UAE financial organisations under pressure to increase security: Survey
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UAE financial organisations under pressure to increase security – survey

UAE financial organisations under pressure to increase security – survey

Banks and FSIs come under pressure from government, shareholders, employees and customers as security risks increase during the pandemic

Divsha Bhat

According to a recent Citrix research, 82 per cent of IT decision-makers in banks and financial service institutions (FSIs) in the United Arab Emirates are under pressure to improve their security measures. This comes as 72 per cent of respondents believe the industry’s IT security threats have increased since the Covid-19 outbreak. Employees are the most likely to urge their employers to improve security, with 67 per cent of IT professionals reporting pressure from this group, followed by consumers (48 per cent), government (45 per cent), and shareholders (31 per cent).

A total of 66 per cent of respondents say security has risen to the top of their organisation’s priority list in the last 18 months. They are joined by another 31 per cent who say it has been a significant priority for years.

“It is no surprise that security has become an even greater priority since the pandemic began,” says Amir Sohrabi, area vice president for emerging markets at Citrix. “As remote work became ubiquitous overnight, and employees were more likely to be distracted by personal and professional stressors, cyberattacks have increased across the globe. This research highlights that both internal and external stakeholders have recognised the challenges, which are especially pertinent in a sector like finance.”

Despite the rise in cyberattacks and the shifting expectations and constraints placed on them, 95 per cent of IT decision-makers say they are satisfied with their IT security solutions, and 86 per cent feel that their organisation’s IT security teams have all the skills necessary to deal with today’s challenges.

This confidence may come, at least partly, from the fact that many organisations are replacing their traditional VPN solutions with zero trust, cloud-based services.

Furthermore, 90 per cent of IT decision-makers report that they are satisfied with the digital workspace solutions their organisation has used to support remote work over the past 18 months.

While most IT decision-makers feel they have the right teams in place to support their organisations’ current security posture, there may be challenges on the horizon. Eighty-seven per cent of respondents admit that they will need to hire externally to get the right skills in the future, and 87 per cent feel that at some point, IT security teams in their organisation will need to be entirely reskilled.

Additionally, the study reveals certain shortcomings in broader security training for bank and FSI employees. For example, security training for all employees at their company is offered less than once a year, said 31 per cent of respondents, with 1 per cent saying it is provided every six years or less.

“The challenges caused by the pandemic and the pressures put on IT decision-makers by key stakeholder groups have led to security soaring up the priority list for many financial organisations,” comments Amir Sohrabi. “The last 18 months have clearly been a time of great change, with new technologies being implemented, so it’s highly encouraging to see most IT managers in this sector adapt and accelerate, to ensure they have the correct security posture in place.”

“However, this is no time to get complacent, and there is clearly an opportunity for businesses to future-proof their security by upskilling their IT teams and providing regular training for the wider employee group,” he adds. “There has been an alarming increase in cyberattacks since the start of the pandemic, and many of these come as a result of human error. The importance of dedicated annual training, therefore, cannot be underestimated.”

Recently, Netscout revealed why businesses must invest into cybersecurity. Gaurav Mohan, VP Sales – SAARC & Middle East, Netscout said “Companies need to make ongoing investments in security to adapt to today’s constantly evolving threat tactics. The more robust a defense is, the more capable a company will be in fending off the growing number of cyber threats.”

Read: The rising cost of cybercrime: Why businesses must invest in cybersecurity

Also Read: Cisco partners with the Saudi cybersecurity institution to enhance digital skills in the kingdom

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