Bridging Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity for the Future: Mitesh Jain, Akamai Technologies

Discover Akamai's mission to merge cloud computing and cybersecurity, revolutionizing tomorrow's digital landscape with Mitesh Jain, Country Manager, India, and SAARC, Akamai Technologies.

Punam Singh
Updated On
New Update
Blue Dark Professional Geometric Business Project Presentation  (2).png

Mitesh Jain, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Akamai Technologies

This exclusive interview with Mitesh Jain, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Akamai Technologies provides valuable insights into Akamai's revolutionary initiatives and its vision for the future of cloud computing and cybersecurity. The discussion sheds light on Akamai's pioneering approach to addressing evolving market demands, particularly in India.


The discussion begins with an in-depth overview of Akamai's newly launched generalized compute platform, Gecko, and its distinguishing features compared to offerings from other hyperscalers. It highlights the opportunities and challenges posed by advancements in AI technologies and emphasizes the importance of cyber resiliency in the face of evolving cyber threats, particularly those arising from AI-driven attacks.


DQ: Overview of Akamai’s generalized compute platform, Gecko, and how it differs from offerings by other hyperscalers currently available.


Mitesh: Before delving into Gecko, let's take a step back to understand how we got here. If we look back at history, particularly when the cloud emerged, likely in the late 2000s, it was inherently centralized, much like traditional mainframe architectures. As time progressed and cloud providers expanded their reach by adding more regions, they essentially replicated the same model: isolated compute data centers interconnected via the public Internet. While the cloud facilitated rapid application development and deployment for developers and enterprises without the hassle of managing infrastructure, it fell short in addressing low-latency scenarios and enhancing customer experiences.

Now, these are just some of the challenges that could potentially be addressed by a distributed cloud, where cloud services are not confined to a specific physical location or data center. Instead, infrastructure and all associated services are spread across hundreds of geographic locations, allowing for greater flexibility, scalability, and redundancy. The whole idea is to bring these cloud resources closer to end-users, devices, and a multitude of data sources. Currently, cloud architectures treat cloud and edge as separate entities. However, with Gecko or Akamai's generalized edge computing, we are changing that. Gecko represents our multi-year strategy to transform the cloud, bringing cloud computing to the edge by integrating cloud computing capabilities into Akamai’s massively distributed edge network, which we have built over 25 years. It merges the computing power of our cloud platform with the proximity and efficiency of the edge, enabling workloads to be placed closer to users than any other cloud provider does today.

If you examine traditional cloud providers, they typically support virtual machines (VMs) and containers in a relatively limited number of central data centers. Gecko is intended to expand this capability, as I mentioned earlier, to our extensive edge network, providing full-stack computing power to hundreds of previously inaccessible locations. Our belief is that what we're accomplishing with Gecko has the potential to redefine the cloud landscape for the next decade.


DQ: How AI integration is impacting the evolution of cloud and security landscapes, and what challenges arise from this integration?

Mitesh: With the integration of AI technologies, such as Gen AI, into cloud and security services, there is significant opportunity at a high level. Stepping back, while there's much talk about AI and Gen AI, Akamai has been leveraging AI and machine learning in our products for quite some time. Machine learning proves invaluable for tasks like anomaly detection, bot detection, verifying if the entity accessing a bank account with correct credentials is indeed the right person, and identifying malware-infected applications within an enterprise. Thus, we've been utilizing AI and machine learning in various ways.

Now, while GenAI generally benefits everyday people in various ways, unfortunately, it also aids attackers. It has become much easier to transform malware into numerous different forms, making detection incredibly challenging. Our teams have swiftly developed some highly sophisticated bots using GenAI. We are already witnessing increased penetration of our customers' systems as a result of GenAI. This is an area where active exploitation is occurring today. Consequently, the implications are clear: there is heightened cybersecurity risk for companies and enterprises, leading to an increased likelihood of breaches. Enterprises must strengthen their defense mechanisms, and for products like Akamai, segmentation becomes even more critical in light of this heightened risk.


