Saudi Arabia leads the region in cybersecurity, says SBM CEO

Saudi Arabia leads the region in cybersecurity, says SBM CEO
Published: 23 January 2020 - 7:30 a.m.
By: Carla Sertin
Essam Al Shiha, CEO of Saudi Business Machine said in an interview with Oxford Business Group, that with vendors moving to redesign and migrate in-house applications to cloud, customers are now able to leverage emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain and robotics, more effectively.

While warning of the “huge risks” that cyber security posed, Al Shiha highlighted the major strides that Saudi Arabia had taken to help address related challenges, including setting up its National Cybersecurity Authority in 2018.

“Most of the government agencies now are upgrading their cybersecurity to protect their local data, their processes, their servers and their storages in order to mitigate all the issues that might happen before and after the cyber attacks,” he said.

Turning to Saudi Arabia’s plans for the next phase of its digital development, Al Shiha said the process for rolling out 5G, which would be key in helping the Kingdom to realise the potential of new technologies, was under way.

He also shared his thoughts on what could be done to support start-ups that want to bring local content to the market, acknowledging that they often faced major hurdles. “We can help them by forming certain consortiums which should be a combination of business consultants, system integrators, public sector organisations and definitely investors for digital transformation,” he said.

“Of particular interest is the fact that the Kingdom has already been recognised for its efforts to address cybersecurity risks by gaining top spot amongst Arab countries and placing 13th overall in the 2019 Best in Class for Cybersecurity Commitment,” he said. “Achievements like these will certainly instil confidence in business leaders, many of whom are keen to find out more about how they can play a part in the next phase of Saudi Arabia’s growth story. I’m delighted we’ve been able to update them on these significant developments taking place in the Kingdom.”

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