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Saudi & UAE companies now automating, upskilling, and strategically planning to reduce risk

The much anticipated ‘State of Email Security Report’ from email security specialist Mimecast, is out and makes insightful reading. On the downside, it paints a picture of “markedly increased apprehension over the dire consequences of an email-borne attack” with 8 out of 10 I.T. specialists surveyed believing it is likely, extremely likely, or even inevitable that their organizations will suffer negative consequences this year because of an email-based cyberattack – 10% more resignation than last year. Mimecast puts the pessimism down to organizations now operating remote and hybrid working environments and being more reliant on email, collaboration tools and other electronic communications. On the upside, it says more IT executives, particularly in Saudi Arabi and the UAE, are looking to automate and upskill their cyber defenses.

Saudi Arabian and UAE participants in Mimecast’s global survey gave a pessimistic assessment of the year ahead: The vast majority said it is likely to inevitable that they will suffer a negative business impact from an email-borne attack in 2022. More than a third reported an increase in their attack surface across such vital departments as IT (36%), human resources (37%) and finance (35%). Citing the challenges ahead, more than three-quarters (76%) admitted their cybersecurity approach is reactive, not proactive but the good news, says Mimecast is that “Many of the IT executives seemed intent to turn the tide on digital transformation, with cyber defenses.

And here are the defensive approaches now being pursued:

  • Automation: Over half plan to automate incident response (53%) and data backup and protection (51%).
  • Strategic planning: Over four in 10 (44%) intend to use time gained through automation to focus on strategic priorities.
  • Enterprise-wide engagement: Almost half (48%) want to work more closely across the enterprise and with top management.
  • Upskilling: Almost half (49%) plan capacity-building within their security teams.

The Saudi/UAE survey respondents say they are defending against year-on-year increases in:

  • Cross-site scripting attacks: These web application attacks have increased by 43%.
  • Phishing: Malicious email volumes are up, said 40% of respondents.
  • Insider threats: Whether malicious employee misconduct or unintentional human error, insider threats are growing, said 39%.

Mimecast’s global survey with Saudi Arabian and UAE participation surfaced some additional insights:

  • Pessimism: In the UAE, 84% of executives and 92% in Saudi Arabia expect an email-borne attack will harm their businesses in 2022. The negativity is not reserved to the region, though. Worldwide, 81% of respondents believe their businesses are likely to inevitably going to suffer from an email-borne cyberattack.
  • Ransomware: 38% of UAE respondents and 16% from Saudi Arabia said their business operations had been significantly impacted by ransomware in the past year.
  • Email threats: 68% of UAE respondents and 58% from Saudi Arabia reported an increase in email threats in 2021.
  • Lagging: Despite growing cyberthreats, only 32% of UAE and 44% of Saudi Arabian respondents reported having a cyber-resilience strategy.

Regional Cyber Risk Landscape:

The Mimecast report says across the Middle East, malware attacks reached 161 million in the first half of 2021, up 17% year-on-year. The governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE continue to take steps to address the risk to their economies.

The UAE is taking steps to become as a trusted digital hub globally such as the adoption of cybersecurity standards for government agencies, a cybersecurity showcase of innovations and the recently unveiled UAE Personal Data Protection Law while in Saudi Arabia, the government has imposed national data privacy legislation, implemented a cybersecurity regulatory framework for communications service providers and updated cybersecurity provisions under the third revision of its Cloud Computing Regulatory Framework.

Are you Cyberfit to address the increasing threat landscape? Find out with our security assessment. We’ll identify any shortfalls and make the best recommendations to keep you safe! Call us now on +97144553100 or email: sales.uae@cobweb.com