IBM to open new cybersecurity facility in Saudi Arabia

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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US-based multinational technology and consulting company, IBM (International Business Machines Corporation) has announced the official opening of its first security operations center in Saudi Arabia, to offer regulated security services to customers in the private and government sectors.

The new center is intended to support clients who respond to cybersecurity incidents as well as control emerging threats through live analysis and early warning notification of security events. Also, it provides a local data residency designed to support customer preferences and control requirements.

Analysts and experts from IBM Security will help customers with expedited incident investigations and remediation plans. The data violations on companies in Saudi Arabia cost companies an average of $6.53 million per breach, higher than the global average of $3.86 million per breach, according to a recent IBM study. IBM Managed Security Services handle an average of 150 billion security events per day.

Hossam Seif El-Din
Hossam Seif El-Din
General Manager
IBM (Middle East & Pakistan)

“The launch of IBM’s security operations center in Saudi Arabia is a critical investment not only in helping our clients respond to ever-increasing cybersecurity incidents but also in providing them with local data residency to support their preferences and industry requirements. We are seeing a lot of new threat actors looking to take advantage of the confusion and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Therefore, we are also looking to use the new center to drive education and awareness to help clients defend themselves from potential threats.”

The rapid shift to remote workforces amid the pandemic health crisis and a subsequent spike in attacks by cybercriminals have combined to create unprecedented cybersecurity threats for organizations worldwide. According to IBM Security X-Force, there was a 40 percent rise in security events worldwide in the first three months of 2020, while compared to the same timeframe in 2019.

The launch of the new IBM Riyadh center comes after a survey conducted by cybersecurity company Tenable earlier this year found that 95 percent of companies experienced a cyber-attack in Saudi Arabia last year. 85 percent of the Saudi respondents said they had undergone a drastic rise in the number of cyber-attacks over the past two years. Also, the companies said they had experienced consumer or employee data losses, payment demands for ransomware, and financial loss or theft.