The UAE has the highest infection rates from malware in the region – over 34 per cent – according to a survey by security consultant Trend Micro.
The survey also found that the region has a 100 per cent infection rate with 20 per cent of businesses experiencing an average of three security breaches in the last 12 months.
“Businesses, government entities only look for security solutions after they have been infected, but by then the damage has already been done,” said Ihab Moawad, vice president of Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa, Trend Micro.
In addition to increasing levels of cyber threats, the popular bring your own device (BYOD) trend has worsened the situation.
According to a Cisco study, around 46 per cent of employees in the Middle East bring at least one unsecured device to work with only 55 per cent of companies saying they had a plan to manage the use of these devices.
Furthermore, 65 per cent of employees do not realise the dangers of BYOD and potential enterprise security issues.
“With the rising threats of enterprise ICT security coming from unsecured devices, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to change their mind-set to ensure that their networks and vital information continue to be protected,” said Osama Rasoul, sales manager, network architectures, Cisco
However industry experts said that the region’s decision makers should prioritise IT security as a top corporate strategy.
“IT risk in whole is not taken seriously enough in this region. It is not just the cyber security threat but all the risks that is associated with technology,” said Darren Thomson, CTO and enterprise strategy, EMEA Symantec.
“But IT risk topic deserves a seat at the table- at the board level in large enterprises, just in the same way that most large companies would manage other business risks.”