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Data Disappearing Act: 94% of UAE Orgs Lost Data in Past Year, Proofpoint Reports

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A recent report by Proofpoint paints a concerning picture of data security in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The report, titled “Proofpoint’s Inaugural Data Loss Landscape report,” reveals that a staggering 94% of surveyed organizations in the UAE experienced data loss in the past year.

This alarming statistic highlights the urgent need for UAE businesses to prioritize robust data security measures.

UAE Organizations Hemorrhaging Data: Careless Employees Top Threat

Proofpoint’s report identifies careless employee behavior as the leading cause of data loss within UAE organizations. This includes accidental data leaks through emails, misconfigured cloud storage settings, and the use of unauthorized personal devices for work purposes. The report further emphasizes the significant risk posed by privileged users, such as HR and finance professionals, who have access to sensitive data. Proofpoint’s data shows that a mere 1% of users can be responsible for a staggering 88% of data loss incidents.

Beyond Careless Employees: A Multifaceted Threat Landscape

While careless employees pose a significant threat, the data loss landscape in the UAE is multifaceted. Here’s a closer look at some additional contributing factors:

  • Cyberattacks: Malicious actors can launch phishing attacks to trick employees into revealing sensitive data or exploit vulnerabilities in IT systems to gain unauthorized access.
  • Insider Threats: Disgruntled employees or those with malicious intent can deliberately leak or steal sensitive data.
  • Outdated Technology: Organizations using outdated software or unpatched systems are more vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.
  • Lack of Awareness: Inadequate employee training on cybersecurity best practices can leave organizations susceptible to human error.

10 Actionable Steps to Fortify Data Security in the UAE

The Proofpoint report serves as a wake-up call for UAE organizations. Here are 10 steps businesses can take to safeguard their data:

  1. Data Classification: Implement a data classification system to identify and prioritize sensitive data.
  2. Employee Training: Provide comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training for all employees.
  3. Strong Password Policies: Enforce strong password policies and implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts.
  4. Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Consider deploying Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions to monitor and control data movement.
  5. Endpoint Security: Implement robust endpoint security solutions to protect devices from malware and unauthorized access.
  6. Access Controls: Enforce stricter access controls to limit employee access to sensitive data based on the principle of least privilege.
  7. Regular Backups: Maintain regular and secure backups of critical data to facilitate recovery in case of a data loss incident.
  8. Incident Response Plan: Develop a comprehensive incident response plan to manage data breaches and other security incidents effectively.
  9. Security Culture: Foster a culture of cybersecurity within your organization, emphasizing data security best practices.
  10. Penetration Testing & Vulnerability Assessments: Conduct regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments to identify and address weaknesses in your IT infrastructure.

Conclusion

The Proofpoint report underscores the critical state of data security in the UAE. By prioritizing employee training, implementing robust security controls, and fostering a culture of data protection, UAE organizations can significantly reduce their data loss risks and safeguard sensitive information. In an increasingly digital world, data security is no longer an option; it’s a necessity.

Ouaissou DEMBELE
Ouaissou DEMBELEhttps://cybercory.com
Ouaissou DEMBELE is an accomplished cybersecurity professional and the Editor-In-Chief of cybercory.com. He has over 10 years of experience in the field, with a particular focus on Ethical Hacking, Data Security & GRC. Currently, Ouaissou serves as the Co-founder & Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Saintynet, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. In this role, he is responsible for managing the company's cybersecurity strategy, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, and identifying and mitigating potential threats, as well as helping the company customers for better & long term cybersecurity strategy. Prior to his work at Saintynet, Ouaissou held various positions in the IT industry, including as a consultant. He has also served as a speaker and trainer at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. Ouaissou holds a number of certifications in cybersecurity, including the Cisco Certified Network Professional - Security (CCNP Security) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), ITIL. With his wealth of experience and knowledge, Ouaissou is a valuable member of the cybercory team and a trusted advisor to clients seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

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