IBM says 31% of UAE, Saudi firms unprepared for cyber attack

About a third of organisations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are still unprepared to respond to cybersecurity incidents, according to survey
IBM says 31% of UAE, Saudi firms unprepared for cyber attack
Of the organisations that do have a plan in place, almost half (49 percent) do not test their plans regularly.
By Sam Bridge
Wed 29 May 2019 02:12 PM

About a third of organisations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are still unprepared to respond to cybersecurity incidents despite the growing threat, according to new research.

Tech giant IBM Security announced the results of a study which showed 31 percent of respondents indicating they do not have a cybersecurity incident response plan in place.

While studies show that companies who can respond quickly and efficiently to contain a cyberattack within 30 days save over $1 million on the total cost of a data breach on average, shortfalls in cybersecurity incident response planning have remained consistent over the past four years of the study.

Of the organisations that do have a plan in place, almost half (49 percent) do not test their plans regularly, leaving them less prepared to effectively manage the complex processes and coordination that must take place in the wake of an attack.

“Responding to a cybersecurity incident in a planned and coordinated manner can be complicated and requires specialized expertise. Therefore, having a cyber security plan in place is no longer an option,” said Dr Tamer Aboualy, partner, IBM Security Services, Middle East & Africa.

“Cybersecurity attacks can be damaging financially and to the reputation of a businesses. Therefore, it is important that organizations deploy a cybersecurity incident response plan as it increases the likelihood of preventing incidents and reduces the time to detect, contain and respond to an attack.”

He added: "We have seen a rise of targeted attacks in the region and globally. Advanced malware has targeted many organizations with the goal of stealing information, corrupting disks and crippling their operations. Today, it is no longer a question of being a victim of a targeted attack but how organizations will respond and remediate such threats, causing minimal impact to their operations."

The survey also revealed that the cybersecurity skills gap is further undermining cyber resilience, as organisations are understaffed and unable to properly manage resources and needs.
In the survey, 74 percent of respondents reported that staffing for cybersecurity is very important but 72 percent rate their difficulty in hiring and retaining skilled cybersecurity personnel as moderately high to high.

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