Data security: The biggest challenge in digital transformation

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The eighth annual GBM Security Survey reveals how cybersecurity can break the digital transformation deadlock

Gulf Business Machines (GBM) has revealed the findings of the eight edition of its annual cybersecurity study. This year’s survey highlighted the role of cybersecurity in the digital transformation of organisations, and explored how an organisation’s cybersecurity approach enables digital transformation projects to succeed. GBM has been actively helping organisations in Oman to overcome the technological or organisational barriers or the ‘digital deadlock’, and identifies specific strategies to revitalise their digital transformation projects.

The latest GBM security survey, polled 750 security and IT managers and professionals from a range of industries in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait. This year’s survey indicated that 81 per cent of organisations in the Gulf region found securing data as their biggest challenge during the digital transformation journey. The survey also revealed that security teams have a very small degree of involvement in creating organizations’ digital transformation strategies. Only 15% of respondents said that their security teams are involved completely in the digital transformation journey.

Hani Nofal, vice president of intelligent network solutions, security and mobility at GBM said, “Organisations should learn to use big data towards insights that make it possible to predict and respond to cyber-attacks. It is also important for organizations to develop a blueprint for formulating a security strategy aligning to digital transformation, which ensures they take a holistic and integrated approach to the security technology implementation. Furthermore, organisations will be less vulnerable when they make their security team a stakeholder in their digital transformation journey.”

The region has seen an increased move towards cloud over the last few years, and the survey also addressed companies’ concerns regarding data and cloud security in their move towards cloud computing. 25 per cent of respondents mentioned that their biggest concern about cloud adoption was the recent data breaches cloud providers have faced. The survey also indicated that respondents believed infrastructure security was one of the most challenging domains when tackling digital transformation, as scalability and agility played a key part in securing the infrastructure. It revealed the increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate processes and to fill the gap for skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Oman has developed a superior complex strategy and comprehensive roadmap to tackle cyber threats over the years. The Sultanate ranked second in the Arab World and 16th globally in the recent Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) issued by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Last year, the Omani Authority for Partnership for Development (OAPFD) and the Ministry of Manpower announced the launch of the Advanced Cybersecurity Academy (ACA) as the first national technical training academy that is specialised in providing hands-on training in cybersecurity.

Data security: The biggest challenge in digital transformation

Muhammed Nafie is an Assistant Editor at Oman Economic Review.

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