Gulf businesses face internal data theft threat

Employees responsible for majority of malicious breaches.

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By  James Boley Published  February 16, 2009

Leading experts have warned that Middle East businesses are particularly vulnerable to data theft from their own employees as a result of economic slowdown.

Speaking at an IT security summit hosted in Dubai on Monday by IT security provider Paramount, representatives warned that stronger identity management policies would be essential in curtailing malicious attacks by discontented employees and those facing redundancy.

“Last year when we launched our foray into the Identity and Access Management space with an appliance based solution, the market was slow to accept. The economic melt-down is a game- changer,” said Premchand Kurup, CEO, Paramount. “The biggest security threat today is ‘laid off employees’ and the absence of a clearly defined exit process. Concerns arise over data theft by terminated employees. Prudent investments in identity and access management (IDM) is the need of the hour.”

Kurup warned that IDM policies were significantly lacking in the region and that businesses were also vulnerable to data loss because of deficiencies in data loss prevention (DLP) strategies. “You can count on your fingers the number of companies in the Gulf that have implemented IDM & DLP.”

His comments were supported by Maurizion Desiderio, regional director for Imprivata. “Businesses have spent a lot on protecting themselves from external threats,” he said. “However, with the current economic situation, the internal threat is now the greatest.” According to Desiderio, 75% of all IT fraud operations are committed by insiders. “Enforcing and monitoring employing access control is critical,” he said.

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