91% of UAE Companies Use AI in their Cybersecurity Strategies

91% of UAE Companies Use AI in their Cybersecurity Strategies

The recent study conducted by Cisco highlights a significant surge in the use of AI technologies in cybersecurity strategies among UAE organizations. The study indicates that 91% of companies surveyed are integrating AI in their security defenses, mainly in threat detection, response, and recovery.

The 2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index was developed in an era defined by hyperconnectivity and a rapidly evolving threat landscape. Despite continuing to be targeted with a variety of techniques that range from phishing and ransomware to supply chain and social engineering attacks, companies today are actively attempting to fortify their defense. And while they are building defenses against these attacks, the complexity of their security postures, dominated by multiple point solutions, presents a challenge in effectively thwarting these threats.

These challenges are compounded in today’s distributed working environments where data can be spread across limitless services, devices, applications, and users. However, 87% of companies still feel moderately to very confident in their ability to defend against a cyberattack with their current infrastructure – this optimism underscores a proactive stance in navigating the evolving threat and confronting emerging challenges head-on.

2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index
The Index assesses the readiness of companies on five key pillars: Identity Intelligence, Network Resilience, Machine Trustworthiness, Cloud Reinforcement, and AI Fortification, which are comprised of 31 corresponding solutions and capabilities. It is based on a double-blind survey of more than 8,000 private sector security and business leaders across 30 global markets conducted by an independent third party. The respondents were asked to indicate which of these solutions and capabilities they had deployed and the stage of deployment.

“As our digital landscape continues to evolve rapidly, the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures cannot be overstated,” said Fady Younes, Managing Director for Cybersecurity at Cisco in the Middle East and Africa. “It is essential that organizations prioritize cybersecurity investments and embrace innovative solutions to effectively mitigate risks. By fostering a culture of cyber resilience, UAE organizations can navigate the digital landscape with confidence, while safeguarding their operations against emerging threats.”

Further Findings

  • Future Cyber Incidents Expected: 85% of UAE respondents said they expect a cybersecurity incident to disrupt their business in the next 12 to 24 months. The cost of being unprepared can be substantial, as 65% of respondents said they experienced a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months, and 52% of those affected said it cost them at least US$300,000.
  • Point Solution Overload: The traditional approach of adopting multiple cybersecurity point solutions has not delivered effective results, as 82% of UAE respondents said that having multiple point solutions slowed down their team’s ability to detect, respond and recover from incidents. This raises significant concerns as 78% of organizations said they have deployed ten or more point-solutions in their security stacks, while 26% said they have 30 or more.​
  • The Cyber Talent Gap Persists90% of UAE companies also highlight talent shortage as an issue. In fact, 51% of companies said they had more than ten roles related to cybersecurity unfilled in their organization at the time of the survey. Remarkably, 95% of UAE companies envision integrating AI technologies into their cybersecurity frameworks to fill more than 10% of those unfilled cybersecurity roles, highlighting a proactive approach towards addressing talent shortages and embracing innovative solutions.
  • Future Cyber Investments Ramping Up: Companies are aware of the challenges and are ramping up their defenses with 68% planning to significantly upgrade their IT infrastructure in the next 12 to 24 months. Most prominently, organizations plan to upgrade existing solutions (66%), deploy new solutions (54%), and invest in AI-driven technologies (54%). Further, almost all (99%) companies plan to increase their cybersecurity budget in the next 12 months, with a staggering 91% of these companies anticipating substantial growth of 10% or more in their cybersecurity budgets.

To overcome the challenges of today’s threat landscape, companies must accelerate meaningful investments in security, including adoption of innovative security measures and a security platform approach, strengthen their network resilience, establish meaningful use of generative AI, and ramp up recruitment to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap.

 

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