Unwise frugality: ME's low IT spending leaves them vulnerable to cyber attacks

Published April 27th, 2015 - 07:43 GMT

Middle East businesses are spending less than 1 per cent of their overall IT budgets on security, leaving them vulnerable to cyber attacks, said an industry expert.

IT leaders in the region are allocating budgets to only meet current compliance requirements, explained Werner Heeren, regional director, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Fluke Networks, a global provider of network performance monitoring and diagnostics solutions.

Last year, hackers stole roughly 81.5 million records while carrying out more than 740 confirmed data breaches. Many of the attacks targeted household name brands, costing the global economy up to $575 billion, and destroying consumer confidence, all the while companies still believed their data was secure.

“Another concern is the increased use of mobile devices in organizations. It is no surprise that these devices are increasingly being brought into the workplace, and used to perform both business critical functions as well as private user tasks,” said Heeren.

The average corporate user has anywhere from 2-4 mobile devices, most of which require wireless connectivity. Gartner, a technology research company, predicts that by 2017, there will be 1.3 billion new business mobile devices.

In this rapidly changing model, end users are demanding access to applications, development platforms, and network infrastructure as a service over the Internet. But with this transformation into a borderless enterprise, IT departments are finding it difficult to ensure heightened end-user experience, and business effectiveness of its workforce.

“There’s a significant urgency in the borderless enterprise model, where IT departments don’t always control the entire delivery path, but are expected to fix if something goes wrong. Therefore, it’s important that IT and the business work together to establish a process and methodology that orchestrates the adoption of SaaS applications into the enterprise,” said Heeren.

Fluke Networks is seeing increased tension between business and IT. Businesses are often dissatisfied with IT implementation and execution time lines, and 71 per cent of C-level executives believe they can make better IT decisions faster and more cost effectively.

Increasingly businesses are implementing applications and services without any involvement of their IT department, thus leaving themselves vulnerable to attack. As much as 38 per cent of businesses owners are making half of the enterprises cloud purchase decisions, according to a recent RightScale report.

Furthermore, non-IT departments control more than 37 per cent of enterprise technology spending, and that number is likely to grow over the next few years. (Frost & Sullivan 2015 “Why Choice and Control are Critical to a Successful Cloud Strategy“).

And if this is not generating enough tension, mobile business users expect their business service anywhere, anytime, and 77 per cent of employees see mobile devices as very important to meeting business objectives.

Fluke Networks will be showcasing its latest products, including the company’s wireless network security and performance monitoring portfolio at the Gisec 2015, an information security expo opening today (April 26) in Dubai, UAE.

Gisec is taking place at Dubai International Conference and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) until April 28


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