Published: Jun 11, 2014
Source: Saudi Gazette

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IT security weaknesses persist

As Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs continue rolling out in Kuwait, half of respondents polled in this year's Gulf Business Machines (GBM) Security Survey are permitted to connect personal devices at work. In spite of the prevalence of personal connectivity in the country's workforce, surprisingly59 percent of companies invest only 15 percent or less of their IT budgets in security to support that evolution.

Since 2012, there has been a 22 percent increase in those owning five or more personal connected devices. As Kuwait and region overall mirror the world's immersion in a digital age, the majority of IT experts polled in the study believe the GCC is a prime target for cyber-security crimes for the second year in a row. Employees connecting to company networks from several devices pose a multiplied threat, begging for additional IT security precautions.

"The increased focus on rolling out smart government services is one of the factors driving the increase of device connectivity in Kuwait's workplace," said Hani Nofal, director of Intelligent Network Solutions (INS) at GBM. 

"With an ever-changing technology landscape supporting those types of advances, the role of IT security professionals is increasingly dynamic and vital to a company's sustained success and integrity."

Supporting the survey results suggesting a lack of proper IT security investment in a maturing digital world, this year's survey found that incidents caused by internal staff in the previous 12 months rose to 63 percent, up from 35 percent in 2013.

"While more businesses are adopting and embracing social media, internal IT security precautions have not yet caught up with the increase in liabilities caused by employee activity on personal connected devices and associated online activity. We know Kuwait is a prime target for cyber-attacks, so companies must redefine internal IT security best practices," added Nofal.

For the third consecutive year, data security has been identified as the main concern preventing companies from cloud adoption. However at the same time up to 44 percent of employees in Kuwait are already using less secure free cloud-based data storage options to store company documents. This confirms the need for such a service whilst highlighting that companies currently lack proper investment in a secure cloud based solution and as such run the risk of staff-related IT security incidents.

Since GBM's foundation in 1990, the company has been at the forefront of addressing challenges associated with the cybercrime eco-system in the region. The research, conducted by GBM's INS practice, informs clients and end-users with the knowledge of the latest threats in IT security and empowers them to mitigate unsolved risks in their own networks. The Security Framework, coined by GBM and at the core of its IT security offering, enables customers to meet and exceed IT industry best practices in order to secure their infrastructure.

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