UAE – As IT becomes more prominent in the UAE economy, more and more internal connections between people and systems are created, all of which need to be secured
The UAE recently appointment the world’s first minister of artificial intelligence (AI), as the country sets on a path to rapid technological advancement.
Dubai launched its US $1bn Future Fund for tech innovation in 2017, and national information and communications technology spending remains high, with IT investment in the UAE estimated to be $16bn last year.
As the number of tech initiatives and tech users proliferates, however, the need for internal IT security protection increases. Although not highlighted as much as attacks from external players, a high number of breaches are from internal sources.
“The UAE has always been quick to adopt new technologies, such as AI, smart initiatives, cloud and the like,” said Haritha Ramachandran, associate director, digital transformation practice, at Frost & Sullivan. “But it is crucial to ensure that security as an underlying theme is not forgotten, and there is always an update for the new initiatives and national strategies.”
Ramachandran notes that, in the past five years, UAE organisations have made IT security a priority, particularly in the banking and telecoms sectors. However, she says firms will need to pay increased attention to internal security practices as the use of cloud, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and social media proliferates in the country.
Scott Manson, cyber security lead, Middle East and Africa, at Cisco, agreed that an extremely cautious approach to internal security was required. “You can lock every window and bolt every door to keep out intruders, but it won’t be of much use if the attacker is already inside; as an insider,” he said.
“Most security reports and headlines highlight stories of organisations that are attacked by an external party, but incident statistics highlight a growing number of attacks from insiders and partners. These incidents are real, and threaten your most sensitive information,” said Manson.
From Computer Weekly