The key lies in promptly identifying and proactively blocking these breaches. Shifting to the impact of AI on computing, let's take a moment to discuss. As mentioned, GenAI is poised to introduce more sophisticated and complex artificial intelligence models capable of handling a wide array of tasks. These advanced models, such as large neural networks, will necessitate significantly greater computational power for training and inference compared to current AI models. Additionally, with the growing availability and utilization of big data, GenAI systems will need to process vast datasets as before. Consequently, there will be a surge in demand for computational resources to effectively manage this expanding volume of information.

Now, to meet the computational demands of Gen AI, there will be a shift towards distributed computing and edge computing, which is what Gecko aims to address. Distributing AI workloads across multiple servers and utilizing edge devices for processing can enhance efficiency and reduce latency. Some examples include smart cameras for object detection, where surveillance cameras with built-in machine-learning models can identify and classify objects. Another example is health monitoring wearables, equipped with sensors for analyzing health data locally. 

These are just a few examples, but there are numerous other applications, such as e-commerce sites dynamically serving content to users in real-time or targeted advertising. Essentially, anything involving personalization or real-time data analysis, including security applications, will benefit from distributed and edge computing. This is where Akamai will have a competitive advantage, particularly with Gecko.


DQ: In your opinion, which sector in India currently exhibits the highest demand for cloud and security services? And why?

Mitesh: From what we observe in our business, we serve customers across various verticals, including financial services institutions, e-commerce companies, and large enterprises. Among these sectors, we notice a significant demand for our cybersecurity solutions. Regarding cybersecurity, I can break it down into four key pillars to provide a clearer understanding of how we perceive this market.

The first pillar is our App & API security, which comprises three essential services. Firstly, there's API security, which enables the discovery and monitoring of API behavior to swiftly respond to threats and abuse in real-time. Then, there's App & API Protector, designed to shield our customers' web applications and APIs from DDoS attacks, bots, and includes coverage for OWASP Top 10 exploits. Lastly, there's client-side protection and compliance (CPC), which aids companies in achieving PCI compliance and guards against client-side attacks.


The second pillar is zero trust security, which encompasses several services. However, I'd like to highlight one or two specifically. Firstly, Guardicore segmentation, a service designed to mitigate risks in companies through granular and flexible segmentation. Additionally, there's our access service, which assists customers in providing granular, application-based access based on individual identity and context.

The third pillar is abuse and fraud protection, which is garnering significant interest. Services like account protectors aid in mitigating account abuse, particularly beneficial for e-commerce customers aiming to expand their digital businesses. Another service is content protector, which thwarts scrapers and safeguards the intellectual property of our enterprise customers, thereby boosting conversions. Additionally, there's a bot manager that assists customers in distinguishing between good bots and bad bots within these verticals.

Finally, we have recently introduced a new service in the family of abuse and fraud protection called Audience Hijacking Protector. This service aids our customers in retaining site visitors and maximizing conversions.


Lastly, the fourth pillar is infrastructure security, which also comprises two key services. Firstly, there's our Edge DNS service, which serves as our external authoritative DNS solution. Additionally, there's Prolexic, for which we announced the opening of two scrubbing centers last year. This service assists customers in safeguarding their infrastructure from large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

DQ: Could you provide more insight into Akamai's vision and how it has evolved to meet the changing demands of Indian businesses and the market?

Mitesh: We recently celebrated our 25th year of operation, and in the APJ region, we've been active for over 20 years. India represents an incredibly exciting market for us, and it's a thrilling time for Akamai. Over the past 25 years, we've transitioned from being solely a CDN provider to becoming a comprehensive security and cloud computing provider. Through a combination of proprietary innovations and strategic acquisitions, we've expanded our offerings to encompass cloud delivery, cloud computing, and cloud security solutions, which we now provide to customers globally.

So, if you consider our history, we've been scaling and securing the internet for our customers for over 25 years now. What we've become is a full-stack cloud and security platform, possibly offering the world's most distributed cloud services. What I mean by this is that our customers today can scale everything, from content to cybersecurity, while bringing digital experiences closer to users and keeping threats at bay. Our customers, including those in India, recognize and trust us for this level of scale.

