Home Interview Interview with Prince Joseph, CIO, SFO Technologies

Interview with Prince Joseph, CIO, SFO Technologies


Since the landscape is constantly evolving and while we keep endeavouring to reduce the attack surface, new threat vectors are emerging, and it is advisable to have a SOC in place that is well connected to external competent entities to ensure that monitoring and threat management is handled to meet expectations, says Prince Joseph, CIO, SFO Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (NeST Group) in an interaction with CIO Axis. He is of the view scalability and  resilience are becoming boardroom imperative

CIO AXIS: What is your outlook for acceleration of the digital transformation these days?
Prince Joseph: The pandemic has been a catalyst that opened the IT initiatives pipeline and unblocked budgets that paved the way for the introduction of tools and solutions enabling digitalisation.

The first digital wave’s focus has been with supporting existing processes and optimising them and bringing in digitization, integrations, data flows and automation. The next wave builds on the same and has the potential to re imagine entire business models paving way for a rearchitected enterprise that’s also seamlessly connected with the end to end supply chain.

Depending on the maturity and stage of each organisation and the appetite, capability and vision I see a clear trend especially when it is certain the ecosystem of customers and suppliers are also forging ahead in the same direction which necessitates that you at least keep in step if not a step ahead.

Scalability and Resilience are becoming a boardroom level concern and innovative technologies adoption is the only way to achieve it by leveraging an ecosystem of strong partners.

CIO AXIS: What are your proposals to build an effective cybersecurity strategy in these times?
Prince Joseph: I look at the Cyber Security space across four dimensions – 1. The Standards and Compliance needs 2. Security tools and solutions to be selected and implemented 3. The Security Management process followed for detection, incident response, remediation, controls etc and 4. The security Assurance aspect.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), NIST 800 and ISO27001 provide a set of standards and best practices for handling and securing data within the enterprise. The practices and controls can be extended and tailored for the industry you are a part of.

Since the landscape is constantly evolving and while we keep endeavouring to reduce the attack surface, new threat vectors are emerging and it is advisable to have a SOC in place that is well connected to external competent entities to ensure that monitoring and threat management is handled to meet expectations.

CIO AXIS: What kind of technologies/solutions do you use to prevent theft or leakage of information from insiders?
Prince Joseph: Intellectual Property (IP) protection is now a priority this means a stronger application of data protection policies and tools. While it is important to classify the data and tag its sensitiveness, it is also important to ensure DLP (Data Leak protection) tools and Advanced Threat Protection capabilities are deployed. In addition, a strong Identity and Access Management solution along with privileged ID management is impressive to ensure data access is secure and data manipulation and changes are tracked with clear audit trail.

Because we see ransomware threats rising, there is a need to go over the security disaster and recovery steps and also internally deploy network segmentation including use of DMZ (de militarised zones) and OT security.

Workloads on the cloud also require that we protect the data on the cloud, we have to remember the data even if it is on a Hyperscaler is still our responsibility. Multi factor authentication is a start and based on the content other elements should be added on to provide overall robustness.

CIO AXIS: What according to you should be way to drive innovation after COVID-19? What are SFO Technologies initiatives in this direction?
Prince Joseph: We have set up a DTIO (Digital Transformation and Innovation Office) with the executive director as the Chair. The approach is to pick areas that require focus and optimisation and that requires radical intervention. We look for low hanging fruits where can tweak and tune processes and get immediate value. And slowly identify use cases where we can add value by widening the usage of certain tools or identify where we can bring efficiencies with new solutions available in the market. We have identified numerous manual tasks that we are automating, work done on paper to be moved to digital , accelerating data visibility with integrations and creating an API gateway solution for internal connection and also suppler and customer connects.

The Data analytics platform is an important piece in the redesigned organisation with the key Corporate as well as Operational dashboards being made available via an internally developed cockpit tool. This sits on top of all the underlying infrastructure, applications, and business systems and provides the management a single pane of glass through which to drive decisions and track and monitor the performance.

In this place too we have identified a few strategic and tactical partners who are helping to deliver the programs and unlock positive outcomes.

CIO AXIS: According to you what are the positive conclusions from the period of working from home?
Prince Joseph: While it is still open for debate and blue collar work is still performed on site, not on line, the benefits and advantages of enabling work from home have been numerous. The work life balance has had positive benefit where families now are able to manage work and also ensure family is balanced. The safety aspect and office politics and conflicts have reduced considerably. From an IT management point of view, the programs required to run the enterprise and solutions and initiatives stuck in the selection and business case approval process were fast tracked. There was a greater appreciation of the work and support to strengthen the IT divisions were unprecedented. The commute time and flexibility has boosted the productivity in some areas and we have been able to get some creative outputs that otherwise in the normal office environment we would have found difficult to get. For a part of the work force this has liberated them to work like intrepreneurs and some exciting outcomes have been seen.


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