Expert: Reducing the risk of cyber attacks in the Middle East

September 8, 2018 10:10 am

Cyber-attacks around the world are on the rise. Whether they result in a data breach or a disruption in network or service availability, a criminal cyber activity can have a huge financial impact on an organization. The costs can include cleaning up and restoring a network as well as reestablishing trust with partners and customers alike. According to a 2017 research study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in the Middle East alone has reached $4.94 million.

Whether it involves the theft of millions of customer credit card numbers or theft of Intellectual Property (IP), a cyber attack can impact more than just the bottom line. As we’ve seen from high-profile cases in the news, your organization’s reputation can be at stake.

To mitigate the risks associated with an attack and achieve cyber resilience, you need to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and partner with trusted vendors.

Read: 7 Key cyber threat areas for Gulf governments, organizations

5 steps towards creating greater cybersecurity

Increasing your organization’s cybersecurity can seem like a daunting task. But the following five steps can help get you started.  They are based on a framework from The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which provides guidelines, standards, and best practices for cybersecurity-related risk management.

Identify. You must pro-actively monitor the market and potential threats and provide ongoing guidance and support to all your employees.

Protect. Share cybersecurity best practices and ensure that everyone has access to the latest software, firmware, and cyber protection features.

Detect. Monitor your systems closely, and, if you detect a potential vulnerability, share this information with all stakeholders, including those outside your organization.

Respond. In the event of a cyber breach, contain the impact and provide assistance to affected stakeholders as well as employees in your organization.

Recover. Support recovery planning within your organization so you can restore any affected systems and service.

Read Facial recognition innovation today, cyber-warfare tool in the future?

The importance of working with trusted vendors

Another important aspect of cybersecurity-related risk management requires assessing your supply chain.  In general, effective supply chain risk management (SCRM) is essential for protecting and ensuring continuity and profitability and requires developing a network of trusted vendors.

The same principle applies to the supply chain that provides an organization with the components that make up their physical security system. It is also crucial for any cybersecurity strategy that you protect your system by building a network of trust. Since any system is only as strong as its weakest point, you need to ask questions about whether or not the manufacturer developing or organization installing devices on your network are trustworthy.

It’s important to remember that in our increasingly connected world, hardening your system against criminal cyber activity is about more than just securing your perimeter. The reason it requires open and transparent communication is because it can impact us all. Cybersecurity must be a true community effort.

Read Is it becoming easier for cybercriminals to access company data?

By: Firas Jadalla, Regional Director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META)

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AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.