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20 Mar 2016

Securing the Smart Digital Enterprise as Budget Constraints Begin to Bite

Riyadh – In a recent IT security survey of Middle East organizations conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC), almost 60% of the respondents identified budget constraints as a major challenge when it comes to implementing IT security solutions. At the same time, 68% of Middle East CIOs indicated that maintaining security will remain their biggest technology challenge throughout 2016 as they face mounting pressure to ensure high levels of system performance and availability.

This requirement to seemingly do more with less featured heavily on the agenda of IDC's recent IT Security Roadshows in Jeddah and Riyadh, where more than 250 senior security professionals from the Kingdom's government, oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, and BFSI verticals – to name just a few – gathered to undertake an in-depth examination of the increasingly volatile forces shaping the prevailing threat landscape in Saudi Arabia as new economic realities begin to bite.

"Given the current economic environment, it is only natural that organizations in Saudi Arabia look to revisit their IT budgets," says Megha Kumar, senior research manager for software at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. "But while cost optimization is an obvious priority, organizations must not neglect the critical importance of their information security posture. Employing a reactive approach to security in these circumstances is certainly a strategy to avoid as it creates exactly the sort of ecosystem that cybercriminals require in order to gain access to systems and even compromise critical infrastructure."

"Budget constraints are likely to remain a challenge for the foreseeable future in Saudi Arabia," continues Kumar. "But the security conundrum becomes even more challenging when organizations look to start downsizing their headcounts in a bid to free up much-needed resources. In such a scenario, the threat of insider risk is exacerbated as disgruntled employees leave the company, potentially taking sensitive corporate information with them. As such, data loss prevention, data access management, and governance all become major security factors that must be addressed in order to avert any unwanted drama."

With all this in mind, organizations in the Kingdom are now seeking IT solutions that will facilitate improved cost and operational efficiencies. And as they increasingly look to exploit innovative new business models and services, they will inevitably move into far more open, digitally-enabled ecosystems. This all means that cybersecurity and privacy solutions will become one of the major technological drivers of successful digital transformation strategies, but businesses must first undertake a proper risk assessment to discover precisely where they can be compromised.

"The successful application of network security is largely dependent on the ability of Saudi organizations to understand and analyze the nature of cyber risk and appreciate its potential impact on their businesses," says Ruben Espinosa, regional marketing manager at RSA, which partnered with IDC for the IT Security Roadshow 2016 in both Jeddah and Riyadh. "It is encouraging to see that cybersecurity is finally being taken very seriously in the Kingdom, with a growing number of organizations now incorporating cyber risk into their enterprise risk-planning strategies, bringing board-level visibility to a vital area that has traditionally been overlooked. It is certainly an approach that RSA advocates, and we were delighted that our partnership with IDC enabled us to reinforce this message with the people that truly matter." 

As well as Jeddah and Riyadh, IDC's annual IT Security Roadshow has also already stopped off in Kuwait, Istanbul, and Ankara, and its tour of the Middle East and Africa is far from over as events are still to be held in Doha, Oman, Amman, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Cairo, Johannesburg, and Lagos. For further details, please visit the dedicated IT Security Roadshow 2016 webpage or tweet about the events using the hashtag #IDCITSECURITY.

A wide range of leading technology vendors partnered with IDC's 'IT Security Roadshow 2016' in Riyadh, including RSA and Palo Alto as Platinum Partners; Help AG (in association with Tenable) and Cyberia as Gold Partners; HP, Aujas, Aruba Networks, and Oxygen as Silver Partners; and Innovative Solutions as lunch partners. IDC's partners in Jeddah included RSA and HP (in association with Natcom) as Gold Partners; Check Point as Silver Partner; and Innovative Solutions as Lunch Partner.

For more information about IDC events and to learn about the range of flexible partnership opportunities on offer, please contact Ms. Ronita Bhattacharjee, associate vice president for conferences at IDC Middle East and Africa, on +971 4 391 2747 or at

For more information, contact:

Anulekha Shetty