[ISN] Mideast firms urged to focus on e-security

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Mon Dec 30 2002 - 00:24:55 PST

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    Al Ain 
    By Aftab Kazmi
    E-security is the prime concern of the Internet driven business
    environment and Middle Eastern companies should adopt pre-emptive
    safety measures to save their assets, a UAE official said here
    The awareness of e-business security issues is admittedly low in the
    Middle East's corporate world compared with the advanced markets and
    this is dangerous, said Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Chief Executive Officer
    (CEO) of the Dubai Internet City.
    He was speaking as a keynote speaker at the 'E-Security Solutions
    Exhibition', organised by the students of the Al Ain Women's College
    Dr Sulaiman said that e-security is an important pillar to support the
    fast pace with which the e-business environment and economy of the UAE
    needs to develop.
    New approaches, he said, are being adopted by the businesses around
    the world to cope with the rising security threats.
    "The Internet has created an interconnected world that helps
    businesses both save and make money, but it has also opened a huge
    electronic window into the core of an organisation's business
    This gives malicious elements a big temptation to disrupt a company's
    operations or steal or damage its most valuable asset, information, he
    A recent survey in the U.S. has revealed startling evidence of the
    rising tide of security threats. Some 90 per cent companies have
    detected computer security breaches within the last 12 months.
    The survey further pointed out that 80 per cent acknowledged financial
    losses took place due to security breaches. About 44 per cent or 223
    respondents reported $456 million in financial losses due to the
    security breaches, he said.
    The CEO said the most businesses in the Middle East merely react to
    security threats, rather than assessing risks to manage their security
    strategically. "This attitude is dangerous," he said while
    highlighting the need for a change in the approach.
    He said that companies have to make a strategic commitment to ensure
    effective security. Most of the companies in this region (Middle East)  
    shy away from making this commitment as can be seen in the widespread
    lack of a security budget.
    "For companies doing business online, security spending must be an
    integral part of overall e-business spending."
    He said installing traditional protections, such as firewalls, are
    ineffective as hackers and their techniques are continuously becoming
    more advanced through technology and learning.
    Dr Sulaiman suggested that the best way to ensure e-security is to
    contact specialised solution providers as this trend is growing in the
    international businesses which realise security is increasingly
    becoming a service rather than a product.
    "Effective security is best provided by what is known as a Managed
    Security Service Provider."
    The CEO said the Dubai Internet City is keen to offer its support and
    involvement for these new security trends.
    "We have been working closely with the region's ICT (Information and
    Communication Technologies) industry to identify the security
    expertise and infrastructure needs of enterprises."
    The DIC, which is already providing e-security solutions through its
    subsidiary DataFort, has also been encouraging private sector
    companies to launch managed security services.
    Earlier, the AAWC's e-security exhibition was opened by the college
    Director Dr Neel Mangham. More than 20 business and information
    technology security companies and educational institutions, including
    universities, exhibited their products and services for safe online
    content transfers and transactions.
    The activities of the event also included personal development
    sessions, online security products and services demonstration,
    students' presentations, a technology debate conducted by the Bachelor
    Management Information System students, quizzes and games.
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