I have just returned from a week in sunny Lebanon, where Ubisecure and CIEL, our trusted local partner, arranged a seminar entitled ‘Empowering your Business with Digital Identities’. The event was a great success and gave my colleague, Keith Uber, and I the chance to spread the good word of Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) to Lebanon.
The event was held at the new Middle East Airlines (MEA) Training and Conference Center, which is a modern, state-of-the-art facility and provided an excellent setting for the event. Ubisecure and CIEL welcomed the guests in the very impressive entrance hall.
It was great to see over 300 attendees at the event from a wide range of sectors, giving us the chance to talk with people from various levels of government, banks, universities, and other large organisations. Furthermore, the media was present at the event and Keith was even interviewed by Future TV.
The keynote speakers
Digital identities – the talk of the time: Dr Salah Rustum, President and Chairman, CIEL
Dr Salah Rustum opened the event, noting that CIEL is celebrating 45 years of business this year. He emphasised the importance of cybersecurity in protecting our privacy and identities, pointing out that it is practically impossible to pursue the operation of online business and cybersecurity in the same way as before. He gave the example of recent events that took place at the internal airport of Beirut, where hackers were able to take down their internet site simply because the officials did not think it necessary to have protection for a site that is only for informative purposes.
Digitalisation and Real Human Interaction: Mrs. Hiam Sakr, Founder and President, American University of Science and Technology (AUST)
AUST is training the next generation of cybersecurity specialists through their targeted degree programmes. Mrs Sakr spoke about the observations she had made about the vast development of the world during the past 50 years, starting with the birth of the microchip and later with the development of the early internet and moving all the way towards the Internet of Things (IoT). She also wanted to remind us of the importance of real human interaction despite the studies that indicate the possibility for us to save three hours per day by working, shopping, doing banking etc. online.
MoF Leading the Development of Online Services: Georges Saoud, IT Director, Lebanese Ministry of Finance
Georges gave a warm welcome to the audience and showcased the Ministry of Finance’s digitalisation efforts and ongoing strategy. The Ministry of Finance is leading the development of online services such as the online tax declaration forms for citizens.
Building Legislation to Enable eGovernment: His Excellency Sheikh Nadim Gemayel
HE Sheikh Nadim Gemayel, under whose auspices we arranged the event, was our final keynote speaker. As a member of the Lebanese Parliament since 2009, representing Beirut District and Chairman of the Information and Technology Parliamentary Committee since June 2018, he understands the legislative frameworks required for enabling eGovernment. He presented the recently introduced act of electronic transactions and private data law (law number 81 dated 10th October 2018). This fundamental law for electronic commerce went into force on 1st January 2019 to define and acknowledge the legal validity of electronic digital signatures.
Time to shine
Then it was our turn to present. Keith and I both gave speeches which gave rise to lots of great discussion and questions regarding the advancement of digital identity in Europe and how the lessons learned can be applied to the MENA (Middle-East North Africa) region.
Ubisecure solutions and innovations: Keith Uber, VP Customer Success, Ubisecure
Keith impressed the audience with a presentation on Ubisecure’s innovations via our Identity Platform, and talked about the evolution of identity in online services. He showed the Maturity Model for Identity and Access Management – a tool developed by Ubisecure – that can be used to evaluate the level of maturity of an organisation’s online services.
Identifying companies around the world is a challenge that is being solved through international standards. One such standard, which Keith spoke about in a second presentation, is the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) – a globally unique 20-character identifier, designed to accelerate and secure international business. Ubisecure’s RapidLEI service provides the fastest way to obtain an LEI, allowing organisations to conduct business in regulated industries locally and across borders.
How can your company become GDPR-compliant: Sami Lindgren, Sales Engineer, Ubisecure
I took to the stage to discuss the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Companies in the MENA region are clearly looking to find ways to comply with the GDPR, as any business that stores or processes personal data of EU citizens must. They were therefore interested to learn about our CIAM solution, which can be used to enable compliance with several GDPR factors. For example, by helping organisations comply to the data management, strong authentication and API protection requirements.
My second presentation focussed on success stories of how digital identity has brought efficiency, cost savings and improved user experience and security to various industries. This included examples from services for the public sector, banking, research and education and mobile telecommunications – all showing how digital identities have streamlined business transactions.
Great Opportunities Ahead of Us
The event was a fantastic opportunity to meet business leaders in the region and to understand the genuine interest that these companies had in managing the digital identities in a safe and efficient way. Ubisecure and CIEL were able to attract such a big crowd of people to listen to our success stories and what we have accomplished with our solutions. Finland, together with other Nordic countries, is particularly advanced in terms of digitalisation in comparison to the rest of the world. It’s clear that companies like Ubisecure and CIEL have a lot to offer to the corporations in the MENA region.
Some photos from the event
Some footage of various parts of the event on social media