Malware, BYOD drive ICT security boom
Experts speak: Network protection more vital than ever in coming years
The recent climb in regional malware exploits coupled with the continuing BYOD phenomenon has led to a growth spurt in the network security sector worldwide, and as so-called advanced persistent threats (APTs) become commonplace, business-critical systems are seeking refuge in the cloud and virtual environments.
Such is the argument of global business research company Frost & Sullivan, which today held its Middle East Enterprise Security Summit in Dubai's Habtoor Grand Beach Resort. Attendees included C-level executives and senior management from all sectors, including manufacturing, finance and media.
"Information security is increasingly emerging as a critical concern in today's modern business environment," said Kamran Ashan, head of Information Security, Injazat Data Systems.
"This trend is very much evident in the Middle East where enterprises have experienced information-related threats such as infiltration, data leakage and cyber warfare among others. Injazat Data Systems will highlight how enterprises can proactively address these challenges and mitigate risks associated with business assets and services of enterprises. Moreover, with the best minds in enterprise security attending this event, we expect to have an in-depth discussion of new trends and developments in information security in the Middle East."
While much of the stir in the ICT security sector has been created by a handful of high-profile, third-quarter incidents involving enterprise heavyweights such as Saudi Aramco and Al Jazeera, corporate chatter at the summit is concentrating on internal business growth and how that relates to greater vulnerability in systems.
"Information technology has become central in driving the business processes of enterprises," said Bashar Bashaireh, regional director, Middle East, Fortinet.
"However as trends such as mobility, cloud computing and BYOD are fast gaining momentum in the UAE, helping drive business profit and innovation, they are also bringing forth new challenges to IT security. Organisations in the UAE should act now to gain control of their IT infrastructures by strongly securing their networks and applying granular control over users, devices and applications. The summit organised by Frost & Sullivan is a great platform for us to share with end customers our insights on the new approach aimed towards IT security."
Cloud infrastructures have commonly been touted as security havens, but bring their own risks, especially in hybrid environments where both a private and a public cloud have been implemented. Also, Platform as a Service (PaaS) comes under particular scrutiny as more software development companies (which rely heavily on protecting intellectual property) opt for it as a means of agile deployment.
"As organisations roll out cloud-based models into their business infrastructure, the issue of security becomes an ever-increasing concern, said Dong Hu, vice president, Huawei Enterprise Middle East.
"The Middle East Enterprise Security Summit is a way for Huawei and other industry leaders to come together and discuss how businesses can be better secured and protected from the fast-evolving cyber threats that exist today. At the summit we look forward to sharing our insights on how organisations can improve their planning processes before making their move to the cloud."
In recent years the consumerisation of IT has led governments in the Middle East to engage in large scale overhauls of ICT infrastructure and deliver e-government services to citizens. This is especially noticeable in the UAE education sector with institutions offering tablets for classroom learning.
This and other system revamps have driven the high growth seen in the ICT network security segment. Frost & Sullivan expects technology convergence, regulatory compliance and incessant growth of network infrastructure to continue driving up sales for Middle East security vendors until 2018.