Securing the future of businesses

Dr Moataz Bin Ali, Area Vice President and Managing Director, Trend Micro MEA, looks at cybersecurity preparedness and how it can ensure longevity for businesses.

The way we live, and work has changed drastically, thanks to the wave of digital transformation precipitated by the pandemic. As a result, sectors like retail, manufacturing, finance, and education have witnessed numerous iterations of technological development. Our work environments have also changed, making it easier for employees to operate remotely. But a series of challenges has also emerged over the past two years as industries attempted to meet rising customer demand while transitioning to digital modes of operations. According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, among global conflicts and climate change, cybersecurity has now become a priority concern for governments, enterprises, and individuals, ranking high on the list of top global risks.

With the adoption of hybrid work models, companies continue to face a slew of security-related challenges. A Gartner survey found that the use of collaboration platforms increased dramatically, with a 45 per cent surge being seen from 2019 to 2021. Furthermore, the increase in online activity has given rise to numerous security concerns, with the average cost of a data breach exceeding $4million in 2021, according to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach report.

In the Middle East and Africa region alone, as highlighted in the Trend Micro Annual Cybersecurity Report 2021, we detected and blocked more than 436 million email threats, 20.5 million malware attacks, and more than 80 million URL victim attacks. The top targets of modern ransomware actors continue to be public and private companies, as cybercriminals continue to collaborate to uncover vulnerabilities, gain access, and cause damage to digital infrastructures.

According to the report, bad actors have developed an appreciation for cloud migration processes and are incessantly seeking new ways to disrupt them. Also, the growth in deployment of workloads in the cloud (owing to the adoption of remote work) has exposed organisations to new security risks. In 2021, emails were used to spread 92 per cent of malware and were weaponised to penetrate digital environments. These figures highlight the necessity for organisations to implement advanced security solutions that will protect the remote workforce while ensuring company operations are not jeopardised by cyberattacks.

As cybercrimes become increasingly complex, organisations must ensure that cybersecurity is the cornerstone of their growth strategy, combining advanced tools, technologies, and best practices to combat today’s stealthy bad actors. In other words, traditional defense mechanisms are no longer viable against modern-day sophisticated threats.

Implementation of a Zero Trust Architecture is required, as it establishes a stringent access-management system that verifies every device before granting access to the network, thereby avoiding infiltrations, and enhancing security stances. Also, conducting cybersecurity awareness training sessions can help raise awareness and equip employees to make prudent decisions when confronted by a cyberattack. This can help to foster a strong cybersecurity culture by making the human element the first line of defense against cyberattacks.

Decision-makers across industries cannot afford to overlook the need to re-evaluate and reinforce their security postures. With sophisticated solutions like XDR (Extended Detection and Response), enterprises can now gain comprehensive visibility across endpoints, emails, servers, and networks and use it to scale up operations and serve their customers in the best way possible. XDR also provides a set of countermeasures based on insights that help safeguard a company by efficiently anticipating new threats. It is better to be prepared, with shields deployed, than be caught off guard in a notoriously fast-evolving threat landscape. Cybersecurity can provide the power to protect enterprises and accelerate their growth, helping organisations across the MEA region to thrive and gain a competitive advantage.

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