UAE and Saudi Positioned as Leaders in Cyber and Physical Security: Study
UAE and Saudi Positioned as Leaders in Cyber and Physical Security: Study

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UAE and Saudi Arabia are recognized as some of the most secure nations in the Middle East, leading businesses to be drawn to their protective business environments.

A recent report highlights that both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have effectively dealt with major threats, ranging from sabotage to industrial espionage and property theft. The findings for both countries indicate a trend towards expecting some of the region’s lowest security threat rates. Further, both nations demonstrate advanced technological applications in their security initiatives.

The G4S World Security Report shares that Chief Security Officers (CSOs) based in the UAE project the region’s lowest rates of internal threats, such as sabotage, violence against employees, and industrial espionage. On the other hand, CSOs in Saudi Arabia project the lowest threat rates concerning intrusion, competitor-based sabotage, and theft of company assets.

Mohamed Kamal, the Regional Managing Director for G4S in the Middle East, conveyed that the UAE is a paragon of cyber safety and its decisive policy actions have yielded one of the region’s strongest security infrastructure, with Saudi Arabia paralleling this excellence. Kamal also highlighted that data from their report suggests that CSOs in the UAE are ahead of the curve in their approach to cyber, its overlap with physical security, and technology usage.

The G4S study surveyed over 1,700 CSOs from prominent global firms, together generating revenues of approximately $20 trillion (AED 73.5tn) in 2022. Notably, companies lost over $1 trillion ($3.7tn) in revenue due to security incidents in the previous year. The report also disclosed that one-quarter of publicly-traded companies saw a decrease in their market value following a security breach.

In the UAE, while CSOs have observed more fraud incidents than their regional counterparts, this highlights an increased level of preparedness. For instance, a notable scam that transpired in the UAE involved a group of individuals who defrauded AED32 million through fraudulent websites and phishing schemes. Similarly, another incident in Dubai saw a group of individuals conning victims by posing as film producers.

On the Saudi side, the report indicates that CSOs are wary of intellectual property theft, industrial espionage, and copyright infringement becoming more prominent threats in 2024 compared to other Gulf states. The Saudi government has proactively addressed these concerns, with measures such as confiscating counterfeit products and arresting those involved in copyright infringements.

Addressing technological advancements, Kamal stated that while the UAE and Saudi Arabia showcase similar levels of threat preparedness, their technological investment priorities diverge. For the UAE, the focus is on biometrics, facial recognition, Smart City initiatives, and autonomous transportation. Saudi Arabia, in contrast, is leaning more towards AI, IoT, and connected devices to enhance security and efficiency.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have channeled substantial funds into security solutions. The UAE has earmarked $6.5bn (AED 23.9bn) for expenditure between 2023 and 2026. In comparison, Saudi Arabia allocated over $27.2bn (AED 99.9bn) for security in 2020. The value and projected growth of the security market in both countries further exemplify their commitment to bolstering security.