'Middle East is a global leader in prioritising cybersecurity', says survey

Regions leaders set cybersecurity as a priority, according to Raytheon-sponsored survey

Tags: Raytheon (www.raytheon.com/)United Arab Emirates
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'Middle East is a global leader in prioritising cybersecurity', says survey Harrington: "You don't have to wait until you're attacked to take cybersecurity seriously".
By  Helen Gaskell Published  February 23, 2015

Business and government leaders in the Middle East and North Africa are ahead of other parts of the world in setting cybersecurity as a priority, a new survey of information technology professionals shows.

The survey, commissioned by Raytheon Company and titled "Global Megatrends in Cybersecurity 2015," revealed that more than half of organisational leaders in the MENA region identify cybersecurity as a strategic priority, compared to only 23% in the US and 36% in UK and Europe. Boards of directors in 35% of MENA organisations have been briefed on strategic cybersecurity issues in the last 12 months, as compared to 22% globally, the survey found.

"You don't have to wait until you're attacked to take cybersecurity seriously," said Jack Harrington, vice president of cybersecurity and special missions at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. "From the board room to the President's desk, rallying around the cybersecurity issue is critical to address the real threats we face as a global society."

Sponsored by Raytheon and conducted by the US Ponemon Institute, the survey was based on responses from over 1,000 chief information security officers (CISOs) and IT security practitioners from the United States, Europe and the MENA region. Respondents, including 182 from the MENA region alone, answered a variety of probing questions on issues ranging from emerging technologies to predictions on major future threats and levels of readiness.

The survey also found that: security professionals foresee growing global demand for cyber intelligence, viewed as the most important factor in organisational security and the implementation of defensive measures; most organisations are unprepared for growth of the Internet of Things; and organisations are also threatened by unintentional breaches through employees, although a greater emphasis on training will mitigate such insider threat risks in the near future.

The survey also reveals how IT experts in MENA have had significantly more success in characterising cybersecurity as a business issue than their counterparts in Europe and the United States.

Within the MENA region, more CISOs in the energy industry are investing in big data analytics (24%) than in organisations at large (18%). Security officers in the region's energy sector consider cybercrime as being a larger share of their overall security concerns than other MENA industries.

Despite increasing threats, global security experts for the most part believe their organisations' cyber security posture will improve in the coming three years, a result of improved technology, awareness, intelligence and other factors.

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