Key Findings Energy and Utilities GCC Cyber Security Market

This whitepaper is exclusively produced by 6WResearch in conjunction with the upcoming 3rd Cyber Security in Energy and Utilities Conference.

The white paper provides an extensive analysis with valuable insights into the status of the energy and utilities cyber security market in the GCC region, including growth overview, key, and challenges and trends.

Below are some of the topics covered:

  • Driving OT, IT, and IIOT Cyber Resilience in the IR 4.0 Era Industrial Projects
  • Securing Industrial Control Systems (ICS) From Malicious Attacks
  • Clear Communication Channels and Protocols Between SOC, IT, And OT Teams






    Aamir Khalid Pirzada

    Chief Information Security Officer, National Metal Manufacturing and Casting Company (Maadaniyah), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    Aamir is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in the fields of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Software Project Management, and IT Infrastructure. He has worked across diverse industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, retail, public services, and telecommunications.

    With his extensive expertise, Aamir has collaborated with top-level management to drive the transformation of information technology divisions within companies, taking them to advanced levels. In his role as a Chief Information Officer (CIO), he serves as a strategic technology manager, shaping the organization’s technology vision and direction.

    Aamir’s responsibilities encompass overseeing sophisticated systems environments, business applications, IT budgets, and tools for business users. He enables companies to achieve significant success by implementing data strategies that enhance daily operations and streamline development efforts.He possesses a wealth of experience in implementing leading ERP applications such as SAP (S4Hana), Oracle e-Business Suite, and Microsoft Dynamics Ax. Aamir has showcased his project management capabilities by providing business analysis and solution design services during the software development planning stages. As a leader, he has led teams in ensuring the implementation of appropriate controls, security audits, and measures. Aamir has successfully established comprehensive security protocols and policies, ensuring the organization’s adherence to them.

    Overall, Aamir Khalid Pirzada’s extensive experience, technical expertise, and leadership skills make him a valuable asset in driving technology advancements and achieving business success.

    Dr. Shaheela Banu

    Chief Information Security Officer Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC), Kuwait

    Dr. Shaheela is currently serving as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at a prominent Oil and Gas industry. She holds a distinguished Doctorate in the field of Cybersecurity and boasts over 15 years of hands-on experience in managing Vulnerability & Patch Updates, with expertise as a Malware Analyst. Dr. Shaheela’s career spans across esteemed institutions in the Insurance and Banking sectors in Kuwait, where she has made significant contributions.

    Her professional journey includes serving as a Lead Pentester and ISMS Auditor for several Healthcare and Educational institutions in Kuwait and India. Dr. Shaheela holds prestigious certifications as a Certified Ethical Hacker and Cisco Security Specialist, reflecting her commitment to excellence in the cybersecurity domain.

    Beyond her professional endeavors, Dr. Shaheela is a dedicated advocate for Cybersecurity Awareness and has actively engaged in awareness initiatives across various countries, including India, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the USA. Her passion for cybersecurity extends to her role as a Research Writer and Researcher for the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), where she contributes to advancing the field’s knowledge and practices.

    Ezzeddine Jradi

    Chief Transformation & Business Excellence Officer, Emirates District Cooling (EMICOOL) - United Arab Emirates

    Ezzeddine is a seasoned executive, currently serving as the Chief Transformation & Business Excellence Officer at Emicool in Dubai. Throughout his career, he has taken on various roles within the organization, including Senior Strategy Manager and Risk & Compliance Manager. In addition to his extensive experience in the fields of IT and finance, he has emerged as a dedicated advocate for digital transformation and sustainability.

    Ezzeddine’s primary focus is on leveraging digital initiatives to enhance customer experiences, drive operational excellence, reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve overall operational efficiency. His professional journey also encompasses the establishment and leadership of new functions, the management of high-performing teams, the formulation of innovative commercial strategies, nurturing senior stakeholder relationships, championing risk management, ensuring corporate governance, overseeing project management, and promoting sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

    Recognized for his strategic acumen and ability to instigate change and innovation, Ezzeddine possesses exceptional communication, presentation, and negotiation skills. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication & Electronic Engineering, a Master’s Degree in Financial Management, and an Executive Masters in Islamic Financial Management. Moreover, he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) and holds the TOGAF 9.2® certification, further demonstrating his commitment to professional excellence.

