Governance & Risk Management , IT Risk Management , Privacy

How This CISO Handles Security in Multiple Business Sectors

Axiata Group's Abid Adam on Juggling Security Requirements in Three Industries
How This CISO Handles Security in Multiple Business Sectors
Abid Adam, group CISO and group head of privacy, Axiata Group

What challenges does a CISO face when dealing with issues facing several industries? Abid Adam, group CISO and group head of privacy at Axiata Group, a conglomerate based in Malaysia, faces technology adoption issues as he oversees security and privacy practices for Axiata's three arms - telecommunications, payment wallets and infrastructure.

"If you look at digital businesses, they are more cloud ready, and adoption of cloud services is a lot quicker ... than for your traditional businesses," he says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. "So you have almost a hybrid dichotomy where there are two separate businesses but it is the same organization - one very cloud-forward and the other less cloud progressive."

In addressing the diverse needs of three business units, Adam says, he must address a key question: "How do you make sure that you have the right balance and ensure your cloud-ready businesses get the same time that you are allocating to the business that is still slowly moving toward the cloud journey?"

And while one business unit might follow the traditional waterfall model, another might take a DevOps approach, he notes. So the approach to organizing teams needs to be different, he adds.

In this interview (see audio link below image), Adam also discusses how he:

  • Balances security and privacy;
  • Adopts best practices in different sectors;
  • Manages regulatory compliance issues specific to each sector.

Adam is the Axiata Group's CISO and head of privacy, responsible for providing strategic direction, implementation, oversight and guidance for cybersecurity and privacy across the Southeast Asia region. Previously, Adam led the cybersecurity function and implemented transformational programs for a large multinational financial services organization.

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