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The changing security landscape in Mid East

Those days it was the centralized anti-virus consoles and the shiny new stateful-inspection firewalls hitting the ME market. The hoopla around it was just mind boggling.

In retrospect, having carried out several security audits, penetration testing and incident handling projects for nearly a decade now for many leading enterprises across the ME region, I still seem to be a bit intrigued at the speed at which the security landscape has changed and affected enterprises across the region.

As I recall, in the early days as security consultants we only had to deal with virus/worm outbreaks and Dos attacks. Though virus/worm outbreak still continues to be a prevailing issue with many enterprises in the gulf, primarily due to weak network designs but that’s an another topic to blog. Today as a consultant, I’ve personally seen the shifting trends in hacking – from the occasional virus/worm outbreaks to DDOS attacks to phishing to crimeware to botnets to email extortion threats, all of it happening here to enterprises in the middle east.

Enterprises today need to act fast to protect their systems, networks, applications and other resources. However, what still bothers me most is the lackadaisical attitude towards security issues practiced by many enterprises in the region.

Most organizations choose to handle security incidents by ignoring the problem completely. Most of them blindly believe that they did not have incidents in the first place and allow themselves to be lulled in to a bliss of ignorance. But as they say, ignorance is not always bliss, it’s dangerous and only a matter of time before an incident catches up.

As a matter of fact, we did noticed that most organizations have had a lot of security breaches even before we started auditing them, but since they failed to detect the security incidents in the first place they choose to ignore it.

Security Incidents do happen and can result in disastrous situations for the organization and only those organizations that are prepared for dealing with incidents can minimize the chances of a catastrophe and can get back to business in a fairly short period of time.

The age old adage, “chance truly favors the prepared mind” is especially true when it comes to dealing with security incidents. In the midst of an incident is not a wise decision to determine the course of action for your organization. If your organization is prepared and knows what to do then dealing with security incidents is pretty straight forward, if not it might result in many sleepless nights.

Preparation is of paramount importance and is very similar to insurance, you might not need it everyday but someday you will be thankful that you had it. It is imperative to prepare to make sure we have the resources and skills we need to deal with security incidents.

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