PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago: Tuesday 9th February, day 2 of CANTO CONNECT 2– 37th AGM & Mini Exhibition continued to keep attendees informed on the latest trends and best practices in the fast-evolving ICT sector. Based on online comments during the AGM, what was evident was the timeliness and the suitability of the topics selected for the presentations. As well, companies were represented by their senior tier executives with hands-on knowledge of the subject matter and their company’s services.

From territories including Mexico, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, Bermuda and the United States; presenters joined their Trinidad and Tobago-based colleagues to successfully deliver CANTO’s first virtual Annual General Meeting.

Tuesday’s topics focused on Cybersecurity and Telco Cloud Services, with participants of two powerful panels openly sharing their perspectives on the major developments in these areas.

Cybersecurity Panellists Vashti Maharaj, Digital Trade Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat; Michael Branco, CEO, Fireminds; Delroy McClean, Senior Director Enterprise, Government and Products, Cable & Wireless, Jamaica; Ricardo Marquez, Advanced Threat Solutions Lead, LATAM, for CISCO and Shernon Osepa, Director Caribbean Affairs and Development, Internet Society all highlighted the necessity of robust cybersecurity for protecting today’s business operations and indeed, the internet itself; especially as Covid-19 has driven private and public business,  their clients and customers online.

Trade Adviser Vashti Maharaj noted that cybercrime exceeded national boundaries. She posited that international collaboration should be considered to create resilient national laws. As well, there should be mandatory 3-5year reviews and constant monitoring built into national legal frameworks when formulating cyber laws. Maharaj also disclosed that the Commonwealth Secretariat would soon launch a repository of current digital laws and policies.

CEO Michael Banco reminded us that the pivot to work from home has irrevocably changed the IT landscape, creating multiple perimeters to protect, as staff now used non-company computers to conduct company business. He stated that cybersecurity agents should match and surpass the agility of attackers, allowing users to be able to log in from anywhere safely.  Senior Director Delroy McLean underscored that an ISP’s approach to cybersecurity should protect customers by default, raise public awareness of cyber threats and consistently improve security offerings. McLean noted that C&W sought to demystify cybersecurity stressing easy access, easy deployment and easy management of cybersecurity systems.

Threat Solutions Lead Ricardo Marques brought into focus the need to keep on top of malware tools, as he talked about incorporating AI and machine Learning to solve cybersecurity issues. To better safeguard cyber assets, Marques concluded that the preferred position of all cybersecurity defenders should be one where the defenders were making unpredictable moving targets and hackers were chasing these unpredictable rather than predictable targets.

A passionate call to action by Director Osepa closed the cybersecurity panel discussion, as he encouraged all speakers and AGM attendees to collectively protect and secure the internet. He put forward the options of joining the Internet Society’s, Mutual Agreed Norms on Routing Security

and/or the Global Encryption Coalition Groups as mechanisms for collaboratively strengthening global cybersecurity.

Following the online networking opportunities in the virtual lounge, attention turned to Telco Cloud Services in the second panel discussion.

Panellists Liam Donnelly, Global Chief Revenue Officer, Digicel Group; Abraham Smith, CEO, Digicel Trinidad; Peter Spratt, Director Telco Cloud Services, B2B, Cloud Solutions, Cable & Wireless Business; Connor McGowan, Vice-President, Fireminds International and Lisa Agard, CEO (Ag), Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago collectively showcased the resilience, security availability, agility, scope and privacy of cloud solutions operated by telcos versus public cloud offerings.

Chief Revenue Officer Donnelly reiterated that the changes precipitated by Covid-19 demanded technological integration. Cloud storage is a preferable option but should revolve around quarterly or half yearly monitoring models.  Donnelly also reasoned that telco cloud services are able to move data off island in time of natural disasters, to which the Region is often susceptible. He spoke about the need to effectively manage data and also suggested that more regulation was necessary for better protection of clients opting to utilise cloud services. Director Spratt noted that telcos own their own networks. Data Sovereignty, low latency, high throughput and extreme reliability were some of the advantages put forward by Spratt for selecting telco cloud services.

Vice-President, Connor McGowan of Fireminds International, a new addition to the ATN International family, stressed that Cloud growth was unprecedented but speculated that for some a key question remained, how do you get to the Cloud? McGowan noted that training and digital journey planning were priorities when utilising novel technological solutions such Cloud services. Lisa Agard, CEO (ag), in detailing TSTT’s track record in cloud services also advanced that data sovereignty was a major concern of many clients. Agard’s presentation drew reference to the fact that the uptake of Cloud services was notably in the finance, professional services, healthcare, government and manufacturing sectors. Similar to her fellow panellists, Agard affirmed that the suite of Telco Cloud Services may become indispensable to the successful growth of businesses locally and internationally.

Day 2 also witnessed the official AGM proceedings. Following the presentation of mandatory reports and the election of members and officers, David Cox was returned as CANTO Chairman for another term of office.

In his first duty as returning Chair, Mr Cox announced that CANTO’s 37th Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition will take place virtually from 19th-21st July 2021. Keep checking CANTO’s social media platforms and look out for more information in your inbox from the Secretariat on this major event on the CANTO calendar.

While some may miss the interactions and camaraderie of in-person activities, CANTO’s virtual events, which blend hard-hitting information and pleasurable entertainment continue to receive kudos from attendees, stakeholders and sponsors. Congratulations must be extended to the Board of Directors and the Secretariat for professionally hosting CANTO Connect 2- the 37th AGM and Mini Trade Exhibition.

Sponsorship for the 37th AGM was provided by Digicel Business, Cable and Wireless Communications, ATN International, Schneider Electric, Calix, Sasktel International, Internet Society, Tripwireless Inc, Telesur, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago, Viya Business Solutions, Integratouch, Ictual N.V., PBS Technologies (Trinidad) Ltd, Spatial Innovision Limited, LTE Executions.