Companies in UAE prioritise data protection amid increased concerns around possible breaches


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90% of organisations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) believe data protection is absolutely vital in their security strategy as they look to combat an increasingly complex threat and regulatory landscape. This is according to the Enterprise Security Trends in the UAE survey, conducted by the IDC and commissioned by Microsoft, which examines the latest changes and causes for concern in cloud security across all industries in the UAE.

The study reveals that enterprise-wide cloud adoption is on the rise as business leaders certify some flexibility, agility and business continuity throughout day-to-day operations. According to IDC’s research, over 70% of companies had accelerated their digital transformation plans by at least a year and cloud is a major driver of this. Confidence in cloud solutions continues to grow as organisations are having to navigate a post COVID-19 world.

An ever-changing threat landscape

The top security challenge for UAE businesses in the last year has been ransomware and malware attacks and as a result, endpoint protection, which included anti-malware and anti-ransomware, came out as the primary security solution being used by IT departments.

The increased processing of data in the cloud has caught the attention of bad actors and there’s been a noticeable increase in cyber attacks. In fact, the UAE saw a 250% jump in cyber attacks during the course of 2020. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people to learn, work, shop, bank and connect online than ever before. More devices, networks and connection points have resulted in the expansion of the threat surface, bringing the need for a robust security strategy to the fore.

“There’s no doubt the risk landscape has become more complex and while cybersecurity solutions have matured a great deal, threat actors are not idling. As organisations continue to pursue their digital transformation journey, security has to be considered every step of the way to ensure a safer digital environment for all,” says Mohammed Arif, Business Group Director, Modern Work and Security, Microsoft UAE.

At the same time, organisations are feeling the pressure from government regulators to ensure company, employee and customer data remains protected. The adoption of security governance, risk and compliance (GRC) services has helped to drive compliance in today’s digital economy and as a result, 95% of organisations have put customer data protection at the top of their security strategy agenda.

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