Nine out of 10 organisations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have said data protection is the most important priority in their security strategy as they look to navigate an increasingly complex threat and regulatory landscape. This is according to the Enterprise Security Trends in the UAE survey, conducted by the IDC and commissioned by Microsoft, which highlights the latest cloud security developments across all industries in the UAE.
The research reveals that enterprise-wide cloud adoption is increasing as business leaders look to ensure flexibility, agility and business continuity throughout their daily operations. The IDC found that over 70 percent of companies had accelerated their digital transformation plans by at least a year, and cloud is a major driver of this. Confidence in cloud solutions continues to grow as organizations prepare to navigate a post COVID-19 world.
An ever-changing threat landscape
The increased processing of data in the cloud has caught the attention of bad actors and there’s been a noticeable increase in cyberattacks. In fact, the UAE saw a 250 percent jump in cyberattacks during the course of 2020. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people to learn, work, shop, bank and connect online than ever before. More devices, networks and connection points have resulted in the expansion of the threat surface, bringing the need for a robust security strategy to the fore.
The top security challenge for UAE businesses in the last year has been ransomware and malware attacks, and as a result, endpoint protection, which included anti-malware and anti-ransomware, came out as the primary security solution being used by IT departments.
At the same time, organizations are feeling the pressure from government regulators to ensure company, employee and customer data remains protected. The adoption of security governance, risk and compliance (GRC) services has helped to drive compliance in today’s digital economy, and as a result, 95 percent of organizations have put customer data protection at the top of their security strategy agenda.
“There’s no doubt the risk landscape has become more complex, and while cybersecurity solutions have matured a great deal, threat actors are not idling. As organizations continue to pursue their digital transformation journey, security has to be considered every step of the way to ensure a safer digital environment for all,” says Mohammed Arif, Business Group Director, Modern Work and Security, Microsoft UAE.