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Arun K Singh

Arun K Singh: Guiding Ilantus Services and Network Intelligence in Alignment with Evolving Cybersecurity Landscape

As one of the top transformational global business leaders, Arun K Singh is the Global CEO of Ilantus Services. He’s leading the charge in driving accelerated growth through innovation and market alignment. Drawing upon his experiences with large organizations and startups, he is steering Ilantus through transformative cycles to ensure its trajectory aligns with the evolving cybersecurity landscape. Ilantus Services was acquired last year by Network Intelligence, a digital security company. Arun also serves as the CEO of Network Intelligence for the Americas region.

Ilantus, combined with Network Intelligence, offers clients end-to-end cybersecurity capabilities. Arun said, “We have built productized service offerings supported with unique solution accelerators to ensure predictive outcomes. Our dedicated service quality audit division works with each client engagement independently and presents unbiased reports to the senior management.”

Our unique delivery approach includes building a robust foundation with key critical systems in the cloud or on-premise. Once the foundation is tested for high availability and peak load, we bring in our “Factory Model” to enable security control for the rest of the environment. This enables sustainability and helps us to scale up the rapid deployment of cybersecurity controls,” he added as he spoke in an exclusive interview with CioWorld India. The rest of that discussion is given herein.

As a visionary leader, could you take us back to the beginning of your journey? What motivated you to step into this dynamic ecosystem?

My journey into the dynamic cybersecurity ecosystem began with a passion for cryptography and security research. After completing my post-graduation at the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, I started a career at Infosys Technologies. It was a pivotal time as regulatory frameworks like HIPAA, PCI, and Sarbanes Oxley were gaining traction, prompting me to delve into creating innovative security solutions, particularly for the healthcare sector.

Recognizing the burgeoning demand for cybersecurity services, Wipro Technologies offered me the opportunity to spearhead its Enterprise Security Services practice. Over a decade, I led a team that grew from 40 to 4000 skilled professionals, establishing a robust global footprint. Our portfolio encompassed the entire cybersecurity spectrum, earning accolades for our productized service offerings and cementing Wipro as a worldwide security brand.

My journey continued at Accenture, where I transitioned into driving their Managed Security Services (MSS) business. I navigated the challenge of defining service catalogues, establishing delivery processes, and garnering buy-in from senior leadership, resulting in exponential growth and industry recognition.

At EY LLP, I undertook the Americas Risk Advisory Leader and Partner role, pioneering the “Cybersecurity-as-a-Service (CaaS)” business. Leveraging cutting-edge technologies like AI and ML, we developed innovative SaaS solutions to address emerging cyber threats. Despite the challenge of aligning market-facing teams with this new business model, we successfully deployed next-generation cybersecurity services to EY’s enterprise clients.

My decision to step into the cybersecurity ecosystem was driven by a combination of passion for technology, a commitment to protecting digital assets, and a desire to make a meaningful difference in an increasingly interconnected world.

Your companies have emerged as the world’s leading organisations in cybersecurity. Please share the guiding philosophy that has propelled your organization’s success.

Our company’s success as the world’s leading transformational entity in our niche is underpinned by our guiding philosophy: Identity Centric Security (ICS) and Zero Trust. ICS focuses on securing systems based on user identities, emphasizing authentication, authorization, and access controls. Zero Trust, in tandem, mandates continuous verification of user and device identity, assuming no inherent trust. This combined approach forms a robust cybersecurity strategy, minimizing attack surfaces and thwarting unauthorized access. By prioritizing identity as a core security element and adopting a sceptical stance on trust, we ensure that access is granted only after rigorous authentication and ongoing monitoring. This fortifies our defences against cyber threats and instils confidence in our solutions, driving our transformational success. Through ICS and Zero Trust, we uphold the principle of granting access to the right individuals for the right duration, safeguarding against lateral movement within networks and unauthorized intrusions. Our commitment to this philosophy enables us to continually innovate and adapt to the evolving cybersecurity landscape, reinforcing our position as a leader in our industry.

The industrial landscape is continually evolving. Please brief our audience about your firm’s USPs and how you are currently positioned as one of the best transformational companies in its sector.

Ilantus Services is a global leader providing identity-centric, holistic cybersecurity solutions built on the Zero Trust Framework. Ilantus has over two decades of unparalleled expertise in delivering Identity and Access Management (IAM) services to clients across all industry verticals. It was founded in 2000 as a global cybersecurity company focusing on the IAM domain to offer products and services to customers globally. The product business was recently rolled out as a different company, and the Services business merged with a digital Security company – Network Intelligence. Ilantus Services is now a fully owned subsidiary of Network Intelligence, a digital cybersecurity company.

In today’s rapidly evolving industrial landscape, our firm stands out with a comprehensive suite of unique selling propositions (USPs) that position us as a premier transformational company in our sector. We prioritize a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity, recognizing its critical importance in safeguarding businesses’ reputation and financial stability in the digital age.

Our USP lies in deploying the Zero Trust security model, continuously validating user identity to bolster defence mechanisms against evolving cyber threats. We excel in conducting regular risk assessments and engaging in proactive threat intelligence gathering and proactive threat detection and response. Our firm emphasizes strict access controls to minimize vulnerabilities, prioritizes data privacy, and ensures compliance with relevant regulations, fostering trust with customers.

By offering proactive communication during incidents and investing in cyber insurance to mitigate financial risks, we provide a holistic approach that fortifies businesses against cyber threats, ensures reputation preservation, and guarantees long-term economic stability in the dynamic digital landscape.

Your transformational leadership style is often recognized as a driving force behind your company’s achievements. Could you explain your approach to leadership and team building within the organization? 

