UAE financial institutions under pressure to increase IT security – Gulf News

72 per cent see IT security risks in the industry increased since the start of COVID-19
Dubai: Majority (82 per cent) of IT decision makers working in banks and financial service institutions (FSIs) in the UAE are under pressure to level up their security protocols, according to new research from Citrix.
This comes as 72 per cent see IT security risks in the industry increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees are most likely to be pressurising their organisation to increase security, with 67 per cent of IT pros reporting pressure from this group, followed by customers (48%), then government (45%), and shareholders (31%).
Perhaps in response to these demands, 66 per cent of respondents report that security has become a top priority in their organisation over the past 18 months. They join the further 31 per cent who report that it has been a top priority “for years”.
“It is no surprise that security has become an even greater priority since the pandemic began,” says Amir Sohrabi, Area Vice President for Emerging Markets at Citrix. “As remote work became ubiquitous overnight, and employees were more likely to be distracted by personal and professional stressors, cyberattacks have increased across the globe. This research highlights that both internal and external stakeholders have recognised the challenges, which are especially pertinent in a sector like finance.”
Despite the increase in cyber-attacks and the changing demands and pressures upon them; 95 per cent of IT decision makers claim they are comfortable with their IT security provisions, with 25 per cent of those saying they are “very comfortable”. 86 per cent also believe that the IT security teams in their organisations have “all the skills necessary” to handle today’s challenges.
This confidence may come, at least in part, from the fact that many organisations are replacing their traditional VPN solutions with Zero Trust, cloud-based services. About half (46 %) of respondents have already implemented this, with another 49 per cent planning to do so in the next 12 months.
A further six per cent plan to follow suit in the longer term. The biggest drivers behind this decision are improving end user experience (42%), having an agile and secure remote work strategy (39%), consolidating multiple point products (36%) and more on-premises solution to the cloud (35%).
In addition, 90 per cent of IT decision makers report that they are satisfied with the digital workspace solutions their organisation has used to support remote work, over the past 18 months. 54 per cent of respondents implemented these digital workspace solutions in response to the mandate to work from home in March 2020, while a further 42 per cent already had them in place prior to the pandemic. The remaining 4 percent plan to provide their teams with digital workspace solutions in the future.

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