Cybersecurity talent shortage a major concern for CISOs in UAE, Saudi

Communication restrictions hinder cybersecurity learning 
Cybersecurity talent shortage a major concern for CISOs in UAE, Saudi
UAE, Saudi security leaders call for better resources

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have consistently ranked high on global cybersecurity maturity indexes. This achievement to the effective implementation of cybersecurity guidelines and regulations by government entities, as well as the introduction of various skilling initiatives and incentives to attract top talent to the region. However, despite a continued increase in cybersecurity spending, organizations in Saudi and UAE remain ill-equipped to face the cyber menace. This was the key finding in a global report released by Trellix, the cybersecurity company delivering the future of extended detection and response (XDR).

End-of-decade compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for the GCC cybersecurity market have been revised upwards, from 5.9% in 2017 to as high as 7.6% last year. While this is a clear illustration of heightened interest in security matters at the board level, Trellix’s “Mind of the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer)” report shows that two-thirds (66%) of CISOs in the UAE and KSA still believe their organizations lack the right people and processes to be cyber resilient and almost three quarters (74%) believe their current technology setup is insufficient.

Read more: Revealed: Latest MENA cybersecurity attack tools and surfaces

From a process standpoint, some 38% of CISOs in the UAE & KSA said they lacked the freedom to communicate outside of their organization for learning purposes. A further 38% expressed frustration with their inability to respond quickly to changing regulatory frameworks and 18% said their processes were poorly designed or they were presented with too many sources of information to be adequately in control of their environment.

Asked for suggestions on how their enterprise’s senior leadership could help them overcome their challenges, half of CISOs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia said better engagement from such stakeholders would be a good start. And 38% said better understanding from the rest of the organization on issues of cybersecurity would help, with 32% calling for a strong support team to assist in their defense efforts.

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