'In-country' data centers will have provided Middle East organisations with reasonable assurances about the integrity of their data protection. (Image used for illustrative purposes.) Image Credit: AFP

Every enterprise in the Middle East looking to build a strategy around modern data protection should keep three important pillars in mind – cloud, security and containers. Businesses need to have a good understanding of what cloud brings to an organization and why it is important.

Secondly, before the pandemic, we had a centralized office where employees were all in one place. With decentralization, the boundaries of the organization have become invisible. Data is all over the place, necessitating a need for a comprehensive security strategy to safeguard all entry points.

Finally, we see an increased interest in Kubernetes as a critical piece of an enterprise’s cloud infrastructure. This has created a new area around container-native data protection that needs addressing.

Accelerated adoption

Although cloud is not yet mainstream in the region, adoption is expected to witness significant growth as enterprises begin to “trust” in-country offerings with the big public cloud players like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services having opened data centers. Gartner forecasts end user spending on public cloud services in the MENA region to grow 19 per cent in 2022.

Another trend we see is that many governments are creating their own ‘Government Cloud’ in order to have control over their data and not letting it reside in the public realm.


Not only can cyberattacks affect day-to-day business, impact revenue, and create other problems, above all, it affects the brand reputation and workforce. Enterprises will continue to invest and safeguard themselves against the ever-growing increase in cyberattacks, especially ransomware.

Although organizations spend a lot on security technologies, there is a huge gap when it comes to planning and executing a security strategy. This mainly boils down to the complexity of the IT environment.

There are still a lot of legacy systems. Protecting these complicated environments is a big challenge and becomes even more so in the transition phase of moving to the cloud. Regional CISOs need to have a stringent security programme in place, which includes important elements like stress testing of IT systems, backups, a disaster recovery strategy and educating employees to become a first line of defense for improving organizational resilience.

Data privacy and protection

In early September, the UAE announced the introduction of a new federal data protection law. With this, data privacy and security are set to take centrestage as consumers demand transparency and their “right” to be forgotten. By having the option of opting out, consumers can ensure that their data is being handled in a correct way and they are not targeted by organizations.

More importantly, international corporations based in the UAE and the Middle East can be assured that policies are being applied when it comes to data in-country – whether it be in terms of the way data is stored, IP is managed or how customer and consumer data is protected

Digital transformation

The rapid adoption of containers in enterprises, the need for on-demand resources, and the flexibility of workloads will drive digital transformation. The lack of skilled resources and understanding around the technology is a big challenge for enterprises in the Middle East.