    Abdulrahman Al-Nimari

    Chief Information Security Officer, Saudi Arabia Government, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    A self-motivated renowned cyber security expert and a frequent conference speaker with more than 25 years of IT and cybersecurity experience.

    Al-Nimari played different roles, in government and private sectors, in different IT and cyber security fields: Network/System Administration, IT Management, Cybersecurity Consultation and Architecting. Always working to advance cyber security and contribute to community. Al-Nimari was awarded the Arab Social Media Cyber Security Influencer Award for 4 consecutive years 2019-2022 by the Arab Cyber Security Conference in Cairo. He was also among the top 2022 IFSEC Global Security Influencers.

    He holds industry standard cyber security and project management certifications:

    CISSP, CISM, CCISO, PMP, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GCUX, GREM, GICSP, BCVRE

    Mohammed Zumla

    Cybersecurity Consultant, United Kingdom

    Mohammed Zumla, founder of Cyber ICS in the UK, established the company in 2018 to address the newly introduced NIS regulations in the EU. He led the cyber regulatory division at OFGEM, collaborating with government bodies like the Health and Safety Executive, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, and the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure, influencing sector policies and crafting NIS guidance and inspection frameworks. Mohammed authored the RIIO2 cyber resilience methodology, crucial for sector funding, in close collaboration with senior leadership and industry operators.

    Before Cyber ICS, he founded Deloitte UK’s SCADA consultancy practice in 2009. At Qatar Petroleum, he served as acting Chief Security Officer during the Shamoon attack, acted as Sector Authority for industry operators, and initiated the Cyber Security Partnership Forum. Mohammed’s career also includes leadership at General Electric (GE) Dubai, contributing to IEC62443 standards and leading assessments for Critical National Infrastructure Operators.

    With a background in Big 4 consultancy, major oil and gas, OT vendor experience, EU Commission collaboration, and UK cyber regulatory leadership, Mohammed offers a comprehensive perspective, addressing technical, managerial, and organizational aspects. He holds numerous ICS security certifications, including SANS GICSP and SANS GRID, and actively participates in World Economic Forum working groups, IET events, EU Commission consultations, CIGRE working groups, and NARUC advisory roles.

    Prof. Hoda Alkhzaimi (PhD)

    Assistant professor, Director for center for cyber security, Co-chair, New York University Abu Dhabi, EMARATSEC, WEF global future council, United Arab Emirates

    Hoda Alkhzaimi is an experienced, motivated and innovative leader in industrialization, economic development, green field projects development and tech development. With over seventeen years of successfully driven numerous technological investments internationally and Locally especially in in the UAE. She has successfully led various projects towards achieving strategic, financial and operational efficiencies and synergies worldwide. She has a particular focus in leading and motivating tech-based industrial investments globally. Through her strategic, financial, and operational insight, she has overseen the successful turnaround of multiple large-scale projects, facilitated the research and development process while creating growth potential for each prospect.

    Additionally, Hoda has an expertise in developing industrial prospects that respects different technology readiness levels and curate economic growth strategies based on those prospects. Furthermore, she takes a special interest in sustainable development goal and value-based investments. Currently she is holding the position of CO-chair for the World Economic Forum Global Cyber Security Future Council on Cyber Security and Director and founder for (EMARATSEC) NYU’s Center for Emerging Advanced Research Acceleration for Technology, Director and founding member at NYUAD’s Center of Cyber Security, and holds a research assistant professorship at NYU, her work in research, development for multiple portfolios ,including yet not limited to, cryptology, AI and cyber security initiatives have allowed her to make significant contributions to these field. From developing cryptology research ecosystems to heading departments, industrial ventures focused on emerging technologies hardware and software R&Ds. Hoda’s passion for economic cluster development has been an undeniable force within her career.

    Dr. Alkhzaimi has specific expertise in cryptology; cryptanalysis, constructing and validating security hardware and software components, constructing trusted security architectures for different environments in different products for the respective industries. Hoda. Alkhzaimi obtained her Ph.D. in Cryptanalysis from Denmark Technical University. Her current research interests include Space, Aerospace, and UAV and autonomous systems security, constructing and analyzing cryptographic primitives, validating, and investigating links between different cryptanalytic approaches and utilizing cryptographic primitives in different cybersecurity. architectures as in Internet of Things and big data analysis among others. Her research includes analysis of the effect of AI and machine learning techniques on improving security analytics. She is also leading several AI based initiatives globally.

