Regulation remains the strongest multiplier to cybersecurity growth, according to report from Frost & Sullivan

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In 2023, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) actively repelled more than 50,000 cyberattacks daily, according to the UAE Cybersecurity Council. In the first three quarters of the same year, the country successfully prevented over 71 million attempted attacks in total.

These findings, highlighted in a report from analysts Frost & Sullivan (F&S), show the exponential growth of the region’s cybersecurity landscape – and serve as a sobering reminder of the rising threats that accompany it.

As the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) cybersecurity industry continues to grow – with F&S estimating it to triple in value by 2030 to reach US$13.4 billion – countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia continue to reduce their dependence on oil exports and are instead opting for digital tools and technologies.

This shift in economic agenda has made businesses increasingly prone to escalating cyber threats, with regional geopolitical instability further driving vulnerability across key sectors.

The detailed report, titled ‘Middle East Cybersecurity: Exploring the Middle East Cybersecurity Market Potential’, was released ahead of GISEC Global 2024 – the Middle East and Africa’s largest and most impactful cybersecurity super-connector, which returns to Dubai World Trade Centre from 23-25 April. In collaboration with Frost & Sullivan, it aims to identify the challenges and opportunities facing the region’s expanding industry.

 

The Middle East braces for escalating cyber threats

In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, specifically, there has been a dramatic uptick in the adoption of technology across the finance, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors, further boosting the need for cybersecurity and robust regulatory frameworks.

Contributing to the existing challenges with increased reliance on technology are issues around awareness and a scarcity of skilled professionals, as well as a lack of clarity among businesses regarding proactively combating cyberattacks.

In response to these industry-wide shortcomings, and as the region continues to navigate the global overhaul of technology, countries in the Middle East are taking measurable steps to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

Setting up cyber-specific departments and innovation centres, driving awareness through educational campaigns and training programmes, and promoting entrepreneurship through cybersecurity conferences are just some of the ways that the region is equipping the next generation and bridging the existing skills gap.

In fact, as per the ITU Global Cybersecurity Index 2020 highlighted in the report, Saudi Arabia has ranked second, and the UAE fifth, among 194 participating countries, indicating that both countries have taken extensive measures in terms of regulatory approaches.

As a result, they have become destinations of choice for academics, businesses, research, and innovation, with the UAE government launching the first national Cyber Pulse Innovation Centre aimed at upskilling professionals at Abu Dhabi Polytechnic.

 

GCC Countries take confident steps towards building cyber resilient posture

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain have also established the National Cybersecurity Authority, the National Electronic Security Authority, and the National Cybersecurity Centre, respectively, to oversee ongoing industry efforts.

Parminder Kaur, Director and Head of Security Advisory, MEASA, Frost & Sullivan

Parminder Kaur, Director and Head of Security Advisory, MEASA, Frost & Sullivan, said: “Compliance and regulation remain the strongest multipliers for cybersecurity growth. The proliferation of technology has greatly increased organisational exposure to complex cyber risks, while the surge in e-commerce and digital banking across the Middle East has generated a heightened need for security. As a nerve centre for the oil and gas industry – as well as several large financial institutions and fintech startups – the region is fast-becoming a preferred provider of next-gen cybersecurity products and services worldwide, requiring a stringent approach to cybersecure solutions that protect both financial dealings and personal data.”

As the Middle East continues to develop a robust cybersecurity infrastructure and economy, it remains one of the most promising global regions for industry growth; its commitment to regulation, cybersecurity training, and supply chain security set it apart as an industry leader with an ambitious vision to integrate technologies and meet evolving client needs.

Organised by DWTC and hosted by UAE Cyber Security Council, the upcoming GISEC Global 2024 exhibition is a testament to the UAE’s prioritisation of collaboration, innovation, and talent development.

Bashar Bashaireh, Managing Director of Cloudflare

“GISEC is the ultimate cybersecurity event in the region,” said Bashar Bashaireh, Managing Director of Cloudflare, which is set to participate in the exhibition for the third time. “GISEC is the ideal place to meet present and future customers and partners and engage in new conversations around cybersecurity with relevant audiences.

“We are in a very dynamic and innovation-hungry region and are witnessing an increase in cybersecurity awareness and leadership across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman. Organisations will need to accelerate their digital transformations and undergo modernisation efforts through the adoption of technologies that can counter increasingly sophisticated cyberattack attempts.”

Kenneth D’Souza, Marketing Manager of Spire Solutions

Spire Solutions, a proud partner of GISEC since its inception, will also be attending the super-connector event with one of the largest stands in the exhibition. Kenneth D’Souza, Marketing Manager of Spire Solutions, commented on current industry conditions, saying: “The GCC cybersecurity market is poised for growth, with areas such as identity access, IoT, and cloud security – which were merely debated earlier – have developed into major challenge areas for organisations across the region.

“Several Middle Eastern countries, most notably the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are at the forefront of achieving their cybersecurity objectives. Bolstered by government initiatives and massive awareness for a safer digital expansion, organisations in the region are investing heavily in cybersecurity measures to establish efficient, measurable, and sustainable business frameworks.”

 

The Middle East and Africa’s largest and most impactful cybersecurity event

GISEC Global 2024 will welcome over 20,000 visitors and 750 of the world’s foremost exhibiting companies, such as Huawei, Honeywell, du, Microsoft, Google Cloud Security, Kaspersky, Cloudflare, Qualys, Spire Solutions, and Pentera. More than 350 global cybersecurity speakers, and over 1,000 ethical hackers from 130-plus countries will come together at the 13th edition of the Middle East and Africa’s largest and most impactful cybersecurity event.

To learn more about GISEC Global 2024, visit: www.gisec.ae

 

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