Kazan Digital Week. Results: new venture favourites, AI in fintech and the era of cybersecurity 2.0

Kazan Digital Week. Results: new venture favourites, AI in fintech and the era of cybersecurity 2.0
Photo: kpfu.ru

Will artificial intelligence be put at the service of fintech? When will self-driving cars appear on Russian roads? Why are classic approaches to ensuring cybersecurity in business outdated and what will replace them? What direction have venture investors switched to, forgetting about their recent favourite — IT industry? Leading experts of Kazan Digital Week gave answers to these questions at the final conference of the forum. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Medicine — a new competitor of “venture favourite”

The four-day international forum Kazan Digital Week is coming to an end, which means that it's time to summarize the results. A summary from central speakers and co-organisers of the event was made at the final press conference.

Arsen Savva, the head of the innovation development department of the Investment and Venture Fund of Tatarstan (IVF RT), spoke on the topic of innovations integrated into business. First of all, he assessed the climate that has developed in the investment market under the influence of the pandemic. The speaker noted that venture investors are traditionally resistant to crises, since the investment horizon is on average 5-7 years, therefore, the economy of funds is always based on a six-month or longer crisis.

“Based on the discussion of this topic at the forum, we can assume that about half of the funds put on pause the attraction of funding, postponed certain transactions. Deals at an early stage were hit the most — their number in the world was reduced to 20%. Overall, investments declined by 6%, which means that investors refocused their investments on more sustainable companies. However, venture markets around the world are actively reviving. If we talk specifically about Russia, we do not see any serious defaults yet," the expert concluded.

Arsen Savva also drew attention to that in connection with the pandemic the importance of services related to remote delivery, education, medicine, and retail has dramatically increased.

“The main favourite for the venture market, judging by the results of the forum, is the medical direction. It will compete with the venture favorite of the previous decade — IT sector," said the representative of the IVF RT.

The advent of information security 2.0

Large-scale work was carried out within the framework of another section of the forum — Cybersecurity of the New Time. The representatives of Russian and international companies, as well as leading security consultants, worked in this area.

During the three days of the event, experts had time to discuss cybersecurity in the era of business digitalisation, share their experience in the latest information security solutions and their implementation. A full-fledged master class on cyber studies was also held for the forum participants.

The main idea that can be highlighted following the results of the last forum is that classical approaches to ensuring computer security no longer work. The thing is that most often they are reduced to the desire to formally meet the requirements of regulators or mindless funds pumping into the purchase of IT solutions that are then not used properly.

During the three days of the event, experts had time to discuss cybersecurity in the era of business digitalisation, share their experience in the latest information security solutions and their implementation. Photo: pixabay.com

InnoSTage, IT company, which co-organised the forum, believes that two key factors hinder effective counteraction to computer threats: a lack of qualified personnel and a misunderstanding between businesses and security specialists.

InnoSTage CEO Aydar Guzairov spoke in detail about the first reason on the sidelines of Kazan Digital Week, pointing out that, according to international research, in 2020 the number of unfilled vacancies in the field of cybersecurity may reach a record figure of 3,5 million people, and over the past 5 years, the shortage of personnel has more than tripled.

As for the differences between information security specialists and business, the problem here is the desire of the former to “seal” the contour as much as possible and the inability of the latter to work effectively in such conditions.

The solution may be to implement the concept of the new generation of cybersecurity or information security 2.0. This approach consists of “talking to businesses in the language of business”, checking the company's resilience to identified critical incidents, selecting and implementing a system of protection against real-world attack vectors, creating cyber resilience centres in companies, and, finally, constantly checking the effectiveness of already implemented means and measures of protection.

Summing up the results of Kazan Digital Week, InnoSTage CEO Aydar Guzairov said that “the forum finished successfully”, despite a serious challenge that its organisers had to face.

“The event was conceived a year ago, and no one then could have imagined that we would have to consider an online format. Unfortunately, the pandemic made its own adjustments, but to the credit of all the organisers, no one flinched in the face of this challenge. A lot of work was done to transfer the conference into a new format in 4-5 months, which, in my opinion, requires more responsibility and team coherence compared to offline events. I think that the forum is finishing successfully," Aydar Guzairov spoke at the final press conference of Kazan Digital Week.

We also note that the cybersecurity section may become one of the key sections of the Kazan Digital Week forum in 2021.

Cybersecurity and artificial intelligence in fintech

It should be noted that experts from the neighbouring section — Fintech Ecosystem — showed great interest in the topic of cybersecurity.

According to Rafael Valeyev, the director general of Ak Bars Digital Technologies PLC, who is a co-organiser of the forum, the financial industry pays special attention to the organisation of information security. At the same time, the number of challenges in this area is growing, so the information presented at the event is of great value for the entire sector.

“Continuing to sum up, I would like to say that within our direction, interesting discussions were built around platform solutions in fintech, solutions in the field of AI, distributed registry and master chain. What is revealed in the format of such conferences is much more valuable than any official documents because there are insights from people who are leading in specific areas. We will take all these insights into account in our activities, developing new development directions and a new business strategy," concluded Rafael Valeyev.

Self-driving cars on roads and the “broad powers” of situation centres

As we wrote earlier, much attention was paid to the topics of intelligent transport systems and situation centers. Experts in these fields had a little more difficult time than colleagues from neighbouring sections, because during the final press conference they had to answer uncomfortable questions from the audience.

For example, the head of the state budgetary institution “road safety” Rifkat Minnikhanov was asked what, in his opinion, is the primary situation center or the regional management center. The official called this question political one but agreed to express his personal opinion on this matter.

“This is my opinion, I would not like it to be taken for the position of the republican authorities. Yes, there are situation centres, they are well spoken about, but even during the conference, I was faced with the fact that very few people work directly with the issue of situational centres. To be honest, in the regions, the developments of our republic do not arouse interest.

In my opinion, the situation centre is everything. At the forum, we talked about fintech and ITS — all this is done as part of the processing of certain data, and the manager receives decisions. In turn, the control centre of the region today, unfortunately, solves narrow tasks. First of all, they were talking about complaints and statements of citizens, and in the Republic of Tatarstan, it was decided by People's Control," said Rifkat Minnikhanov.

No less acute question was asked to the head of the department of organization and road safety at the MADI (Moscow Automobile And Road Construction State Technical University), Sultan Zhankaziev — it concerned the timing of the appearance of self-driving cars on the roads of Russia.

“The answer will be difficult. In general, this is one of the most discussed issues right now. It all starts with unmanned vehicles for certain types of tasks. Legislation in this part will be formed in the future 3-4 years. Taxis, cars for ordinary citizens — much later. The thing is that risks and threats are not fully modelled, despite the fact that there is a great risk of cyber attacks. At the same time, these cars are technically already made. I would also like to note that there is already legislation for pilot zones. In the mass segment, the legislation will appear when we answer the question of the extent to which a citizen is protected. There are different estimates, in my opinion, we are talking about the prospect of 7-8 years," the expert concluded.

By Lina Sarimova
Tatarstan