Ziad Nasr, general manager for Middle East, Acronis, with Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod at Gitex Global in Dubai on Tuesday. — Supplied photo

The UAE is a regional hub for technology and innovation, which is attracting increased attention from cyber protection experts.

While brick-and-mortar businesses and eCommerce platforms worldwide and regionally have predominantly been targeted by cybercriminals, other entities like non-profit and sports organisations have also become prime targets for ransomware attacks due to the kind of data they generate and store.

Partnership with sports teams

Realising the value of data, they possess at any one given time and what it would mean to lose this all-important information, major football teams are now investing in cyber protection strategies to help them identify and cope with complex threats, protect their data and safeguard their competitiveness in their respective leagues.

The 2022 English Premier League (EPL) winner Manchester City, which is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, is one among many EPL teams that have partnered with leading cyber protection company, Acronis, as part of its strategy to protect players’ data. The company founded in Singapore in 2003 and headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Sheikh Mansour is a perfect example of a leader and a business owner who values and understands the importance of cyber protection and the kind of value-addition it brings to an organisation.

As part of its regional strategy to invest in the local cyber protection space and create the much-needed awareness for a unified approach to emerging cyber threats, former Argentine international and Man City player, Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod, made an appearance at this year’s Gitex Technology Week on Tuesday.

The right-back’s presence at the five-day Gitex Global not only underscores the importance of integrating cyber protection, especially at a time when the region has experienced its fair share of cyber threats and attacks, but also encourages sports teams in the region to seriously think about how they manage and protect their data.

Defensive cyber strategy

Coming on the back of heightened cyber threats in the region, Acronis recently revealed in its latest report that ransomware remains the number one threat to organisations, with damages expected to exceed $30 (Dh110.19) billion by 2023. The report also indicated that the UAE ranks among the top 10 countries that had reported the highest malware detection rate by June this year.

Acronis, which provides data backup, antivirus, disaster recovery solutions, endpoint protection management, and award-winning artificial intelligence-based anti-malware and blockchain-driven data authentication technologies, is at the forefront of offering custom-made solutions that safeguard data, applications, and ecosystems.

With flagship products such as Acronis Cyber Protect, organisations and businesses in the region can significantly reduce their vulnerabilities and safeguard their data and most importantly, their information technology (IT) infrastructure.

Speaking on the sidelines of Gitex Global, Pasha Ershow, senior vice-president, Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) and Middle East and Africa (MEA) Sales and Global Channel, said: “With cyber threats evolving over time and cybercriminals developing complex tactics to steal data, the market needed to change its approach to cybersecurity and data protection. It had become clear that having separate solutions was not good enough to protect valuable data. This is why Acronis developed an industry-first all-in-one solution that combines backup, disaster recovery, next-generation anti-malware, antivirus, vulnerability assessment, patch management, and remote management tools into a single console. Our presence at this year's Gitex together with former Man City player demonstrates our commitment to helping regional businesses operate in a safe digital environment,”

The way forward

It’s imperative that regional IT managers must formulate and deploy a cyber protection strategy that can adequately address emerging cybersecurity challenges. A secure digital infrastructure is crucial to the overall success and growth of any organisation and as the reliance on digital assets continues to soar, the need for solutions that address safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security must be seriously taken into consideration.


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Joydeep Sengupta