Saudi Vision 2030

Saudi ICT spend to hit $40bn

Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation continues to burgeon with reports showing that the Kingdom’s ICT spend grew 6 per cent in 2017 to over $36 billion and is predicted to expand further this year to reach the value of $40 billion.

With the pace of Saudi Arabia’s digitisation continuing in rapid acceleration, Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, emphasised the need for a modernised, integrated and secured system, noting the serious privacy and security challenges that come with a vast web of interconnected technologies.

Speaking at the Smart Transformation Summit in Riyadh, Dr Moataz Bin Ali, VP for Trend Micro for Middle East and North Africa, highlighted that with Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision of smart cities, the absence of well-defined security standards and regulations can turn projected benefits of this digital transformation into unforeseen problems.

IoT is at the heart of smart city transformation. With the number of connected things expected to grow to 26 billion in 2020, the attack surface for hackers also increases. These attacks not only can compromise big data but can disrupt government services as well and hold systems for ransom. It is imperative that citywide smart technologies that handle and process resident and infrastructure data be secured. Organisations and government entities involved in the creation of smart cities should be able to provide continued and sustainable developments that benefit their citizens while ensuring their cities’ security," Dr Ali says.

Cyber threats in Saudi Arabia continue to be a major challenge. A 2017 Trend Micro report revealed that global ransomware treats stood at 1.6 billion and 8,800,000 of these threats were seen in the Kingdom. The same report showed that Saudi Arabia’s education sector was most affected by malware, followed by government, and telecommunications. Other sectors also affected were healthcare, manufacturing, and oil and gas. The security vendor also predicted that there will be significant rise in threats in the kingdom for 2018.

Dr Ali says that Trend Micro is strengthening the call for a layered approach to cybersecurity, especially since one of the main aspects of the kingdom’s transformation is building smart cities. Trend Micro has the solutions that will help smart city stakeholders secure technology. Parallel to this, we have also come up with a reference outlining key steps to mitigate the risks associated with rapid urbanisation," Dr Ali further says.




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