Towards resilience in the realms of cybersecurity

Op-ed by Hisham Al Gurg, CEO, Seed Group and the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum


When the world got locked down with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the UAE’s digital economy opened up big time. Almost all businesses shifted operations online, leading to a phenomenal rise of the digital economy. However, this exponential technological transformation also exposed the organisations and their critical infrastructure to major operational disruptions due to increased cyber-attacks. 

Tech giant Microsoft, in its recent report, revealed that 80 per cent of the enterprises it surveyed across the UK, US, Germany, Japan, and China experienced at least one firmware attack in the past two years. In the UAE, 78 per cent of the firms, too, faced such attacks last year. Even individuals were not safe. Personal information of more than 533 million Facebook users resurfaced on an online hacking forum and over 500 million LinkedIn profiles on another platform.

Such incidents are not one off. They call for creating a digitally secure environment as reliance on artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), automation and other technologies continue to grow manifold. Challenges posed by the expanding digital landscape have created opportunities too. The $167.13 billion global cyber security market is expected to register a CAGR of 10.9 per cent from 2021 to 2028. The UAE is projected to register an impressive CAGR of 11.1 cent during 2020-26.

The visionary leadership of the UAE has put the global spotlight on the Emirates’ high level of digital preparedness. A host of initiatives are under way to develop world-class cyber-security capabilities, secure latest technologies and encourage businesses to achieve digital security.

The National Cybersecurity Strategy is a quintessential roadmap which aims at creating a robust cyber-security ecosystem to keep businesses safe. Considered the gateway to the Middle East market, Dubai has emerged as a global leader in warding off cyber-attacks in a digitally surcharged economic environment. The Emirate continues to enjoy its status as a global business hub due to investor-friendly policies and unique e-commerce ecosystem. 

Recent Path-breaking reforms, such as 100 per cent business ownership and citizenship for foreign nationals and investors, and EXPO 2020 are attracting the major global players further to Dubai. 

Opportunities are galore as the National Industrial Strategy aims at creating 13,500 companies to make the manufacturing sector contribute AED 300 billion to the nation’s economy over the next 10 years. This all is happening in a digitally supportive, sustainable and secure environment. 

Dubai Electronic Security Center is constantly working towards making the Emirate the safest city in cyberspace. The Cyber Security Strategy for Dubai is providing a higher level of digital security and protection to organisations and businesses and their critical services.

Global cybersecurity experts to discuss cross-border, collaborative defence strategies at GISEC 2021. Photo courtesy of Emirates News Agency (WAM).

Dubai is committed to developing comprehensive digital and IT infrastructure security solutions in collaboration with leading global players. 

The culmination of GISEC 2021, the Arab world’s largest and most impactful cybersecurity exhibition and conference, here in Dubai today, also speaks in favour. GISEC 2021 saw companies from the UK, US, Germany, Switzerland and many other countries flying into Dubai to showcase their cutting-edge cyber-security products and solutions. With such futuristic initiatives, the Emirate is showing the way to the entire world how to create a cyber-attack resilient e-commerce ecosystem. 

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