Currently, our focus is on scaling cloud computing to provide customers with improved performance at a significantly reduced cost. As mentioned earlier, India is one of the fastest-growing markets for Akamai. Globally, we collaborate with over 300 customers, powering some of India's largest conglomerates spanning e-commerce, banking, financial services, manufacturing, and numerous media and entertainment businesses. With the ongoing expansion of mobile technology and emerging trends such as 5G and AI in this region, we anticipate continued growth in our business. Therefore, we are deeply invested and committed to this region and anticipate sustained growth in India.

DQ: Could you outline Akamai’s go-to-market strategy for 2024 and the upcoming years, and how it will align with market trends and customer needs?

Mitesh: If we examine some of the key trends observed in India and across the region, there are a few notable ones. Firstly, cloud security is gaining significant traction among businesses, including those in India. Secondly, there's a growing emphasis on API security. This has emerged as a new attack vector, and Akamai, through the acquisition of Neosec, offers a solution to assist customers in safeguarding their APIs.

However, there are three broad trends that we believe will impact our customers in 2024. We also believe that these trends will bring opportunities for our business growth as we aim to address and solve some of the biggest challenges that our customers will face in 2024 and beyond.

The first trend is neuroscience and social engineering. We are already witnessing criminals increasingly utilizing the intersection between neuroscience and social engineering to exploit vulnerabilities for financial gains. This occurs because cognitive bias invariably influences our decision-making abilities, and attackers exploit these biases to manipulate individuals. Moreover, we are observing malicious actors devising new and creative methods to infiltrate targets with greater precision than ever before.

A notable example of this is the campaign that targeted in November last year. Our research teams at Akamai uncovered a sophisticated campaign in which attackers gained access to’s messaging system and sent customers a note within the platform, requesting them to update their credit card details. Many customers fell victim to this attack. In India, we are witnessing the emergence of similar attacks, such as those targeting the G20 website or airports that fell victim to ransomware attacks last year.

The second trend involves AI and the misinformation surrounding it. These modern AIs, as mentioned earlier, can automate research for social engineering attacks and create convincing deep fakes to propagate misinformation and disinformation. This is particularly concerning now as we approach elections, as we anticipate an increase in such activities. The consensus is that these issues will only exacerbate with the continued rise and growth of AI. AI-generated misinformation ranks higher than climate change, war, and economic weakness in the World Economic Forum Report 2024.

Number three, we will continue to see cost pressures. Again, this is nothing new; it's a perpetual problem that enterprises face. We believe 2024 will be no different because technology, when not optimized, can become one of the biggest cost line items on any company's balance sheet. As they adopt new technologies like cloud computing, bill shocks have become a major problem, which is what we're trying to solve with the Akamai Connected Cloud. We know many organizations are facing double-digit, even millions of dollars in cloud bills. Therefore, we believe we are positioned to capitalize on these trends through the Akamai Connected Cloud and the platform we have built, and the same will be reflected in our market strategy in India for 2024.

Additional Information about Akamai Technologies from Mitesh Jain:

Mitesh: Akamai is the world's most distributed cloud platform. What Akamai Connected Cloud does is it enable businesses in the region to control cloud costs in a more challenging economic environment that we are currently facing. We have a massively distributed footprint spanning 4,000-plus locations across 134-plus countries, with a significant portion of that network residing in India.

We discussed Gecko, which represents the next phase of our roadmap towards a more connected cloud. It builds on the momentum that we've achieved, starting with the acquisition of Linode. With the launch of Akamai Connected Cloud and the rollout of our new core compute regions around the world, Gecko further accelerates that momentum by combining the computing power of our cloud platform with the proximity and efficiency of the edge, bringing workloads closer to users than any other provider does today.

Number three, India is a major market for Akamai globally. As I just mentioned, we are already the one-stop shop for major enterprises in India to build, secure, and deliver their digital experiences. We reinforced our commitment to the Indian market earlier last year by launching Prolexic scrubbing centers in Mumbai and Chennai, and a new cloud computing site in Chennai last year.

We spent some time discussing AI and GenAI and believe that cyber-attacks generated through these technologies will make an appearance in 2024. Therefore, businesses in India across various sectors, whether they're in financial services or commerce, should focus on cyber resiliency.