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Thamer Aldhafiri, CEO of Cipher

SAUDI ARABIA - Telecoms & IT

Thamer Aldhafiri

CEO, Cipher

Bio

Thamer Aldhafiri is CEO of Cipher Company for Cybersecurity. He is an accomplished Cyber Security professional with over 16 years of in-depth knowledge and extensive cyber security experience (strategic, tactical and operational level). He has a master’s degree of Information Security from Royal Holloway University of London, London, UK, and a bachelor’s degree from King Saud University. He is an industrial committee member in different Universities in KSA such as king Abdulaziz university, Hail university, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, University of Prince Mugrin, and adviser for multiple organizations in and out of kingdom.

"Our main focus is on enterprise and large organizations; we heavily invest in the quality of the services we provide, including both consultancy and advisory work."
TBY talks to Thamer Aldhafiri, CEO of Cipher, about the company’s mission, facing competition, and priorities for the coming year.
Could you introduce the company and its mission to our readers?

We are a startup company, having launched officially on January 1, 2022. We are set to become a game changer in the cybersecurity domain. Our vision is to simplify the concept of digital security as a whole: the mission for Cipher is to bring peace of mind to our clients, to help them focus on their business line while we become the cyber security arm for their work. Meanwhile, we build our own technologies helping the local content in step with Saudi vision 2030. The vision entails many initiatives and programs where digital transformation ranks high. A key topic here, therefore, is cybersecurity. More digitalization naturally means greater risk, and we consider ourselves to be the cyber enabler of Saudi Vision 2030. As a game changer, we don’t sell commercial products, but rather, we see where opportunities lie and launch services that support the entire ecosystem related to cybersecurity industry. Our main objective is to be recognized as the ideal digital security partner by our existing and potential clients. We are the leading provider of knowledge, tools, training activities, innovative services to protect any business 24/7.

What companies are you targeting to expand your business and what is in your portfolio of services?

Our main focus is on enterprise and large organizations; we heavily invest in the quality of the services we provide, including both consultancy and advisory work. We conduct gap assessments providing a cybersecurity strategy for our clients. We also undertake technical assessments and provide training and awareness programs both for the state and private sectors. We uniquely provide a virtual cybersecurity officer for organizations that perhaps lack the budget to hire a cyber security directors. At Cipher, we have become the benchmark for most cyber security companies working in the KSA, and for cybersecurity companies working in the Middle East , including the providers themselves as well. We assist and guide our clients in all their transformation processes: most existing and potential clients in Saudi are moving to the cloud, which means they need to rely on a cloud provider, and we are capitalizing on this trend. From the outset we have focused on hiring the right talent—100% Saudi—to build our own products and solutions: local content is a strength of the company and aligns us with Saudi Vision 2030. We get many accreditations, such as CREST SOC and we are the only Saudi accredited company in the EMEA . Operational efficiency is part of our competitive advantage, and we have operations setup 24x 7x 365, making us a leading player in the field of cybersecurity. We perform real-time monitoring, detection and alerting for our clients and ensure their devices and servers stay protected at all times. Cipher provides a unique Cyber Threat Intelligence Fusion Center that combines real-time feeds from multiple multinational open sources and commercial services. Moreover, we have the capacity to deliver our services not only within the Kingdom but also across the entire EMEA.

What distinguishes Cipher from the fierce competition in the local market?

We are a mission driven company: as the KSA is leaping into the future, the regulation of the cybersecurity environment not only into a priority for the government, but an obligation. Cybersecurity is an integral part of the national security plan. We should protect our nation by educating the communities—including businesses—about the right use and control of cybersecurity, while cultivating the local talent available in the nation. Most of the technologies we provide are built in-house: we have signed several agreements with multiple organizations, to ensure delivery of the best and most competitive products. We signed with a leading Japanese international company to activate mutual collaboration between R&D departments to build and deliver new, innovative solutions not only in the field of generic cybersecurity, but also in the area of smart city security and IT security. Our Innovation Labs form a key pillar of our operations, being the brain of Cipher, and helping the company to solve client problems. In our innovation labs, we focus on cyber security and blockchain, as well as cyber security for IoT, among others. Our team has over two decades of experience in the sector. And our R&D team sees continued investment in research and training. This makes us an elite cyber intelligence lab capable of creating cutting edge technologies and managing intelligence to provide the best service for our clients.



What are your priorities for this year?

Our priority right now is to pursue national initiatives with the regulators, and we are particularly keen to expand our client portfolio. Additionally, we will focus on training and awareness.
We recently launched a new initiative—Cipher ambassadors—which in 2023 will train 50 Saudi students in multiple cyber security dimensions.

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