Forbes Middle East


How Can Cybersecurity Impact Data Protection?

Samar Khouri
How Can Cybersecurity Impact Data Protection?

Today’s landscape is digital and privacy is undoubtedly at the core of it. Although some are aware of data privacy procedures within any organization, there is still a growing concern when dealing with it and its effect on consumer experience.

The latest study from Thales and research from the Ponemon Institute revealed that businesses are failing to protect sensitive data stored in the cloud, with only one-third of firms using a secure approach. According to a recent report from cybersecurity firm DarkMatter, cyberattacks in the Middle East, especially the UAE, are rising and mostly targeting the oil and gas sector.

Yet, privacy is a fundamental human right. As cybersecurity and data protection come to play, some people may find it interconnected and, at times, separate, even when in select countries that have specific regulations.

During the Forbes Middle East Big Data’s Big Trends event, some of the biggest leaders in the industry gathered to provide insight on cybersecurity and its impact on data security.

Mahmoud El Tabarane, Head of Operations MENA at Infowatch said that cybersecurity as a concept itself includes many other things besides data security. “Personally, I feel like cybersecurity is the group of items and data security is one of them because the channels of accessing this data are one part. The data itself is another part,” he said.

“Without having a proper education, proper tools, and proper awareness of what is cyber society, you will not do the correct policies and correct internal methods of data security.”

When it comes to data security, the first hour of a data breach, which can be either be data leakage or data manipulation, is the most vital in any organization. So, he said it’s of utmost importance to be prepared on how to act with someone’s data and make sure that it’s encrypted correctly across all devices.

“Without the correct investment in the human education for cybersecurity awareness, you will have a lot of issues internally in your organization,” Tabarane added.

In efforts to create a safer cyber infrastructure and combat cybercrimes locally, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority launched the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy this year. The launch came when data security breaches saw an increase by 42%. Between 2014 and 2017, the annual cost of cybercrime reportedly reached $608 billion around the world.


Tarek Nakkach, Regional Legal Counsel at HPE, said that there will eventually be a “unified law for data protection”, mapped on General Data Protection Regulation but with a focus on local sensitivities in regards to security.

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