UAE CISOs Face an Uphill Battle in Preparedness for New Risks

Talent shortage and lack of emerging security technology skills are top challenges in achieving cyber resilience

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  • [Image source: Anvita Gupta/MITSMR Middle East]

    Did you know more than 71 million attempted cyber attacks in the UAE have been blocked in the first three quarters of 2023? Amid the significant development in the digital era, the cyber security system has emerged as critical for organizations and entities. 

    Surprisingly, when cybersecurity should remain among the key priorities for 2024 across businesses in the UAE, only 33% of organizations in the UAE consider cyber resilience a top priority and just 15-19% of CISOs regularly test their recovery plans, according to a new study from Palo Alto Networks and IDC Research.

    This result is significantly lower than the average among all surveyed countries (28%) across EMEA and LATAM markets.

    With geopolitical events, supply chain disruption, market complexity adding to the threat level, and a shortage of expertise to implement solutions to counter attacks, CISOs face an uphill battle.

    Fragmentation, resource demand, talent shortage, and lack of emerging security technology skills are the top challenges in achieving cyber resilience.

    According to the research, UAE organizations cited endpoint, network, and cloud as the top attack vectors. Endpoint detection and response and continuous authentication were listed as their top focus areas for cybersecurity investment.

    The research highlights a number of technology challenges – using mature cybersecurity controls for cyber resilience stands at just 11%, and most rely heavily on business continuity plans (74%), disaster recovery plans (72%), ransomware recovery plans (54%) and crisis management strategies (51%).

    Across EMEA and LATAM, the research found that less than half (40%) of organizations feel confident in overcoming a cyberattack without major disruption, highlighting the need to develop strategic initiatives and challenge existing toolkits to improve cybersecurity postures. Only 38% of CISOs across EMEA believe their cyber resilience state is mature.

    In the banking, financial services, and insurance industry, only 21% of CISOs in EMEA and LATAM  regularly test recovery plans. 

    However, the research reflects an appetite for making a culture shift around cyber resilience, with influence from senior leadership becoming increasingly important. The study found that 72% of respondents said board members are a primary driver of the organization’s focus on cyber resilience.

    Markets where cyber resilience is the biggest priority include Saudi Arabia (48%).

    Keen to know how emerging technologies will impact your industry? MIT SMR Middle East will be hosting the second edition of NextTech Summit.


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