Cloud security needs to become a higher priority

Mazen Dohaji, Vice President – iMETA, LogRhythm in conversation with Security MEA talks about the evolving cybersecurity landscape and explained that with the cloud adoption gaining momentum, cloud security needs to the priority for the organisations in the region

How would you describe the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East & Africa?
In the Middle East, the continued roll-out of digitization initiatives, such as UAE Vision 2021, has significantly increased the threat landscape and subsequently the risk of cyberattacks on organizations and critical infrastructure.

Similarly, in Africa, there has been a rise in cybersecurity threats and malicious activities due to rapid internet deployment and the growing demand for new emerging and advancing technology, without considering the concurrent cybersecurity needs.

Now, we are faced with a cybersecurity gap across the continent.

As digital capacity in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) continues to develop, cybercriminals have set their sights on the region, classing them as a major target. Any successful cyberattack has the potential to cause mass disruption and chaos through compromised critical infrastructure and could impact the safety of citizens.

To manage the region’s growing array of cyberthreats, MEA governments and security teams must increase investments in cybersecurity capabilities and consider this a top business priority. Organizations should focus on building a proactive ‘security-first’ approach to take full advantage of the digital revolution and tackle the ever-growing threat landscape.

Is the adoption of cloud technologies expanding the threat landscape, what’s your take on cloud security in the region?
With digital innovation comes new security threats. Digital transformation will continuously present organizations with fresh challenges and will expose their weak spots to cybercriminals and threat actors. As more organizations across MEA adopt new cloud technologies and the potential number of targets increases, so will the threat landscape.

This puts companies in a tough situation and creates ongoing conflict between deploying new cloud capabilities and managing changing security needs. Finding the right balance to achieve seamless cloud adoption is crucial.

Cloud security needs to become a higher priority for businesses within the MEA region. Deploying a mixture of threat detection, protection and mitigation measures will enable organizations to reap the rewards of a highly connected digital environment.

How can regional enterprises prioritise the security of cloud and the services they offer on cloud? Also, how can they better support their workforce in a cloud-first world?
To best ensure cloud security, organizations need to invest their resources into deploying and maintaining a cybersecurity strategy that will work long-term, in an evolving threat landscape.

Early detection and response capabilities are an essential part of protecting organizations in MEA from cloud-based attacks. Without rapid threat detection, attackers have more than enough time to compromise sensitive data and potentially damage the entire organization. Deploying automated detection and mitigation security tools can help an organization build confidence in their cloud environments and remove the fear around business growth.

Another core part of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy should be educating and teaching its workforce about cybersecurity and how to successfully identify potential compromises within the cloud – employee training is vital. This approach fosters a security-first mindset within across the business, with minimal restrictions or changes to how staff utilize digital applications. As cloud technologies become increasingly present, practising secure habits, as well as spotting the key elements of an attack could be the difference between an organization falling victim, or being able to effectively mitigate the issue.

In a multi-cloud era who takes ownership in the case of a security breach?
The cloud has many advantages within the workplace; simplified shared access, the enablement and ease of implementing remote working and unlimited scalability. However, greater accessibility has the potential to leave cloud technologies vulnerable to data security breaches.

Even though multi-cloud services are usually secure, configuring and using them safely is often a task that relies on an organization’s Security Operation Centre (SOC) team. Defending multi-cloud environments presents an opportunity for CISOs to take charge of their organization’s security outcomes through education; by raising awareness within the workforce on the importance of protecting sensitive data and taking responsibility for the data in case of a breach.

Keeping this data secure is essential for both the seamless running of businesses and the protection of its customers and their personal data. Organizations must take full ownership of the security of the cloud technologies they deploy.

How are you helping regional enterprises and what is the road ahead?
Over the last year, LogRhythm has seen threat actors use new tactics to launch evermore harmful and sophisticated attacks. Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to get around organizational defenses and trick vulnerable employees into helping them launch a cyberattack.

With MEA set to roll out further digital initiatives, including Saudi Vision 2030, LogRhythm is providing extra cybersecurity support to protect national security, critical infrastructure, high-priority sectors, and government services and practices.

Robust cybersecurity tools are instrumental in rapidly detecting, investigating and neutralizing threats challenging the reputation and security of an organization. Our Security Information and Events Management (SIEM) platform is just one example of the security solutions we provide to help regional organizations achieve a greater foundation for fighting threats.

Beyond this, the future of cybersecurity should be led by a predictive approach to stop attackers in their tracks.

Predictive security is the differentiator that enables organizations to take their security efforts to the next level. Technologies powered by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) offer a great deal of promise by significantly reducing the required human effort involved in identifying suspicious patterns and trends of behavior. This means that organizations will no longer be left trying to guess a cybercriminal’s next move. Achieving a secure future in MEA will require organizations to reconsider their security priorities and be ready to defend their infrastructure.