Mimecast, an advanced email and collaboration security company, today announced the publication of its annual “The State of Email Security 2023” (SOES) report. The global survey is based on responses from 1,700 IT and security decision-makers, providing readers with key takeaways on the current threat landscape and offering recommendations to help organizations improve their cybersecurity posture.
The global report sheds light on the threats affecting companies across the globe, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Ninety four of respondents from the UAE and 100% from Saudi Arabia reported to have been targeted by emailed-based phishing attacks in the last year, but they all said that they either have a system to monitor and protect against email-borne threats or are actively planning to roll one out.
Highlights from this year’s report
Cyber awareness in the C-suite – As cyberattacks continue to become more sophisticated, business leaders in the region have shown greater willingness to confront the risks involved and invest in proper measures to keep cyberattacks at bay. On average, 95% of companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia reported needing stronger protection for their Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace applications, while 61% said their company needs to spend more on cybersecurity. However, all companies reported some form of cyber awareness training at their workplace, thus indicating a greater alertness to future attacks. With the increased focus on cyber preparedness by the C-suite, CISOs feel more empowered to articulate their requirements and implement strategies and tactics that will make their organization more secure.
Collaboration tools, essential but risky – With workforces still divided between the office and remote locations, collaboration tools remain an essential yet risky part of communicating with team members. Eighty four percent of SOES participants in UAE and as many as 94% in Saudi Arabia agree that collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack are essential to their working function, but 82% from both countries expect to be harmed in 2023 by a collaboration-tool-based attack. The sharp increase in the use of these tools puts it directly in the minds of CISOs to ensure that adequate security measures are put in place for them to continue working protected while using them.
Improved cyber preparedness – There is a growing realization that cyber risk isn’t just an IT problem — it’s a critical vulnerability that directly equates to overall business risk. As such, organizations are taking the necessary measures to prepare for impending attacks. Half are using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help under-resourced teams stay ahead of the curve, while the other half have plans to implement such measures. The use of AI tools will undoubtedly help under-resourced cybersecurity teams stay ahead of attacks and manage threats accordingly. Sixty four percent of Saudi Arabian respondents cited threat prevention as the top benefit of implementing AI, while 54% of organisations in UAE said reduced human error across the company was the biggest advantage. Overall, most companies believe that AI systems will help revolutionize the ways in which cybersecurity is practiced.
“Supply chain vulnerabilities, the rise of online collaboration and the growth of digital networking are among the chief reasons the cyber landscape is becoming more treacherous. The intersection of communications, people, and data carries a tremendous amount of risk, as malicious actors exploit the interconnectedness of the modern work surface,” says Werno Gevers, regional leader of Mimecast Middle East. “Our research shows that corporate boards have finally woken up to the realisation that cyber risk is business risk, so it’s time for CISOs to make the case for increased budgets and greater cyber resiliency.”