The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) spent US$7.2 billion (about 27 billion SAR) on cyber security in 2016, and spending is expected to reach $11.4 billion (34 billion SAR) by 2024, according to a study by Goldstein Research.
The majority of spending came from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the report found. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as these are the two largest countries in the GCC by population and economy. The other nations – Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – accounted for “a fraction” of the total number of cyber security professionals and industry.
Nonetheless, digital infrastructure across the region has improved dramatically in the past few years. “GCC countries are pursuing digitalization and the mass adoption of connected technologies by the governments, enterprises and consumers at rapid pace,” Goldstein Research writes.
It adds that this expansion increases cyber security threats, with much of the spending credited to government projects that are intended to tackle cyber security vulnerabilities. For instance, last year the UAE unveiled an “advanced cyber security network” for 35 federal bodies, and Saudi Arabia created a commission to battle cyber crime in the country.
Qatar is also poised to invest heavily in cyber security in the public and private sectors. In 2016, the country’s Ministry of Interior opened a cyber security centre to tackle the growing number of incidents in the country. This was followed by Middle East Cyber Security Market by Solution, a study by MarketsandMarkets, which found that Qatar “offers potential growth opportunities […] as there is a wide presence of SMEs that are turning towards cyber security solutions”.
Initiatives like this will certainly help address cyber threats, but organisations also need to make cyber security their own responsibility.
Keep your organisation secure
Most organisations looking to improve their cyber security posture would benefit from certifying to ISO 27001, the international standard that describes best practice for an information security management system.
Organisations of all sizes use the Standard to assure boards, customers, stakeholders and staff that they are secure. IT Governance is a global authority on ISO 27001. Our management team led the world’s first ISO 27001 certification, and since then we’ve helped more than 400 organisations achieve and maintain ISO 27001 certification.
For advice on implementing the Standard, take a look at Cyber Security & ISO 27001. This free green paper explains:
- Why cyber security is more than a technological issue;
- How cyber criminals target your website and what they can do with your information;
- Why small businesses are more vulnerable to an attack than larger ones; and
- How ISO 27001 certification can stop you missing out on business and help you comply with international regulations and laws.