Large companies in Saudi Arabia expect low levels of security threats next year and to increase their usage of cutting-edge technology, cementing the country’s position as one of the best countries in the region to do business.
That’s according to the first-ever World Security Report published by G4S. 1,775 Chief Security Officers (CSOs) in 30 countries at large, global companies with total revenue of more than $20 trillion, took part in the research. 235 CSOs were surveyed in the Middle East from UAE, KSA, Egypt, and Jordan.
On external security threats, CSOs expect to have the lowest regional rates for intrusion and competitor sabotage at 11% and 13% respectively. Fewer CSOs say fraud and theft of company physical property are genuine external threats for the coming year than the regional and global averages at 17% and 16%.
Last year, Saudi Arabia experienced lower levels of external threats relating to vandalism, trespass and Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attacks compared with the global average.
Companies also experienced the least number of security incidents involving violent criminals across the Middle East last year at 19% whereas the regional average was 26%. They had fewer incidents involving petty criminals too at 22% compared with the global average at 36%.
More than a quarter, at 27%, of CSOs surveyed said they experienced no security-impacting hazards last year - economic unrest, social unrest, climate change etc - compared with the global average of 14%.
Next year, Saudi Arabia plans to increase its use of cutting-edge and emerging technology - defined as Artificial Intelligence, facial recognition and machine learning - from 22% to 40%.
In particular, it appears to be embracing the use of AI. Saudi Arabia is the second highest country in the region behind Jordan to say it will adopt AI-powered surveillance and monitoring systems at 46%.
More than two-thirds, at 67%, say that AI is augmenting the capabilities of security professionals compared with a global average of 50%. Additionally, more than a third (38%) say the use of AI is not challenging at all compared with the global average of 11%.
Saudi Arabia is also the second highest country in the region to expect to use biometrics and facial recognition technology behind the UAE at 49% over the next five years. Similarly, at 44%, more companies in Saudi than any other country in the region plan to use Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices.
Mahmoud Mudhaffar, Managing Director for G4S in KSA, said:
“The government’s measures to stamp down on cybercrime, along with its substantial investments in advanced technologies and digital upskilling in the context of Saudi Vision 2030 make the country an attractive hub for businesses.
“The World Security Report further demonstrates that Saudi Arabia offers a stable environment for businesses to thrive given the lower levels of external threats anticipated over the coming year in relation to the rest of the region.
“However, companies will always need some form of security to protect their assets and people. This report also underlines that Saudi Arabia is ahead of the curve in its use of technology to help do that.”
Mel Brooks, Regional CEO for G4S Africa & Middle East, said:
“Many countries in the Middle East are undergoing an economic transformation as their governments move away from oil and push to make their economies some of the biggest in the World.”
“This report highlights the favourable operating conditions for businesses in the Middle East, with the security outlook looking better than elsewhere against many measures.”
About the World Security Report 2023
This landmark research is an independent, anonymous survey of 1,775 chief security officers (CSOs), or those in equivalent roles, from large, global companies in 30 countries, with a combined annual revenue of $20 trillion in 2022, representing a quarter of the world’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
About G4S, an Allied Universal® Company
In 2021, G4S, a London-based global security company, was acquired by Allied Universal®, a leading security and facility services company that provides proactive security services and cutting-edge smart technology to deliver tailored, integrated security solutions. This acquisition expands Allied Universal’s footprint and infrastructure on a global and local level. Through the company’s vast network of approximately 800,000 employees, we leverage global best practices in communities all over the world. With revenues of approximately $20 billion, we are supported by efficient processes and systems that can only come with scale to help deliver our promise locally: keeping people safe so our communities can thrive. In Africa and the Middle East, we have an extensive network of offices and more than 124,000 employees to support our local communities and customers. We believe there is no greater purpose than serving and safeguarding customers, communities, and people in today’s world. For more information, please visit www.g4s.com or www.aus.com.
Claire Akkaoui (UAE)