Closing COVID-19 Cybersecurity Gaps, Middle East Firms Need to Educate, Test, and Develop Long-Term Strategies

While the Middle East’s rapid shift to remote work amid COVID-19 has been a major success story in business continuity, the increase in digital communication and collaboration platforms, social media usage, and mobile and networked devices is also rapidly expanding the cyber-threat landscape.

Across every industry vertical, cybercriminals are exploiting fear and uncertainty, according to a recent report by VMware Carbon Black. Employees across the Middle East are at increasing risk of a wide range of cyberattacks – including phishing, fake apps and maps, trojans and backdoors, crypto miners, botnets, and ransomware. Ransomware attacks skyrocketed by 148 percent. As remote work has stabilized, Middle East firms now need to double down on their cybersecurity. Government agencies need to ensure that citizens’ data remains secure from data breaches, while also maintaining critical e-services that can maintain citizen happiness. In the banking, financial services, and insurance sector, firms need to protect sensitive corporate data and personal data of their customers.

Retailers need to prevent customer data breaches, especially as digital customer profiles are being supported across e-commerce platforms and in-store tablets as shops and malls reopen.

What can Middle East organizations do to shore up their cyber defenses?

Firstly, CEOs should assume that they are being targeted by cyber-criminals. Hacking as a Service, which allows any bad actor to purchase cyber-attacks on the black market, is seeing a rapid rise –and putting organizations on high alert for rapidly increasing and evolving cyber-threats.

Secondly, organizations should work channel partners to identify gaps in their devices, networking, storage for cyberthreats — and then work on strategies to enhance cybersecurity. Secureworks, RSA, and VMware offer among the industry’s leading cybersecurity solutions.

Thirdly, organizations should develop short-term, medium-term, and long-term cybersecurity strategies. This can involve understanding and calculating the direct and indirect costs of cyber- attacks, align cybersecurity strategies and solutions with digital transformation roadmaps, and evaluate the emerging technology innovations that can further enhance cybersecurity.

At Condo Protego, our knowledge and experience in enabling remote work and driving cybersecurity are vital for supporting your business continuity amid COVID-19 and beyond.

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