By Ziad Nasr, General Manager, Middle East, Acronis
In today’s digital age, re-evaluating networks and cybersecurity operations is essential, particularly in the UAE, where the threat landscape is rapidly evolving. For instance, in 2021, the UAE witnessed an increase of 71% in cyber-attacks, emphasising the critical need to upgrade outdated systems, empower staff through training, adapt to emerging threats, establish effective incident response, and ensure compliance. Strengthening these pillars will safeguard data, fortify defences, and secure a resilient technology environment for sustained success.
Here are five signs that indicate it’s time for a protection makeover in the UAE:
Sign #1: Outdated Software and Hardware
Several organisations have been using outdated systems. Ageing equipment and software pose significant security risks, making clients’ systems susceptible to exploitation by cybercriminals. Upgrading to the latest hardware and software is a foundational step towards elevating your cybersecurity posture in the UAE.
Sign #2: Inadequate Employee Training and Awareness
In a 2020 survey, 59% of employees in the UAE reported work overload. Businesses often cite employee carelessness as a significant cyber risk. People are often the weakest link in an organisation’s cybersecurity defences. Empowering UAE employees with consistent training on recognising phishing attempts and secure browsing practices is essential. Educated and aware staff members become active in your clients’ cybersecurity defences.
Sign #3: Inability to Keep Up with Emerging Threats
Cybercriminals have been found in recent years to use advanced techniques such as polymorphic malware and zero-day exploits. According to reports, the Middle East has been among the significant regions affected by targeted attacks in 2022. Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies is a proactive measure that UAE-based businesses should consider to adapt and counter these advanced tactics.
Sign #4: Lack of Incident Response Capabilities
Every UAE business must have a comprehensive incident response plan per the National Electronic Security Authority’s (NESA) guidelines. If these processes are not well-defined and integrated, teams may face significant challenges when responding to and recovering from security incidents. Developing an incident response playbook in alignment with NESA’s guidelines ensures consistency and efficiency in your response and is crucial in establishing a resilient technology environment.
Sign #5: Lack of Compliance with Regulatory Requirements
Adherence to NESA regulations and broader data protection laws is crucial in the UAE. Non-compliance can lead to severe legal and financial consequences. For example, companies could face penalties for non-compliance with data encryption or any standards mandated by UAE law.
Avoid hardships by including:
Robust Data Encryption: Protect sensitive information at rest and in transit, minimizing the risk of exposure to unauthorised individuals.
Access Controls: Ensuring that applications and data can be accessed only by approved personnel is a critical step in reducing the likelihood of breaches and data loss.
Audit Trails: Detailed system records, as stipulated under the UAE’s Information Assurance Standards, help MSPs monitor user actions, detect suspicious activities, and demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.
Elevate Your Cybersecurity Posture:
This article emphasises the critical need to upgrade outdated systems, empower staff through comprehensive training, continuously adapt to emerging threats, establish effective incident response protocols, and rigorously ensure compliance with the relevant regulations.
By strengthening these pillars, businesses in the UAE can safeguard their most valuable data, fortify their defences against increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks, and create a resilient technology environment primed for sustained success.
In this context, elevating your cybersecurity posture is not just an IT task – it is a strategic business imperative affecting every organisation level. It requires commitment, investment, and a culture of security awareness that permeates every aspect of business operations.