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Mena IT spending to top $20bn in 2012

Dubai, October 1, 2012

The Middle East region’s expenditure on Information Technology (IT) is poised to cross $20 billion in 2012 registering a growth rate of over 10 per cent, on the year on-year average, according to a report.

The network security market in the region too is expected to experience a healthy growth rate of over 18 per cent between 2012 and 2018, opening up huge opportunities for vendors to identify and tap, said business research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

The Middle East security market is growing, thanks to the government-led investments in information and communication technologies (ICT) industry, with targeted spending on education, healthcare, and infrastructure sectors, the report stated.

However, a growing need for network connections necessitates added protection for consumers from an ever-increasing number of threats, which are not only highly furtive and concealed but also highly targeted and customised, said the research firm.

Consumerisation of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) in enterprises and rise in employee mobility are also seen. Though the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) vertical remained the top overall spender in the region in 2011, partly due to increasing penetration of global companies in the region, the Government vertical spent more on security technologies.

There has also been a growing need amongst public sector companies to enhance their security infrastructure with IT becoming a critical component in their operational setup.

Thus, Frost & Sullivan expects regulatory compliance to be one of the key drivers of the enterprise security market in the Middle East.

Technology convergence, cloud computing, and greater adoption of web applications are expected to drive the deployment of integrated security appliances in the region during 2012-2018, said the Frost & Sullivan report.

With persistent cyber attacks that aim to access critical and confidential data, sectors such as banking and finance, government and defence, manufacturing, oil and gas, online shopping and trading, social networking sites, and hospitality are most vulnerable in the Middle East, the research firm added.

According to Frost & Sullivan, a shift in focus is necessary from threat management to risk management. "Many organisations are using collaborative technologies such as blogs, podcasts, and wikis to communicate with both internal employees and customers, and there has been a shift in control from the enterprise to the consumer."

This paradigm shift in communication to collaborative technologies, coupled with increased Internet penetration and information sharing, is making organisations review their security policies today, said the report.

"Modern-day businesses are becoming increasingly information-centric in the Middle East. In light of changing technology trends, effective management of information security risks is of paramount importance for decision makers today," observed Haritha Ramachandran, the program manager, ICT Practice (Mena) Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan therefore recommends that due to the rising complexity of security threats, security solutions should not only focus on security-related deficiencies to minimise gaps but also facilitate the integration between business and technology, she said.

"While most countries in the region are using emergency laws to deal with these issues, countries such as Saudi, the UAE, Qatar, Iran, and Oman have taken early initiatives to develop/implement stringent cyber laws through their local regulating bodies, with a few even having designated specific cyber courts to deal with such crimes,” Haritha added.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Middle East | IT security | technology | ICT | expenditure |

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