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Tue 29 Nov 2016 01:00 PM

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Prevention is better than cure - take steps now to defend against cyber-attacks

SPONSORED CONTENT: UAE is blazing a trail for the rest of the region to follow but as the country has prospered, it has also attracted the attention of cyber-criminals

Prevention is better than cure - take steps now to defend against cyber-attacks
[Image: Shutterstock]

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a significant regional hub that continues to make headlines, and attract new businesses to its shores.

The Department of Economic Development reported that, in Dubai alone, some 22,000 SMEs set-up shop in 2015, an 18% jump year-on-year.

The country also boasts the most vibrant MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector within the Middle East, and thanks to continued investment and initiatives from the government, the country's business landscape is well positioned to grow for the foreseeable future.

The UAE is blazing a trail for the rest of the region to follow but as the country has prospered, it has also attracted the attention of cyber-criminals. According to an article published by The National newspaper in the UAE, a local bank came under cyber-attack in 2015, and was forced to reissue cards to its customers as a precaution against a possible breach. This wasn't an isolated incident, attacks against the country have risen significantly in the last few years.

There has been a dramatic increase in cyber-attacks aimed at the UAE over the past five years, and on a global level, it is estimated that 5% of all global cyber-attacks targeted the country. These are startling numbers and while cyber-attacks have mainly targeted financial institutions, and companies in the oil and gas sector, there's nothing stopping criminals from turning their gaze on firms in other sectors. As a matter of fact, any individual or company that already relies on digital systems or is in the process of digitising its systems, is a potential target.

Defending against known and unknown threats calls for a proactive approach to cyber-security, as prevention is always better than cure. In most cases an entity that has suffered an attack will spend more time and money picking up the pieces, than it would if it had invested in a solid security system that kept its digital assets secure in the first place.

Firms can kick-start the defence process by engaging the services of proven cyber-security specialists who can analyse the company and its digital footprint, no matter how complex and large it is. Ideally, the firm should be an end-to-end cyber security provider that specialises in governance, risk and compliance, cyber network defence, managed security services, infrastructure and system integration, and secure communications.

In an ideal world, every new organisation would invest in top notch cyber-security solutions right from the beginning, as a fully integrated system will provide the best defence against cyber-attacks. That said, capable cyber-security specialists will be able to build a solid defence by integrating modern security solutions into existing infrastructure.

Protecting against cyber-attacks also calls for employees within the organisation to be trained and informed about new and existing threats. This is because nefarious individuals can target employees, and use them to gain access to company data.

When it comes to cyber-security, consistent vigilance is essential.

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