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Cyber risk investment expected from MENA region fintechs

Out-Law News | 26 Feb 2021 | 9:55 am | 1 min. read

Fintech businesses operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will invest in training, technology and in improving their policies and practices to address the growing cyber risk they face this year, an expert has said.

Dubai-based Seema Bono, who specialises in managing data and cyber risk at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, made the prediction in a recent article published by the Fintech Times.

The article highlighted research which shows that the compound annual growth rate of the MENA cybersecurity market is expected to be more than 14% between 2020 and 2025. It is already worth more than $7 billion.

"Managing cyber crime risk and digital protection will remain firm priorities for businesses in 2021 in the MENA region, particularly as the digital footprint of businesses increases," Bono said. "Operating in a Covid-19 world has given rise to a rapid proliferation of technology and huge demand for digital services. However, the current climate is one which plays aptly into the hands of attackers engaged in online scams, phishing and hacking aimed at undermining and disrupting business and economies. Increased threats have emerged in the last year as a consequence of remote working, rogue employees, activists and an unsettled environment in which governments and businesses are distracted by the global pandemic."

"In 2021, we will see more corporates equipping their people and teams with the skills and resources to identify and respond adequately to protect valuable information and systems. This will include more regular online training and awareness programmes on the serious risks and potential reputational consequences flowing from cyber attacks. We will also see more technology and services providers increasing and fine-tuning their offering. These providers have consistently improved their armoury of tools and products to support businesses in the fight against this invisible threat," she said.

Bono said more sophisticated policies and protocols are also expected to be developed by fintech companies operating in the MENA region during 2021. "These will be designed and tailored to manage cyber risk, prevent attacks and respond robustly, where required," she said.

Bono said: "Digital protection is increasingly becoming an important facet of the customer experience and 2021 will see the underlying customer becoming even more engaged in conversations around the safeguarding and protection of data. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt economies, the importance of a robust approach to the management of cyber risk and digital protection is essential to promote confidence and protect business."