26 Jan The Growing Relevance of Data Privacy in 2024
Data is king and is central to everything we do. Whether you represent a business, a nonprofit, an educational institution, a government agency, or the military, data plays a crucial role in your daily operations.
Today, more than ever, it is imperative for company leaders to be well-versed in the nuances of data privacy and protection. A recent report by IBM highlighted that the total cost of a data breach for organizations in the Middle East reached SAR 29.9 million in 2023, representing a 15% increase over the last three years and a significant 155.9% increase over the last decade.
The financial sector incurred the highest overall expense from data breaches, totalling SAR 35.29 million, with the energy industry ranking second at SAR 33.75 million. Meanwhile, the healthcare sector experienced a total data breach cost of SAR 32.46 million.
As digital adoption undergoes a significant transformation, reshaping the way organizations, industries, societies, and individuals operate and interact – below cybersecurity industry experts further raise awareness for Data Privacy Day and serve as a reminder of the importance and influence of data.
Data privacy requires a result-driven approach
Data privacy and cybersecurity have become paramount concerns for individuals and businesses alike, as the new capabilities of generative AI continue to reshape industries in the UAE. AI technologies have benefited both defensive cybersecurity teams and attackers. They have helped companies make threat detection and response processes more effective while empowering cybercriminals to extend the attack lifecycle. With data privacy as the most popular topic of discussion on the GCC dark web, we know traditional defence strategies are not enough anymore.
More companies will turn to AI and machine learning algorithms to develop prevention strategies in real-time, allowing for a more result-driven approach to cybersecurity to see light this year. Generative AI is projected to have immense economic potential in the GCC as investments in the tool continue to grow. Business leaders are continually outpacing each other, and we expect this trend to intensify in 2024 and beyond. – Alexandra Murzina, Head of Advanced Technologies, Positive Technologies.
A delicate balance between innovation and regulation
The increasing accessibility of AI technologies in the UAE will unfortunately continue to empower cybercriminals to refine their attack methodologies. With the rise of more sophisticated cyber threats, traditional rule-based approaches to cybersecurity may become inadequate. We can expect more companies to turn to AI and machine learning algorithms to enhance threat intelligence and improve detection and prevention strategies in real time.
As AI sits on such a broad spectrum, it falls on technology leaders to promote self-regulation and ethical AI practices within their organisations to ensure that the outputs of AI technologies are safe and beneficial for society. AI has the potential to transform our lives but it must not be allowed to become a weapon, used at the expense of the fundamental principles of data rights and privacy that we have today. Regulators need to find a delicate balance that protects individuals without stifling innovation. – Paolo Passeri, Cyber Intelligence Principal, Netskope.
The need to have ‘Data Privacy Activists and Advocates’
The rise of cyberattacks and wider data access in hybrid work demands stronger data privacy. Implementing a zero-trust framework with rigorous identity-based access control safeguards all user data, giving businesses visibility and control over critical systems. This proactive approach mitigates advanced threats and empowers organizations to counter future risks.
Safeguarding confidential information is a collective duty, particularly for enterprises handling data. The fact that conventional corporate boundaries in contemporary cloud setups significantly expand the vulnerability to cyber threats is not unexpected. These boundaries are inadequate in countering advanced security threats and safeguarding applications effectively. Safeguarding against data breaches is a challenging task that demands a fresh perspective on security.
This is where we need to build an active community of ‘Data Privacy Activists and Advocates’. The professional will educate and highlight violations, recommend best practices, and educate corporates, businesses and the community at large on the nuances of data privacy and the role of the various stakeholders towards a ‘Data Privacy sensitive’ society. – Emad Fahmy, Systems Engineering Manager, Middle East, NETSCOUT.