The Growing Concerns Around Cloud Adoption in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Cloud adoption is steadily on the rise, creating for a growing concern around cloud-borne threats, specifically in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. In fact, the latest IDC trends report states that security continues to be the number one challenge facing Middle East-based CIOs, with spending on security systems in the region set to pass $2bn in 2017.

This is due to the shift from legacy IT systems to cloud-based services, and the security risks that move have created.

To study the security implications of cloud adoption, McAfee surveyed 1,400 IT security professionals globally, with 125 respondents from either Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates—70% came from organizations of over 1,000 employees and the 30% from enterprise of between 500-1,000 employees.

Out of those 125 surveyed, a whopping 98% reported using some type of cloud service, which was much higher than the global average of 93%. And though 94% trust cloud computing more than they did 12 months ago, a top concern by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) respondents to using SaaS after cost is “skills required by your IT security staff.”

In fact, the main deterrent to cloud adoption in the region is skilled staff that understands cloud architecture.  51% affirmed that they have slowed adoption due to a lack of cybersecurity skills (compared to global 49%) and only 8% said they didn’t have a skills shortage compared to global response of 15%

But beyond skills, the other top concern amongst respondents using IaaS was a tie between the ability of the cloud provider to meet service levels/SLAs for performance and availability and departments commissioning IaaS workloads without involving IT department (i.e. Shadow IT).

In fact, Shadow IT does seem to be a larger concern in the GCC compared to the global average perhaps a correlation to the skills shortage in IT.  Business units are procuring cloud services on their own (see chart below). In fact, over 46% of cloud services in these GCC countries are commissioned outside of the IT department as compared to global average of almost 40%. Plus, 85% of respondents affirmed that Shadow IT impairs their organization’s ability to keep cloud services safe and secure as compared to the global average of 66%. So, what’s the response to these concerns? Security as a service and security in the cloud for the cloud.  In fact, cloud adoption is going to continue to drive the demand of cloud-based security for their cloud-based applications and data.

And to learn more information on how security can address the growing concerns around cloud adoption, check out our report, Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky.

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