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Thu 20 Nov 2008 09:00 AM

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Forrester: ‘Long way to go’ for ME information security

Principal analyst comments on the trends and challenges regional companies need to address

Local companies are yet to realise the enormity and importance of information security in this digital age, commented a principal analyst at Forrester Research.

“While multinational companies operating here and in multiple geographies follow the same security processes all over, local companies have a long way to go in terms of realising the importance of information security and running with it,” said Forrester analyst, Khalid Kark, in an interview with

Industry maturity levels also play a significant factor as the analyst estimates that the Middle East market is currently about three to four years behind the United States and Europe.

“I haven’t seen any data specific to this market that is credible. There is some vendor data but that’s very specific and statistically not significant,” commented Kark with regards to a general lack of primary research data related to the region.

“You need 500 to a 1000 people responding to a certain question to get a statistically significant trend, but here it is hard to find 50, let alone 500. Also, there is so much disparity in terms of maturity levels within the region itself that it’s hard to find consistent data and enough people that can answer those questions,” he added.

Presently, there is a lot of focus on infrastructure security related to firewalls, anti-spam and anti-virus, but that is a very small component of an overall security strategy that regional companies need to recognise.

“My recommendation would be to look at the US and Europe and try to catch up as quickly as possible because threats are becoming a lot more global than they used to be,” concluded Kark.

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Mohammed 11 years ago

Don't Forrester do research? Why are they saying there's no research in the Middle East? Don't they want to research the region? Or don't they want to buy IDC's research? And why do we always have to look at the US or Europe? Our banks in KSA are way ahead of what we have there...

Arun Zakaria 11 years ago

This is a very significant finding from Forrester.I believe Forrester is not trying to tell us to imitate US and Europe always but rather to see how much ME needs to wake up to reality. US and Europe have realized the importance of IT security and they take measures to mitigate risks.What is the explanation for Banks in the ME losing money due to credit card frauds and also not even disclosing how much money has been lost. If ME doesn't wake up to IT security, then people are going to have a great time exploiting the ME. Probably something happens and it will be too late for ME to realize that nothing was done. Anyways, I believe we are fortunate for companies like Forrester who can give insight into things that needs to be improved. Take the advice instead of clinging on to your beliefs that everything is going on smoothly.