Security leaders today are viewed as change mediators, culture builders, transformers, and visionaries, yet they can keep their fingers on the tactical pulse of their client’s security posture. The new information security leader comprehends that security transcends technology. Technology is the enabler of business, yet security is the overarching business operations protection program.
These proficient personalities are required to be effective and efficient in integrating people, processes, and leading-edge technologies to ensure a consistently relevant security posture for the business and the clients.
This requires business acumen and thinking critically to solve complex problems. This is where Dr. Obadare Peter Obadare, the Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) and Co-founder of Digital Encode Limited, excels as one of the proficient personalities in the niche.
He founded this company with an extraordinary vision to provide Information Technology (I.T) Assurance to small, medium, and large-scale businesses across Nigeria, West Africa, Africa, and the world at large.
In an exclusive interview with CIOLook, Dr. Obadare shared valuable facts highlighting his journey, the challenges, and the significance of his company in the niche.
Below are the excerpts from the interview
Dr. Obadare, brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Digital Encode Limited. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
As an indigenous trailblazer organisation with a global perspective, the journey was never easy; it took relentless effort to persuade companies and regulatory authorities that cybercrime, cyberattack, and cyberwar are realities they must accept as a result of the various technologies they use to improve their businesses.
There was also the need to persuade various organisations’ boards of directors and top management of the importance of establishing a cyber resilience organisation based on their People, Processes, and Technology.
Therefore, the need to protect their organisational assets in terms of Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability requires conscious awareness to expose risks alien to these companies. Although, there is no challenge that is not surmountable with the appropriate solutions in place.
We can say that organisations are not where they use to be in the past within our jurisdiction, as we have our steps in the right direction to secure Africa’s Cyber Space, especially with optimistic projections from Nigeria to the rest of the world.
Tell us something more about Digital Encode Limited and its mission and vision.
Digital Encode, founded in 2003, is a leading multi-award consulting and integration organisation that specialises in the design, management, and security of mission-critical business networks, telecommunications systems, and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures. We are recognized in the industry for our vendor-independent perspective; the firm’s expertise lies in solving multifaceted, complex enterprise network security and audit problems.
Our vision is to be Africa’s number one Information Technology Assurance Company. Also, our mission is to help individuals and businesses achieve their full potential by protecting their information assets.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the cybersecurity niche through your expertise in the market.
As a seasoned multi-award Cybersecurity influencer and GRC Technopreneur, I am arguably the “The Most Credentialled” cybersecurity professional in Africa with over Fifty (50) international professional certifications to my credit, Master of Science in Cybersecurity, Liverpool University, UK, and was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degree in Cybersecurity from Trinity International University of Ambassadors Atlanta Georgia, United States of America.
I have been able to positively impact our immediate environment in the private and public sectors. For example, our organisation’s serves over 90% of financial institutions and 80% of Telco companies in Nigeria, also currently servicing organizations in over 50 countries and serving as a technical partner to the Central Bank of Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (CBN-Neff).
In addition to the above, as a well-recognized subject matter expert with numerous successful engagements to his credit in Africa. My skills and experience span across Data Privacy, Data Protection, Cybersecurity, Information Security, Vulnerability Management, Penetration Testing, Computer Forensics, Business Continuity, IT Governance, Risk Management and Compliance.
Also, I am an official member of The Forbes Technology Council, a Senior Member of the Risk Managers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), as well as a distinguished alumnus of executive education at Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Government, MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Professional Education and Oxford University – Said Business School. All these feasibilities were avenues to promote the Cybersecurity niche further and increase our market shares by providing extraordinary value to our true-hearted customers.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives Digital Encode Limited.
At Digital Encode Limited, our value system is based on integrity and unparalleled excellence in all we do, and thus, we embrace these three core values, namely:
We are customer driven, and we understand our esteemed customer present and future needs to continually act to exceed their expectations and to be their “TRUSTED ADVISOR.” We are performance-driven: Setting aggressive performance targets to measure our success by benchmarking ourselves globally.
We value our people and their diversity: we value fairness in our dealings and recognize individual and team performance. We value an entrepreneurial and proactive approach. Also, we strongly believe in active learning and will invest in the ongoing development of our skills.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
Undoubtedly, one of the excellent happenings to any business is the evolution of Information technology over the years. In our industry, the availability and innovations of various tools span from vulnerability management, penetration testing, security audits, application security audits, network architecture review, risk assessment, digital forensic audits, information security awareness tools, GRC and privacy management solutions have been of great assistance to unravelling many cybersecurity challenges in recent times.
What change would you like to bring to the cybersecurity industry if given a chance?
From the continent of Africa to Nigeria, it is observable that financial institutions, through their regulatory bodies, created an enabling framework for cybersecurity to develop while other economic sectors lag behind.
The active cooperation of the public and commercial sectors is required to combat the threat of cyber-attacks caused by vulnerabilities in technological innovations.
If given a chance, I will strongly advocate for cybersecurity regulations that require boards of directors from diverse economic sectors to participate in strategic cybersecurity programmes that would undoubtedly produce enough or reasonable security assurance to the world of cyberspace.
What, according to you, could be the following significant change in the cybersecurity sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
Evaluating upcoming trends in technology innovation and how they affect our world today, such as Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Quantum Computing, IoTs, and so on.
I see the Internet of Everything as the new future era in which most of the technologies mentioned above will complement one another. Any slightest exploitable vulnerabilities will be disastrous to humanity. These advances will undoubtedly generate new threats landscapes, particularly massive data breaches, that we as cybersecurity experts will have to deal with.
To address these frightening circumstances, Digital Encode Limited will continue to collaborate with the public and private sectors worldwide to provide Cybersecurity returns on investment for these stakeholders by strengthening their people, processes, and technology, which are fundamental to optimize risk that will, in-turns create reasonable assurance.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Digital Encode Limited?
In the near future, I anticipate myself making an impact on the boards of organisations (both public and private) all around the world by offering cybersecurity value on a broader scale.
As an indigenous Cybersecurity and GRC professional service firm with a global vision, our future aims at Digital Encode Limited is to be the next “Cybersecurity Unicorn” this we aim to achieve by strategically extending our business footprints across Africa and the world at large by enabling organisations and their workforce to secure their assets.
I am contributing to establishing job possibilities and capacity building for individuals interested in a career in Cybersecurity and the GRC profession. Finally, continuously supporting the MDG 2030 objectives in protecting organisations’ assets, which might be lives or properties.