At the core of my transformational leadership style lies a commitment to our company’s values and culture, where customers and employees are paramount. We prioritize customer centricity, aiming to empower them with top-tier cybersecurity solutions. Our employees are encouraged to pursue excellence relentlessly, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. We uphold an open-door policy at all levels, ensuring approachability and transparency among leaders. In the face of challenges, we strive for excellence, leaving no room for mediocrity in our services. Integrity is ingrained in our DNA, guiding our interactions with customers, employees, vendors, and partners. Through these principles, we foster a cohesive team environment where everyone is aligned toward our goal of making a positive difference in the world.

The essence of future transformation lies in innovation, disruptions, and enhancing the end-user experience. How do your companies strike a balance between operational efficiency and customer satisfaction?

We prioritize applied innovation to strike a balance between operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, leveraging cutting-edge solutions like Generative AI. Our dedicated team of Research & Development professionals continually monitors the technology landscape, emerging trends, threat vectors, and client priorities. Through this proactive approach, we identify and refine innovative ideas that can set new trends in the market, keeping us ahead of the competition.

Our R&D team transforms these ideas into Proof of Concepts, ensuring alignment with client needs before transitioning them to our product engineering teams. By involving clients in the process, we ensure that our solutions meet and exceed their expectations, enhancing the end-user experience. This iterative approach allows us to maintain operational efficiency while delivering innovative solutions to address evolving cybersecurity challenges. By embracing applied innovation, we empower our clients to stay ahead of threats and achieve their cybersecurity objectives effectively and efficiently. Digitalization and technological advancements are crucial aspects of the modern industrial ecosystem. How does your company integrate these principles into its core functioning and contribute to a technovative future?

The workforce is the cornerstone of any successful organization. How do your companies foster a culture of growth, skill development, and employee empowerment?

Fostering a culture of growth, skill development, and empowerment among our employees is integral to our company’s success. Our “people first” strategy prioritizes our team members’ well-being and professional development, leading to high retention rates and a cohesive, winning team. We maintain a client-centric culture, which encourages innovation and the development of solution accelerators to streamline processes and reduce costs.

In addition, we have established the Institute of Information Security (IIS), recognized globally as one of the most trusted sources of hands-on training in information security. Through IIS, we offer cybersecurity training via open workshops, customized programs, and eLearning platforms, ensuring our employees can access the latest skills and knowledge.

To ensure continuous growth and skill development, we employ various communication channels such as community meetings, town halls, and cultural events to stay connected with each team member. Inter-team competitions and weekly check-ins with reportees further promote motivation and engagement. Our incentive programs are aligned with performance objectives, and quarterly appraisal cycles recognize and reward top performers.

Above all, we instil a value of collaboration in our employees, fostering a supportive and unique work environment where everyone can thrive and contribute to our collective success.

As the world’s industrial sector leader, your company has likely faced its share of challenges. Could you share an instance where your team’s resilience and ingenuity triumphed over adversity?

In a recent instance, we encountered a sophisticated cyber-attack that threatened to compromise sensitive data for one of our clients, with whom we were engaged in providing cybersecurity services. The client’s network experienced a sophisticated phishing attack aimed at exploiting user identities to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, our team sprang into action, leveraging our expertise in identity-centric security solutions.

We identified the attack vectors through meticulous analysis and swift action and deployed advanced authentication protocols to bolster user identity verification. Additionally, we implemented behavioural analytics and anomaly detection solutions to monitor user activity in real time, enabling us to swiftly detect and mitigate suspicious behaviour.

Despite the complexity of the attack, our team’s resilience and ingenuity prevailed. By adopting an identity-centric approach and harnessing innovative cybersecurity technologies, we successfully thwarted the attack, preserving the integrity of our client’s network and safeguarding their valuable assets. This experience showcased our team’s ability to adapt to evolving threats and reinforce our position as a leader in identity-centric cybersecurity solutions.

Businesses are a way for the Indian industry to accelerate its economic potential and capacity. What would you advise other budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the startup space?

I offer two key pieces of advice to budding entrepreneurs venturing into the startup space. Firstly, recognize the evolving landscape of cyber risk, characterized by exponential, automated, and multidimensional threats. Embrace an identity-centric approach like Ilantas, focusing on creating a holistic risk-aware identity fabric to protect critical data seamlessly. Secondly, prioritize networking and cultivate emotional intelligence (EQ). Networking facilitates valuable connections and opportunities, while EQ fosters empathy and collaboration, essential for effective leadership and innovation. Aspire to be purpose-driven leaders, contributing to transformative change in the industry. I aim to extend my impact by serving on the boards of technology companies and supporting cybersecurity startups through investment firms. Embrace these principles to navigate the startup journey with resilience and success.

Looking ahead, what is your vision for your companies? How do you aspire to continue significantly impacting the world’s transformational future landscape?

In envisioning the future landscape of cybersecurity services in 2024, our company embraces the transformative power of Generative AI (GenAI) to revolutionize how we approach security. Our vision centres around advancing Identity-Centric Security and Zero-Trust principles, leveraging GenAI to create a paradigm shift in cybersecurity.

We see GenAI as a catalyst for enhancing the efficacy of identity-centric security by enabling real-time, adaptive authentication and authorization mechanisms. Through continuous analysis of user behaviours and contextual data, GenAI empowers us to dynamically adjust access controls, ensuring that only trusted individuals gain entry to critical assets.

Furthermore, our focus is to enhance the Zero Trust model by offering predictive threat detection and automated response capabilities to our clients globally. By analyzing vast amounts of data and identifying patterns indicative of potential threats, we plan to leverage GenAI for proactive risk mitigation, minimizing the likelihood of successful cyber-attacks.

For more information, please visit https://www.ilantus.comhttp://www.niiconsulting.com, or email at arun.singh@ilantus.comarun.singh@niiconsulting.com.

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