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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Global cybercrime damages, which are predicted to amount to $10.5 trillion by 2025, will have a detrimental effect to companies' top lines, leading business and financial figures have warned.
The panelists of “The Rising Tide” discussion at the Global Cybersecurity Forum concluded that companies are experiencing exacerbated operational costs because of increases in real-time losses due to theft, network downtime and rising insurance premiums.
“Cybercrime is becoming a global issue that affects individuals, organizations and even nations. The latest estimates of cybercrime-led damages are about $10.5 trillion by 2025,” said Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh acting CEO of Saudi Basic Industries Corp.
Speaking at the event, Al-Fageeh highlighted that the warnings are getting louder and could soon get into a crisis mode as the menace could directly affect companies' toplines.
“At an organizational level, it affects revenue and costs. For example, revenue in organizations has been reduced by 5 to 10 percent due to cyberattacks,” said Al-Fageeh.
“The downtime to resolve cyberattacks can take up to 45 days. In addition, costs are becoming unpredictable as insurance costs are increasing significantly,” he added.
Khaled Al-Dhaher the deputy governor for control and technology at Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority warned companies to invest in technology wisely.
Al-Dhaher said investment in firewalls and security middleware, with the proper governance approach and capability, could go a long way in detecting and troubleshooting this growing menace.
“It will create the right impact for the cybersecurity strategy. There has to be a continuous investment in innovation to address these evolving landscapes, and it is critical to have some threat intelligence,” said Al-Dhaher.
Echoing Al-Fageeh’s thoughts, Al-Dhaher reiterated that companies cannot fight in isolation, and collaboration is necessary.
“A collaboration between different entities is a must because this is a war against criminals trying to damage us,” he added.
One of the worst-affected industries in cyberspace is the financial sector, especially the crypto community, which has been at the receiving end of cybersecurity problems.
According to speakers at the event, there is an increasing need for innovation in the financial sector, which has recently introduced user-friendly measures such as open banking.
“There is no doubt that innovation is critical to enabling and continuing trust in this sector. Artificial intelligence can help predict, protect and minimize the impact,” pointed out Al-Dhaher.
Saudi Arabia has recognized the threat, and is gearing up to combat cybercrime.
According to Alex Liu, managing partner and chairman of global management consulting firm Kearney, the Kingdom has made huge progress in its commitment to combating cyberattacks, with Saudi Arabia ranking second on the Global Cybersecurity Index among nations committed to cybersecurity.
“I’m inspired by the fact that in just two short years, the Kingdom has become number two, and I think that comes from urgency and proactivity,” he added.
According to Liu, cybersecurity is one of the top three risks facing countries and companies and the urgency to counter it needs to be increased.
Overall, the event was a wake-up call for companies to invest wisely and collaborate with government entities in combating the menace that could uproot businesses and economies.
The panel’s members were SABIC's acting CEO Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh; Khaled Al-Dhaher, SAMA's Deputy Governor for Control and Technology, Isa Ali Ibrahim, Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, and Alex Liu,Kearney's managing partner and chairman, Kearney.
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