Middle East cyber security spending increases over GenAI risks

Middle East cyber security spending increases over GenAI risks

Organisations in the Middle East are rapidly embracing generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), producing an increased focus on data privacy and cloud security.

Gartner recently reported a projected 24 per cent and 17 per cent rise in spending on data privacy and cloud security in 2024. However, the unfamiliar landscape of AI threats, such as intellectual property leaks and evolving social engineering tactics, poses challenges.

Nader Henein from Gartner warned businesses of operational risks due to unauthorised AI use by employees and the heightened technical abilities of cyber attackers.

Microsoft and OpenAI also raised concerns about attackers utilising GenAI for cyber attacks.

Although the risks are high, many believe that GenAI is the future of technology and enthusiasm surrounding the tool is mounting.

Worldwide, nearly a third of organisations are driving GenAI, with 22 per cent already using it and 17 per cent in the implementation phase.

In Africa, the adoption of GenAI and updated data protection laws are pushing increased budgets for data protection with Gartner additionally forecasting a 12 per cent year-on-year increase in security and risk management spending in the MENA region, reaching USD 3.3 billion in 2024.

GenAI is often seen as part of the solution, with cybersecurity firms integrating intelligence and machine learning to alleviate the burden on security teams.

However, a defined AI strategy, skilled AI teams, and a rapid adoption process are key to implementing a secure process. But currently, less than 30 per cent of Gulf Cooperative Council companies meet all three criteria.