There will be further tightening of laws on data, especially with the Gen AI movement in place. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Right now, traditional AI - also called ‘weak AI’ or ‘narrow AI’ - is everywhere. It is automating industries, reshaping the retail business and consumer behavior, and a lot more.

In 2024, public and private sectors in the Middle East will continue to introduce AI to their digital services. For example: AI in cybersecurity. AI to predict real-time payment scams, face recognition, etc.

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Hybrid cloud

Reducing capex objectives, cybersecurity concerns, smart city projects, and governmental initiatives have led to an increase in the number of local cloud providers in the Middle East. Last year saw many hyper-scalers opening their local datacenters in multiple countries in the region. In 2024, we will see more digital services for government and private sector organizations running in hybrid clouds.


In 2024, Cybersecurity will stay the top concern for organizations in the Middle East since ransomware attacks delay and impact their digital transformation objectives. As high as 85 per cent of UAE and Saudi Arabia organizations were subject to at least one ransomware attack in the last 12 months according to data from the Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2023.

Organizations will invest more in cybersecurity, especially in data backup and recovery such as zero trust policies, AI-powered and built-in malware detection, and point-in-time recovery. More specialized ransomware attacks will be targeting specific industries. Attacks overall will cause more damage and get more significant.

CIOs and security heads of organizations must stay abreast of the threat and market landscapes and focus on the fundamentals – not the latest and greatest new security solutions – including education, preventative planning, and more robust defenses. Partnering with experts will also provide better defensive action.

Enterprises who surround themselves with the right people who have experience dealing with ransomware prevention will bode much better than those who take this task on themselves.

Data breaches due to Generative AI

Right now, most countries in the Middle East do not have clear legalizations for using Generative AI tools, which puts all organizations and individuals at risk of breaching privacy regulations. In 2024, it is expected that the efforts for regulatory entities in the Middle East will be focused on regulating the usage of data in autonomous and semi-autonomous systems.

Criticality of Zero trust policies

Cybersecurity today realizes the importance of Zero Trust policies. However, these policies do not include the security of data backup and recovery systems, even though they are ripe targets of ransomware attacks. While many organizations follow Zero Trust frameworks, they need to also apply these tools to data backup and recovery to reduce down time and become more resilient against ransomware.

It’s critical that organizations start following the Zero Trust Data Resilience (ZDTR) model, which applies practical Zero Trust tools to data backup and recovery.