More than 65 per cent of IT experts in the GCC believe that the region is a prime target for cybercriminals, according to a research conducted by Gulf Business Machines (GBM), an IT solutions provider. The results reveal that 35 per cent of incidents are staff related, which can be avoided by increasing employee awareness.

The security landscape in the GCC has continually evolved in recent years, largely due to the increase of cybercrime. The results of the research also highlight that 25 per cent of respondents report that their organisations have not been conducting regular proactive screenings to ensure the safety of their IT infrastructure and critical data. Respondents are expressing a false sense of security as the survey shows that 60 per cent of respondents believe that the number of successful attacks will decrease in the next 12 months.

“Companies are more aware of IT security issues than ever before. Although organisations are showing more interest in pre-emptive measures against possible cyber threats, they are not always taking the appropriate measures,” said Hani Nofal, Director – Intelligent Network Solutions (INS) at GBM. “Nearly half of the organisations polled spend up to 10 per cent of their IT budget on security. However, we expect this number to increase in the future,” continued Nofal.

Similar GBM research conducted last year showed that just over a third of those polled claimed that their organisations’ IT policies completely prohibited access to social networking websites. Today, this number has been cut in half, indicating that more businesses are adopting and embracing social media.

“Companies in the region have been exploring social media as a new way of communicating with the public. Enterprises are, therefore, opening their internal networks and allowing access to social media. This is increasing the potential of cyber risks for organisations and making them more vulnerable to cyber security attacks,” said Nofal.

Since GBM’s foundation in 1990, the company has been at the forefront of addressing challenges resulting from an ever-changing cybercrime eco-system in the region. The research coincides with the launch of GBM’s Security Framework, which assists users with mitigating risks. At the core of its IT security offering, the Security Framework enables customers to meet and exceed IT industry best practices in order to secure their infrastructure.

Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of CPI Media Group’s flagship title – SME Advisor magazine. In addition, she leads CPI Media Group’s infographics division – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.