    Dr. Alkhzaimi is the president of Emirates Digital Association for Women, a non-for-profit organization endorsed by the ministry of social affairs in the UAE. This association supports national and international initiatives that aim to empower sustainable economic investments and development for diverse communities with specific focus on inclusivity initiatives. This includes, yet not limited to, establishing, and creating ecosystems that support sustainable business development in the UAE and the international scene which supports economic indigenous growth of local economies. In tandem, she is the Ambassador and the Chief Executive Officer for Women in Artificial Intelligence international community that aims to improve the scientific and professional positioning of AI for social impact and women’s contributions within the field, especially in the MENA region. She led the Women in Engineering Chapter in Abu Dhabi and the UAE lead for INWES MENA which is the global network for organizations of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    Along with her initial master’s in science in Mathematics, Cryptology and Coding theory from INPG, she has a Masters degree from London Business School in Business management with a focus on finance and investments as well as a masters of international business law from Sorbonne University with a focus on building sustainable economic ecosystems and investments for valuable technological and industrial impacts. She is currently establishing an investment fund with a focus on industrial developments for global SDG impact with multiple local and international financial and industrial partners. Hoda is an advisor on the knowledge cluster on emerging economies and technologies for the World Economic Forum on its different tasks force on global future councils and on the global center for the fourth industrial revolution. as well as being on multiple investments committees globally as well as audit committees. She has several board levels seats in multiple global and UAE lead investment funds and industries.

    Kumar Prasoon

    Cybersecurity Expert, United Arab Emirates

    Enterprise Digital Leader 2017 and Digital Retail Leader 2018 by MIT Sloan Review and the Khaleej Times plus CIO of the Year 2018 /2019/2020/2021, Kumar Prasoon is recognised as one of the Global Topmost CIOs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Asia and also at the international level. In this prominent role, he makes technology recommendations for the group’s executive management on the aspects of Fuzzy Analytics, Business Intelligence; BigData, IoT /IIoT, BlockChain, cloud computing, enterprise 2.0, integrated systems architecture and virtualization. Being the founder of Fuzzy Analytics Framework and Modern Industrial Complex Mathematical Calculus for Emerging Technologies, Kumar is also the global leading Industry Researcher, Scientist and Technology Evangelist for Smart Systems, Smart Retailing, Smart Cities, Smart Parking, Smart Engineering , Smart Instrumentation , Smart Metering and Industry Quantum Mechanics employing the Modern Emerging Technologies. He chairs as an advisory board member with numerous national and international consortiums in the capacity of consulting, research and bringing supreme Industry Innovations. Another strong facet is his contribution to the Academia Sector for the Global Universities from Far East to West where he has mentored , coached and executed successful projects with hundreds of incumbents in Bachelors , Masters and Doctorates in Engineering , IT , Business and Management in the areas of Emerging Technologies , Emerging Markets and Emerging Systems.

    Javed Habib

    Global Head | ICS Cybersecurity, Engie, United Arab Emirates

    My current role is Global Head OT/ICS Security + Regional Head of Plant Controls & Life Cycle Management. I am responsible for providing technical support to all of Engie’s businesses in the AMEA (Asia, Middle East, and Africa) in the area of Industrial control systems and OT cyber security. Also, I have dual responsibility as global head for the scope of providing overall governance (GRC) for all thermal assets of the company in Europe and Americas i.e. in the area of OT cybersecurity.

    I have been working in the industrial automation arena since 1993, after completing the education in Engineering from City University of New York, USA. In my professional life have worked for various national and multinational organizations in various countries. Control systems, OT/ICS security, networks and security of data and connected systems have always been my focus. In UAE, in last thirteen years I have worked for International Power (now Engie) , Dubal (Now Emirates Aluminum), and Takreer (now ADNOC Refinery). Currently I am working for Engie, a company with its HQ in France, has business/stake in business worldwide related to power generation, gas distribution, district cooling and other services and solutions. I have participated in various international technical conferences, two of his research papers have been published in the technical journals of University of Manchester.

