News, Security, Software

Cloud security a top priority for UAE firms

Palo Alto Networks has recently announced the results of its 2017 cloud security survey, coinciding with the Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Summit 2017 in secure

Surveying over 1,000 IT decision-makers in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the survey explores the state of cloud adoption and security amongst organisations in the region.

According to the report, UAE-based CIOs agree: cloud security is a top priority. On a scale of 0-10, with 10 being “very important”, cloud security ranked as an eight or higher by the majority of UAE CIOs (56 percent), according to the Palo Alto Networks survey.

Market figures back this up, with research firm IDC forecasting information security spend across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa to reach a record high of $2 billion in 2017.

Ercan Aydin, Tarek Abbas, Palo Alto Networks; and Alex Hinchliffe, Unit 42
(L-R) Ercan Aydin and Tarek Abbas, Palo Alto Networks; and Alex Hinchliffe, Unit 42

Organisations are rapidly adopting cloud technologies, and moving applications and data into a diverse set of cloud offerings, spanning public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and SaaS.

In the UAE, a shift towards digitalisation, Internet of Things and cloud computing is boosted by ambitious mega-projects and initiatives, such as UAE Vision 2021, that are expected to have positive impact on the country’s IT services market.

The Palo Alto Networks survey found that private cloud is the most popular cloud computing solution amongst enterprises in the UAE, with 26 percent of respondents stating their company has adopted this. Fifteen percent of respondents preferred the public cloud, and a further 16 percent stated that they did not have any cloud computing solutions deployed, but they planned to make the shift to the cloud in the near future.

“As more organisations move to the cloud to take advantage of increased operational efficiencies and lower costs, security needs to keep pace with the new dynamic environments in which businesses operate. Customers need a holistic, integrated and automated approach across their entire architecture from the network and data centre to the cloud,” said Ercan Aydin, Regional Vice President, Emerging Markets, Palo Alto Networks.

With 46 percent of respondents admitting to having experienced a security incident, or being unsure if an incident has taken place, security vigilance needs be a top priority when it comes to the cloud. Of those surveyed, more than 50 percent stipulated that firewall (60 percent) and password protection (63 percent) were among the top security systems that their companies deploy to protect themselves against security breaches, indicating that there is a lack of understanding when it comes to securing applications and data in the cloud. Regardless of the size of the organisation, a prevention-focused, natively engineered security platform that is simple to deploy and scalable to meet future growth demands is ideal.

“Security breaches and vulnerabilities make the headlines too often these days, and this could threaten trust in the digital age. With workloads and data increasingly distributed across physical and cloud computing environments, organisations need to have security in place that provides visibility, control and prevention of known and unknown threats, and which protects data, regardless of where it resides,” said Aydin.

Palo Alto Networks advised that organisations should have consistent security policies across physical and virtualised environments. It’s essential to fully maximise the use of computing resources to control traffic between workloads, while preventing the lateral movement of threats, and centrally manage security deployments and streamline policy updates.


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