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All eyes on Middle East and Africa’s US$5.4 billion cybersecurity market

5 Jan 2018

Data protection infrastructure and mobile Apps spearhead new solutions launching at Dubai trade fair

Dubai, UAE: Information security is a hot-button issue dominating discussions among Middle East security professionals, as regional corporations and governments shore up their security systems in the face of rapidly escalating cyber threats.

According to analysts TechSci Research, the Middle East and African cybersecurity market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6 per cent during 2016-2021, turning the region into a US$6.8 billion market in 2021, from an estimated US$5.4 billion in 2017.

That growth is driven by an expanded internet user base, increasing application downloads and rising smartphone usage across the region, while a wide range of industry verticals, in particular banking and healthcare, have been targets for cyber-attacks in recent years.

The Internet of Things (IoT), and interconnectivity of everyday objects is turning the world into a hacker’s playground, with firms prioritising their cyber-security defence to avoid embarrassing data breaches such as those suffered by Equifax, in which millions of customer data was stolen, including addresses, credit-card details and Social Security numbers.

That sense of urgency is reflected at Intersec in Dubai, the world’s leading trade fair for security, safety, and fire protection.  The three-day event, which takes place from 21-23 January 2018 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, has an Information & Cyber Security section.  According to the show’s organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East, 35 per cent of the 31,000-plus trade visitors in 2017 were seeking information security products and services, from data security software to fully integrated mobile security applications. 

A similar ratio will be expected at the 20th edition of Intersec this month, and they’ll be duly met with the latest cutting-edge technology at the dedicated section, which itself has grown five-fold since it was first introduced in 2014. 

US-headquartered NetApp is among the leading companies at Intersec’s Information & Cyber Security section, where the Fortune 500 Company will showcase its best-of-breed solutions in the areas of data protection, video surveillance, data analytics, and cyber security.

Fadi Kanafani, Director for NetApp in the Middle East and Africa, said physical, cyber, and data security is a growing concern for customers around the world, and especially in the Middle East, while companies need to invest in cyber security on an ongoing basis.

“Cybercrime continues to be one of the fastest growing areas of crime, and due to the global nature of the internet, criminals can easily commit illegal activity anywhere in the world,” said Kanafani.

“In addition to the increasing occurrences of data breaches, industrial espionage, identity theft, intelligence breaches, and denial of service, there is also a growing risk for a major attack on critical infrastructure, such as electrical grids, communications, and banking.

“For federal governments, strengthening cybersecurity measures is an ongoing process, however, when attacks do occur, the time, expense, and lost productivity of recovering from a breach can cripple operations.  NetApp cybersecurity technologies help customers protect their data, know how their data is being used, and minimise the risk that data will be lost in the event of an attack,” added Kanafani

SoftGuard, also from the USA, is another Information & Cyber Security exhibitor and will launch SmartPanics, a mobile security application that allows multiple management and control functions, such as sending alarms, access to account information, vehicle information, family group tracking or camera viewing, as well as mobile monitoring.

SoftGuard’s CEO Daniel Banda said: “SmartPanics is an application that protects the most precious thing we have: our life and that of our loved ones. It’s an App that provides us with security and protection to lead a quiet and happy life with its protection 24/7, from anywhere on the planet and at any time.

“The App operates as a virtual emergency button that sends SOS, Fire or Assistance signals if an incident occurs, informing the exact location to a centralised monitoring centre that will give professional attention to treat emergencies and inform relevant authorities.

“Innovation is undoubtedly the future and we aim to bring our customers closer to that future,” added Banda.  “The market is changing, and the protection needs of people every day are more demanding.   SmartPanics is the most revolutionary monitoring system of the last decade, conceptually defined in the human monitoring scenario.”

Intersec 2018 will occupy 59,000sqm across 12 halls, with the show’s other six sections covering Commercial Security, Fire & Rescue, Perimeter & Physical Security, Safety & Health, Homeland Security & Policing, and Smart Home & Building Automation.

The 20th edition will also feature the Intersec Artificial Intelligence and Information Security Conference on the 23rd January, providing insights into combatting cyber security threats in the IoT world and addressing cyber security gaps in different industry verticals such as banks and financial institutions.

Other conferences will be spearheaded by Dubai’s Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA) Forum, while other topics will cover drones, commercial security, and fire protection.

New developments include a Drones Pavilion and an indoor Drone Zone, while returning features include the Safety Design in Buildings Pavilion in the Fire & Rescue section, as well as an Outdoor Demonstration Zone of the latest fire rescue applications in action.  

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