    Ayman Al Issa

    Industrial Cybersecurity Lead and Senior Expert, McKinsey & Company, United Arab Emirates

    Ayman Al Issa is the McKinsey Industrial Cybersecurity Lead and Senior Expert. Prior to joining McKinsey, he was the Chief Technologist for Booz Allen Hamilton’s Industrial Cyber Security practice in the international market. Over a career that spans more than 27 years to date, Al Issa has gained vast experience in the fields of industrial automation operational technology, information technology, and cyber security.
    Dr. Anjum Arshad

    Head of Information Technology and Cybersecurity, Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD), United Arab Emirates

    Dr. Anjum Arshad is a highly accomplished professional with a Doctorate in Information Technology, specializing in the field of cybersecurity. With a strong commitment to ethical practices in the digital realm, Dr. Anjum Arshad holds prestigious certifications, including Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). As a seasoned expert in the world of IT and cybersecurity, Dr. Anjum Arshad brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. With an unwavering dedication to safeguarding digital landscapes and ensuring the integrity of information systems, Dr. Anjum Arshad is a trusted authority in the industry, known for their expertise in ethical hacking, information security management, and digital forensics. Dr. Anjum’s contributions to the field extend beyond certifications, as they have actively engaged in cutting-edge research and practical applications to protect organizations and individuals from cyber threats. Her commitment to excellence in cybersecurity continues to make a lasting impact in an increasingly interconnected and vulnerable digital world.
    Ahmed Alkindi

    Information Security Manager and Digital Transformation Leader, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), United Arab Emirates

    Ahmed Alkindi, a seasoned technologist with over 23 years of experience in the information technology sector, presently serves as the Information Security Manager at the world-renowned Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, the pioneering institution dedicated to AI research and education. Throughout his career, Ahmed has held various information technology roles in both government and semi-government organizations and successfully managed key accounts for a regional IT service provider. His proactive approach to implementing cutting-edge technologies, such as cloud computing and IoT, has enabled businesses to undergo digital transformations while effectively managing cybersecurity risks. Ahmed embarked on his information security journey two decades ago, delivering impactful Information Security initiatives across multiple organizations, and holds an MBA from UAE University, exemplifying his dedication to excellence in the IT and security fields.
    Sithembile Songo

    Chief Information Security Officer, Eskom, South Africa

    Ms. Sithembile Songo has been specialising in information security since 2003 and her experience is augmented by several leadership roles in both public and private sectors, including Financial sector, Telecom sector, Public Sector, Consulting firm, Utilities and other State-owned entities. She holds a Master of Science in Information Security and possess several cyber security professional certifications.

    Sithembile is passionate about enabling organisations to achieve their business objectives in a secure manner to fulfil their mandates. Besides her extensive experience in other information security domains, she has also played a pivotal role in developing and implementing robust information security strategies to protect organisations against the increased attack surface, in support of the swift digital migration initiatives and hybrid mode of working.

    Sithembile is currently heading the Information Security pillar of a wholly state-owned entity, Eskom, the producer of 95% of South Africa’s electricity which performed 163 613 household electrification connections during the 2020 financial year.

    Dr. Ebrahim Al Zaabi

    Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity Expert, United Arab Emirates

    Dr. Ebrahim Al Alkeem is an expert in the effects of Artificial Intelligence, with a focus on securing critical infrastructure design and exponentially developing technologies on the economy, healthcare, and society. He explains the cyber threats and opportunities created by these new developments. As a proven leader in cybersecurity with over 17th years of experience in the field, Dr. Ebrahim has been helping companies grow their technological capabilities with keen insight and creative ideas. He has worked with many technologies in different positions. He is currently leading the cybersecurity department and is responsible for assessing internal technological capabilities from both OT and IT perspectives.  Dr. Ebrahim holds a Ph.D. degree in Engineering from Khalifa University in Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity. He manages to publish a couple of articles in the most prestigious journals in the world and has some of the worldwide recognized security certificates. He has been an expert speaker and panel member in cybersecurity events and summits. In 2015, Dr. Ebrahim won the Tamayaz Excellence Award, an appreciation award in the category of inventions of information technology & smart services. Also, he is an active member of many engineering associations across the world.

