Cyber attacks threaten 69% of Saudi firms

Updated 10 January 2013
0

Cyber attacks threaten 69% of Saudi firms

JEDDAH: Computer security software corporation Symantec has revealed to Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper that 69 percent of Saudi companies cannot cope with cyber attacks due to their “lack of data backup operations on daily basis”.
Samer Sidani, regional director of Symantec Saudi Arabia, told the paper that “Corporate data and information is a direct communication link with users; therefore, it has great importance and priority.”
Sidani indicated that companies in Saudi Arabia show sufficient awareness in the importance of keeping backup copies of important information, such as company data, customer records, and legal documents. However, this process remains hanging on the list of actions that will be undertaken by these companies in the future, when it will be too late.
At the same time, he pointed out that only 31 percent of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia undertake a data backup process, through which they can retrieve data loss caused by cyber attacks, on a daily basis.
Sidani highlighted on the increasing number of cyber attacks directed at companies in the Middle East – hence the importance of having security solutions in place – and on the need for strong data backup and a restore strategy in the workplace. This would protect the information from all types of emergencies ranging from power cutoffs to physical damage of the infrastructure and cyber attacks that can put the company information and data at risk, or lead to systems crashes and damage computers in the company.
From this standpoint, Symantec gives advice to enterprises during its assessment of backup policy and its data recovery plan after facing emergencies. These tips evolve around the importance of having a plan, Sidani said, indicating the common excuses for the lack of plan in the company, such as “We have paper records”, “The backup process is expensive compared to the few data we have”, and “The backup process is complex and wasting time”. Meanwhile, it is difficult to quantify the massive costs of the collapse of work systems in the company as well as the loss of data and important documents, although he considered the lack of a master plan to act accordingly in emergencies within the company in itself a disaster.
Sidani pointed to the importance of a testing data recovery strategy to ensure the strategy operates optimally.
He also stressed on the importance of backups that are stored outside the company, although that requires an additional step or two.
The regional director clarified that the consolidation of backups in all work environments using a single solution to get physical and virtual backups will reduce operating costs and the size of your storage. It will also speed up the process of retrieving data, he said.
Sidani explained that the merger between the backup process and data recovery tools is one of the most important steps in information security. It would reduce costs and at the same time simplify the day-to-day operations.
Implementing the above-mentioned proposals would ensure that there is a stable and consistent database can be relied upon to start the application process of appropriate solution to overcome the emergencies situations, and successful recovery of data in your company.
He advised people to select the most comfortable solution that ensures appropriate and complete data recovery in their work environment and will enhance the feeling of complete confidence that the vital lifeline of their company is strongly protected.


Pakistan is rapidly becoming a “digital-first country”, Google

Updated 18 November 2018
0

Pakistan is rapidly becoming a “digital-first country”, Google

  • Pakistan digital growth is supported by population and increasing penetration of internet, IT experts
  • Prime Minister’s Taskforce on IT and Telecom to meet next week to draw comprehensive policy

KARACHI: Destine to become the fourth fastest growing economy by 2030, Pakistan, supported by a growing population, fast growing business and increasing penetration of Internet, is poised to grab first position among the digital economies, Information Technology (IT) experts say.
US technology giant, Google, says Pakistan is quickly becoming a “digital-first country”, which means there are new opportunities for brands to reach and engage with consumers that may have previously been overlooked.
“It shows that Google has realized the marketing potential of the country and they are now encouraging businesses to focus on Pakistan as a potential market,” Badar Khushnood, vice president of growth at Fishry.Com and vice chairman of [email protected], commented.
According to Google, there are five reasons for “considering expanding your digital campaigns into Pakistan”.
Pakistan’s growing population is the first reason that makes the country attractive for the foreign and local investors to venture into the IT sector.
“Pakistan has a population of more than 202 million people, which means there are lot of potential consumers coming online every day. And the country is even more urbanized than neighboring India, with nearly 40 percent of total households living in cities,” writes Lars Anthonizen, head of large customer marketing, South Asia, Google.
Pakistan’s economy grew by 5.7 percent in fiscal year 2018. HSBC in is recent report published in September 2018 has projected Pakistan to become the fourth fastest growing economy by 2030.
Around 90 percent of the companies in the country are SMEs which are contributing more that 40 percent to the country’s 313 billion economy, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.
Third attraction, according to Google, is the country’s growing smart phone users. Pakistan has 152 million cellar subscribers, and 60 million 3G/4G subscribers, according to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
This number will likely grow quickly as smart phone prices have dropped over the last few years. Pakistan also has some of the cheapest data prices in the world, which is helping to grow mobile app usage, according to Google.
However, experts say more work is needed to be done to fully utilize the existing potential. “We need to work on optic fibers, penetration of 4G, creation of data centers, telecom infrastructure and most importantly creation of awareness among masses,” Pervaiz Iftikhar, a member of the newly formed prime minister’s Taskforce on IT and Telecom, told Arab News.
Pakistan’s overall Internet penetration stands at 29.9 percent with 62 million broadband subscribers, a fourth attraction for the investor, as per Google. In spite of this, digital consumption in the country continues to grow quickly. YouTube watch time, for example, has seen over 60 percent growth over the last three years.
The Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the largest Chinese investment venture in Pakistan with around $62 billion, a fifth reason to look toward Pakistan.
The mega project under BRI is not only limited to the infrastructure and energy sector but it is also contributing to the growth of the IT sector in Pakistan.
“One of the first CPEC projects is to lay 820 kilometers of fiber-optic cable, connecting more Pakistanis to the Internet. This is in addition to ongoing investments in 3G and 4G network expansions from China Mobile, and the company has already announced plans to invest another $225 million in 4G expansion (bringing its total investment to $2.4 billion),” writes Lars Anthonizen.
“We have to connect every village through fiber optics that will not only create thousands of jobs but would multiply opportunities for the IT business countrywide,” Pervaiz Iftikhar added.
“A lot of potential exists in the IT sector of Pakistan with the young population turning to computers, smart phones and other digital means, and the country offers big market for local and foreign investors”, Jehan Ara, another member of the prime minister’s Taskforce on IT and Telecom and president of [email protected], commented.
Badar Khushnood, who is also former consultant of Google, Facebook and Twitter, called for comprehensive policy for the growth of the IT sector.
“Taxation systems should be rationalized, simplified, and encouraging for startups. The country also needs data protection laws, and broader cyber laws,” he added.
The first meeting of the prime minister’s Task Force on IT and Telecom is expected to be held next week in Islamabad. “Comprehensive strategy including short term and long term measures would be discussed in the upcoming meeting of taskforce because country needs a policy for the persistent growth of IT and Telecom sector”, Pervaiz Iftikhar informed.