82% of Information Technology, IT, decision makers working in banks and financial service institutions, FSIs, in the UAE are under pressure to level up their security protocols, according to new research from Citrix. This comes as 72% see IT security risks in the industry increasing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employees are most likely to be pressurising their organisation to increase security, with 67% of IT pros reporting pressure from this group, followed by customers, 48%, then government 45%, and shareholders, 31%.
Perhaps in response to these demands, 66% of respondents report that security has become a priority in their organisation over the past 18 months. They join the further 31% who report that it has been a priority for years.
However, despite the increase in cyberattacks and the changing demands and pressures upon them; 95% of IT decision makers claim they are comfortable with their IT security provisions, with 25% of those saying they are very comfortable. 86% also believe that the IT security teams in their organisations have all the skills necessary to handle challenges.
This confidence may come, at least in part, from the fact that many organisations are replacing their traditional Virtual Private Network, VPN, solutions with Zero Trust, cloud-based services. 46% of respondents have already implemented this, with another 49% planning to do so in the next 12 months. A further 6% plan to follow suit in the longer term.
The biggest drivers behind this decision are improving end user experience, 42%, having an agile and secure remote work strategy, 39%, consolidating multiple point products, 36%, and more on-premises solution to the cloud, 35%.
In addition, 90% of IT decision makers report that they are satisfied with the digital workspace solutions their organisation has used to support remote work, over the past 18 months. 54% of respondents implemented these digital workspace solutions in response to the mandate to work from home in March 2020, while a further 42% already had them in place prior to the pandemic. The remaining 4% plan to provide their teams with digital workspace solutions in the future.
Of the other technologies that organisations have in place to support remote working, the popular are virtual desktops and apps, 67%, video conferencing, streaming, 62%, and emails, 57%.
Whilst the majority of IT decision makers feel they have the right teams in place to support their organisations’ current security posture, there may be challenges on the horizon. 87% of respondents admit that they will need to hire externally to get the right skills in the future, and 87% feel that at some point, IT security teams in their organisation will need to be entirely reskilled.
Additionally, the research uncovers some gaps in wider security training for employees of banks and FSIs. 31% of respondents say that security training for all employees at their organisation is provided less than once a year, with 1% admitting it is provided every six years or less.
Amir Sohrabi, Area Vice President for Emerging Markets, Citrix, said, “It is no surprise that security has become an even greater priority since the pandemic began. As remote work became ubiquitous overnight, and employees were more likely to be distracted by personal and professional stressors, cyberattacks have increased across the globe.”