    Mohammed H. AlAbbadi

    Group CISO, Fertiglobe PLC, United Arab Emirates

    Mohammed H. AlAbbadi, an ex-Emirates-Airlines & ex-Schlumberger and a graduate of the American University of Sharjah, is a seasoned senior cybersecurity leader with over 19 years of diversified technical & managerial cybersecurity (IT, OT/ICS) and privacy experience across UAE, Saudi, Egypt, Algeria, France, Malaysia & Uganda and in various industries (including airlines, banking, defense, education, energy, oil & gas, healthcare, retail and utilities).

    He is currently the CISO of Fertiglobe PLC, a fertilizers manufacturer joint venture.

    It is also noteworthy that AlAbbadi is the author of the upcoming book: “Secure Your Clients .. Secure Your Future” and been holding more than 27 cybersecurity industry certifications such as CCISO, CGEIT, CISA, CISM, CISSP, CRISC and GIAC GICSP. He’s also a Certified Trainer of Trainers from the American East Coast University.

    Ali Abdulla Hassan

    Chief of Information Technology, Ministry of Oil Bahrain, Bahrain

    Ali possesses over 19 years of experience in the Information Technology sector. Presently, he serves as the Chief of Information Technology at the Ministry of Oil and Environment in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ali’s extensive skill set spans various domains, including Digital Transformation, Cybersecurity, Digital Sustainability, and Cloud Transformation. He holds a strong passion for leveraging IT Service Management frameworks, with a particular focus on implementing ITIL concepts and practices.

    Ali’s primary objective is to contribute substantial value to both the Ministry of Oil and Environment and the Kingdom of Bahrain through the application of his enhanced knowledge and expertise in the realms of digital transformation and cybersecurity.

    Dr. Reem Faraj AlShammari

    Global Thought Leader in Cybersecurity and Digital Transformation, Kuwait Oil Company

    Dr. Reem Faraj Al-Shammari is a well-known Global Thought Leader in Cyber Security & Technology in the Energy Sector, Kuwait.

    She is also a Certified Innovation Leader (CIL), a Harvard Business Alumni, a Fellow in the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (FIKE), a Fellow in the UK-Gulf Women in CyberSecurity, a TEDX & Keynote Speaker, Advisory Board member, Wild Card and Change Agent, Multiplier, Global Award’s Judge, a Co-Author in World leading Publications such as MIT & WEF, a Global Mentor in the UN’s ITU Women in Cyber Mentorship Program, and the First United Nation’s Civil Society Stakeholder’s Representative from Global Women in CyberSecurity Groups in delivering an official Statement at the UN’s Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Security 2021-2025 in United Nations Headquarters, New York.

    Dr. Reem promotes diversity, as she is the Founding Partner and Board member of Women in CyberSecurity MiddleEast Group with +2000 Women members covering +20 Countries. She also plays vital leading roles at the Diversity and Inclusion Council of Kuwait’s Oil Sector as she was the First Female CISO in Kuwait’s Energy Sector who contributed heavily in the maturity of CyberSecurity journey, and she’s currently leading Digital transformation Journeys under Corporate Solutions at the Energy Sector in Kuwait.

    Dr. Reem contributes heavily in Technology & CyberSecurity Global Communities and is quite recognized at national, regional and international levels where she’s recognized by World, Country and Industry leaders: H.H the Crown Prince of Kuwait, Head of UAE’s Cyber Security Council, CEOs and Deputy CEOs at Kuwait’s Oil Sector. She had won the Global CyberSecurity Woman of the Year 2023 “Category Barrier Breaker” Award, Ranked # 1 at IFSEC Global Top Influencers in Security & Fire “CyberSecurity Category”, The CIO50 Middle East Award 2022 Winner, IDC’s Top 50 Women Achievers “Business & Digital Transformation Leader”, Global EWF’s Regional Leadership Award, MESA’s Women Security Leaders Award, , and The Arab CISO of the Year.

    Concluding with a Quote that describes Dr. Reem and her impact in this World:

    “We meet many people in life, they are either a Plus (+), or a Minus (-),

    Dr. Reem, on the other hand, is a Multiplier (x)… She is able to Multiply from One single Step or Initiative to a Multiple of them in Short Time.” – Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, MD Planning& Finance, Bader Al-Attar