UAE financial institutions under pressure to strengthen IT security

The majority (82%) of IT decision makers working in banks and financial service institutions (ISPs) in the UAE are under pressure to improve their security protocols.
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Dubai: The majority (82%) of IT decision-makers working in banks and financial services institutions (ISPs) in the UAE are under pressure to improve their security protocols, according to a new study from Citrix.

It comes as 72% see IT security risks in the industry increasing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees are the most likely to lobby their organization for increased security, with 67% of IT professionals reporting pressure from this group, followed by customers (48%), then government (45%) and shareholders (31%).

Perhaps in response to these requests, 66% of those surveyed say that security has become a top priority in their organization over the past 18 months. They join the additional 31 percent who say it has been a top priority “for years.”

“It’s no surprise that security has become an even higher priority since the start of the pandemic,” said Amir Sohrabi, zone vice president for emerging markets at Citrix. “As remote working became ubiquitous overnight and employees were more likely to be distracted by personal and professional stressors, cyber attacks have mushroomed around the world. This research highlights that internal and external stakeholders have recognized the challenges, which are particularly relevant in an industry like finance.

Despite the increase in cyber attacks and the changing demands and pressures on them; 95 percent of IT decision-makers say they are comfortable with their IT security arrangements, with 25 percent saying they are “very comfortable.” 86% also believe that the IT security teams in their organization have “all the necessary skills” to meet today’s challenges.

This trust can come, at least in part, from the fact that many organizations are replacing their traditional VPN solutions with zero trust cloud-based services. About half (46%) of those surveyed have already implemented it, and 49% plan to do so within the next 12 months.

Six percent more plan to follow suit in the longer term. The main drivers of this decision are the improvement of the end-user experience (42%), the implementation of an agile and secure remote work strategy (39%), the consolidation of multi-point products ( 36%) and more on-premise solutions to the cloud (35%).

Additionally, 90% of IT decision makers report being satisfied with the digital workspace solutions their organization has used to support remote working in the past 18 months. 54% of those surveyed implemented these digital workspace solutions in response to the mandate to work from home in March 2020, while an additional 42% already had them in place before the pandemic. The remaining 4% plan to provide their teams with digital workspace solutions in the future.

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Linda Stewart

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