within the organisation.  Segmenting environments like PCI and SWIFT from other IT systems not only helps banks remain compliant but can reduce the impact of any breach. By restricting an attack to a small area Illumio can speed up the detection of a breach. Detecting and remediating a breach in a short time can dramatically cut the cost of that breach. The key to the product is how quickly and simply it can be deployed and become effective. Our technology is not only used by some of the largest banks in the world but also some of the smallest.

In the light of the past turbulent year, what are your plans for 2021? 

The last 12 months have brought about a massive change in the way people work and how companies operate. This has driven the need to increase the security and control in the computing environment that Illumio can fulfil. The demand in MEA for Zero Trust based finance solutions has created a need for simple to implement technology. To meet this demand for 2021 we need to build our position in the region. We have already created alliances with some of the top security solutions providers in the region, like Help AG, but you will see investment in many other areas during the year.