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Cybersecurity. Get the full picture.

Security professionals in the Middle East and Africa have shared their insights about cyber threats, security challenges and opportunities in 2018.



There are two types of companies: those who have been hacked, and those who don’t yet know they have been hacked.

John Chambers, former CEO, Cisco

What is keeping IT security professionals up at night?

In the Middle East and Africa, 94% of companies admitted they have suffered a cyber attack in the past year.

The real number may be even higher: not all companies detect (or admit) they had breaches. Hackers are getting much better at disguising their attacks, so they can remain undetected for a longer period of time and extract more data.

For 25% of organisations in the Middle East and Africa, the lack of security personnel is one of the biggest obstacles to security.

Decreasing the skill gap is critical to the region in order to meet country digitisation transformational plans and to secure critical assets as economies become increasingly more knowledge-based.

23% of companies in the Middle East and Africa manage more than 21 vendors.

Reducing complexity is a challenge at the top of most security professionals' agenda.

Only 58% of security alerts in the Middle East and Africa are investigated. Of those, 39% are legitimate, but only 53% of legitimate alerts are remediated.

This means that only 12% of all alerts in the region are remediated, which could pose a threat to a company’s security.

46% of MEA companies suffer from cyber fatigue

These companies are so overwhelmed by security demands that they are struggling to remain proactive on threat detection. It is crucial that companies continue to invest in staying ahead of hackers and also prepare to detect and respond faster to any cyber attacks.

The impact of cyber attacks in the Middle East and Africa

48% of attacks in the Middle East and Africa resulted in damage over $500,000.

This damage includes the costs of repairing systems as well as other financial losses, such loss of revenue and customers.

58% of organisations in the Middle East and Africa have suffered public scrutiny due to a breach.

This could have a negative impact on brand image and customer loyalty.

34% of Middle Eastern and African breaches resulted in more than half of a company’s systems being impacted.

It can take a lot of time, resources and budget for a company to recover from a large-scale cyber attack. Companies should always assume the worst may happen and have a plan in place, which should cover not only data back up and incident response plans but also how to deal with the breach from a public relations and legal perspective.

58% of companies in the Middle East and Africa had to manage an outage of more than 5 hours in the past year due to a breach.

Longer outages will always be a headache for any organisation, but in industries that offer critical infrastructure services, such as utilities, healthcare or transportation, an outage may pose a risk to the safety and wellbeing of thousands of citizens.

Understanding the future of cyber security protection

Middle Eastern and African companies are relying heavily on new technology to reduce the effort needed to secure their organisations:
• 83% rely on automation
• 78% rely on machine learning
• 77% rely on artificial intelligence

Technology can be a great ally in reducing the burden of managing complex IT security infrastructures. However, it is only a part of the equation. A strong cyber security posture relies on a combination of advanced technology, clear processes and qualified people.

Hungry for more data?

Read the global study findings on the Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report (pages 46 – 68).

About the Cisco 2018 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study

The Cisco 2018 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study offers insights on security practices currently in use, and compares these results with those of the 2017, 2016, and 2015 studies. The global research involved more than 3600 respondents across 26 countries and the findings are available on the Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report.

This page displays an excerpt of the EMEAR data, which included the responses from security professionals in the following countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. The data displayed here focuses on 3 areas of the study: security challenges, cyber attacks and adoption of new technology.