MENA companies plagued by security breaches: Poll

Published October 1st, 2015 - 11:23 GMT
Nine out of ten firms in the survey have had at least one security incident. (Shutterstock)
Nine out of ten firms in the survey have had at least one security incident. (Shutterstock)

Companies in the Middle East and the rest of the world lose up to Dh2 million on average due to data breaches, including attacks by hackers.

In a survey of more than 5,500 businesses in 26 countries conducted by Kaspersky Lab, nine out of ten companies said they have experienced at least one security incident.

These incidents, ranging from employee fraud, cyber espionage to network intrusion and failure of third-party suppliers, have cost businesses between $38,000 (Dh139,000) and $551,000 ( Dh2 million), enough to dent the bottom lines of those operating on a small-time basis.

On top of that, an extra $8,000 (for small enterprises) or $69,000 (for big businesses) have to be shelled out to cover the cost of staffing, training and infrastructure upgrades following a security breach.

Kaspersky has questioned top managers and IT professionals for the survey. They were asked about security, IT threats and infrastructure, as well as how much money they spent to contain the damage or recover from the breach.

Over the years, several companies have been hit by major data breaches.  Customers have had their bank account or credit card data stolen and company employees have been sacked, as a result.

But not all organisations are transparent about it and in many cases, it is difficult to establish the financial loss incurred in the process.

In Kaspersky’s survey, about 90 per cent of the companies admitted that they have experienced at least one security incident. Nearly half of them (46 per cent) said they have lost sensitive information as a result of an internal or external security threat.

Most affected companies have lost access to some data that are critical to their business, damaged their reputation and temporarily lost the ability to trade.

Among the security breaches they have encountered, companies said the most expensive ones so far are third-party failure, fraud by employees and cyber espionage.  The three most common reasons why companies lose their data are malware, phishing attacks and accidental data leaks by staff.

“We have not seen too many reports on the consequences of IT security breaches, estimating a loss in real money. It is hard to come up with a reliable method of producing an average, but we understood that we had to do it, to bridge the theory of the corporate threat landscape with business practice,” noted Brian Burke, head of market intelligence team at Kaspersky Lab.

“As a result, we have a list of corporate threats that caused the most significant damage – the ones we believe businesses should pay the utmost attention to,” he added.

By Cleofe Maceda

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