UAE, Saudi firms still unprepared for cyber-attacks: IBM Security

Organisations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are still unprepared to respond to cybersecurity incidents, with 31 percent of respondents indicating they do not have a cybersecurity incident response plan in place, according to the latest study by IBM Security.UAE, Saudi, cyber-attacks, IBM Security

The report, conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Resilient, highlighted that companies who can respond quickly and efficiently to contain a cyber-attack within 30 days save over $1 million on the total cost of a data breach on average, shortfalls in proper cybersecurity incident response planning have remained consistent over the past four years of the study.

Of the organisations that do have a plan in place, almost half (49 percent) do not test their plans regularly, leaving them less prepared to effectively manage the complex processes and coordination that must take place in the wake of an attack.

“Responding to a cybersecurity incident in a planned and coordinated manner can be complicated and requires specialised expertise. Therefore, having a cyber security plan in place is no longer an option,” said Dr. Tamer Aboualy, partner, IBM Security Services, Middle East and Africa. “Cybersecurity attacks can be damaging financially and to the reputation of a businesses. Therefore, it is important that organisations deploy a cybersecurity incident response plan as it increases the likelihood of preventing incidents and reduces the time to detect, contain and respond to an attack.”

He added, “We have seen a rise of targeted attacks in the region and globally. Advanced malware has targeted many organisations with the goal of stealing information, corrupting disks and crippling their operations. Today, it is no longer a question of being a victim of a targeted attack but how organisations will respond and remediate such threats, causing minimal impact to their operations.”

The survey revealed that automation is still emerging as a cybersecurity response. Automation refers to enabling security technologies that augment or replace human intervention in the identification and containment of cyber exploits or breaches. These technologies depend upon artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics and orchestration. When asked if their organisation leveraged automation, only 19 percent of the respondents said they were significant users.

It also noted that cybersecurity skills gap is further undermining cyber resilience, as organisations are understaffed and unable to properly manage resources and needs. 74 percent of respondents reported that staffing for cybersecurity is very important to achieve a high level of cyber resilience. Furthermore, 72 percent of respondents rate their difficulty in hiring and retaining skilled cybersecurity personnel as moderately high to high.

Furthermore, organisations are finally acknowledging that collaboration between privacy and cybersecurity improves cyber resilience with 55 percent of respondents indicated that aligning privacy and cybersecurity roles is essential or very important.

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