Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 60 - Page 27


Network security and integrity are a primary focus within enterprises in the Middle East and Africa ( MEA ), as the region is becoming increasingly aware of the grave repercussions of cyberattacks both on a reputational and financial level . According to a 2020 study by the Ponemon Institute and IBM security , the cost of a data breach in Saudi Arabia and UAE for example rose by 9.4 %. On average , these attacks cost companies US $ 6.53 million per breach , which is much higher when compared to the global average of US $ 3.86 million per breach .

That said , network security and integrity have become key topics within the enterprise segment as companies would instead safeguard their networks against potential risks rather than clean up the damage afterward .
CIOs and their IT teams must emphasise robust cybersecurity best practices to design a secure network . The best practices include educating users on proper cybersecurity hygiene and employing network and endpoint cybersecurity protection solutions to detect malware , anomalous activity or indicators of compromise ( IoCs ). These solutions and cyber hygiene practices must not be limited to the office space only . The new normal is inclusive of hybrid and remote working policies , thus leaving the network at more significant risk .
Companies must put in place data restoration plans and perform vulnerability assessments . Another factor is the continuous deployment of threat intelligence to investigate and proactively hunt unauthorized users to avoid an attack . Companies must also prioritise the use of reliable DDoS mitigation methods .
Given that network security is an umbrella term that includes various subsections , there are four common challenges that CIOs run into when designing their network security , including the increasing sophistication of cyberthreat tools and the gap in knowledge faced by IT teams of the looming threats and needed solutions . This is combined with a second challenge ; the complexity of network security technology , as there is a need for an increasing number of tools to fight off the different threats .
The increase in Internet of Things devices connecting to unsafe networks and cloud applications have led to a more vulnerable environment to protect .
Another challenge is the expanding attack surface . The increase in Internet of Things ( IoT ) devices connecting to unsafe networks and cloud applications have led to a more vulnerable environment to protect . Finally , poorly designed network security has been attributed to the ongoing cybersecurity skills shortage as the scope and complexity of the required measures overwhelms the understaffed department .
For CIOs to select the best tools in the market , they must keep in mind a few key factors affecting their decision , including the optimisation of the security solution , its efficiency , the level of visibility provided , and the professional services assistance offered by the service provider .
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