Companies have no option but to be prepared to respond to cybercrime threats as the annual cost of cyber attacks is set to escalate to an estimated $6 trillion by 2021 globally, according to cyber security experts.
Cyber attacks pose a threat not only to businesses but to safety and existence of people, said Muhammad Shahmeer, founder of Veiliux.
“Everything nowadays is online, which also means companies and individuals are highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks,” Shahmeer said while addressing CIO Majlis, an initiative by Smartworld, an Etisalat and Dubai South joint venture company.
“Companies must train every employee and adopt a mindset of security and conduct cyber workshops,” he said, “Security, if not adopted as a culture, could cost an organization everything.”
Firms need to reach the maturity level where the entire organization—right from the leader to an employee—are security aware, said Saeed Al Dhaheri, chairman of Smartworld.
The way companies invest in other areas, they need to invest toward ensuring security within their organizations too, lest it come the weakest link that can cause serious damage, Dhaheri said.
The main concern of companies, which are facing data loss, is how quickly they can recover and how much data they can afford to lose, said Gregg Petersen, regional director, MEA and SAARC, Veeam Software.
Companies need to be careful about the vendors they choose to keep their business up and running and how much risk they can mitigate, he said.
Among the key challenges that smart cities face are insecure products and insufficient testing, huge and complex attack surface, shifting mindsets and budgets and lack of oversight, Petersen said.
The world would have over 50 billion inter-connected devices by 2020, according to Abdulqader Obaid Ali, CEO, Smartworld
The UAE is a frontrunner in terms of adopting the latest technologies, Ali said, adding that this transformation also brings with it the responsibility and challenge of ensuring safety from cyber-attacks.
The recent Wannacry malware, which affected 150 countries and infected over 200,000 computers, is estimated to have caused $4 billion losses, according to cyber risk modelling firm Cyence.
According to CybersecurityVentures, the global annual cybercrime costs will grow to $6 trillion by 2021 from $3 trillion in 2015.
These include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud and post-attack disruption to business.