Cost of data breach in Middle East at all-time high

Finance sector hardest hit
Cost of data breach in Middle East at all-time high
Phishing the most common cause of data breaches

The cost of data breach across organizations in the Middle East has reached an all-time high. An IBM report says organizations across the region have collectively lost $8 mn because of data security infractions.

Moreover, the cost is the highest in almost 10 years, representing a 155.9 increase as per IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report. In addition, the amount reflects a 15 percent increase in the last three years.

According to IBM, these figures highlight the importance of deploying advanced solutions to protect businesses and organizations in the region. The IBM report outlines the scale and nature of security issues that Middle Eastern entities must contend with.

The 2023 Cost of Data Breach Report is based on an in-depth analysis of real-world data breaches experienced by 553 organizations globally. Participants included 36 companies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The research was conducted by Ponemon Institute and results were analyzed by IBM Security.

Read: 66% of UAE organizations reported data breaches in 2022

Cost breakdown

The data breach cost is an overall total that represents four process-related activities. These are responsible for driving costs of addressing a data breach. Lost business costs topped the list, valued at $2.7 mn. This was followed by post-breach responses that cost $2.4 mn. Meanwhile, detection and escalation costs reached $2.22 mn, and notifying relevant stakeholders came to around $630,000.

In addition, IBM noted that the financial sector was the hardest hit, with total cost of data breaches reaching $9.4 mn. The region’s energy and health industries ranked second and third, respectively with data breach costs of $8.9 mn and $8.7 mn.

AI and automation

Moreover, the report revealed that organizations based in the Middle East that deployed security AI and automation extensively experienced significantly shorter data breach lifecycles, or a total of 259 days. In stark contrast, those that did not experienced data breach lifecycles of 393 days, or 134 days more.
In addition, it found that companies that deployed security AI and automation experienced $3.3 mn lower data breach costs.

“With the Middle East’s rapid growth and development, there has been an increase in cyber-attacks. Early detection and fast response can significantly mitigate the damage caused by a data breach. Investments in advanced threat detection and response technologies, using AI and automation, are essential for organizations to stay ahead of cybercriminals,” said Saad Toma, general manager, IBM Middle East and Africa.

The report said phishing was the most common cause for data breaches, constituting 16 percent of data breaches in MENA. It cost businesses $8.6 mn.

For more technology stories, click here.

The stories on our website are intended for informational purposes only. Those with finance, investment, tax or legal content are not to be taken as financial advice or recommendation. Refer to our full disclaimer policy here.