The Middle East’s Getting a Little Cloudy: My Thoughts from Gitex 2022

October 13, 2022
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Having lived and worked in Dubai early in my career, I have a great affinity with the Middle East. So when the opportunity to present at Gitex, the region’s premier technology event, and support our local Lookout team, I jumped at it. 

You might not think of the Middle East as being at the forefront of technological innovation, but if you stroll around Gitex, you’ll find everything from flying cars, robotics, and environment controls to IT and security.

Below are my thoughts as I wrap up my stay in Dubai.

Rapid growth in cloud services

Let’s just say the Middle East is getting a little cloudy. In recent years, we’re seeing rapid expansion into the region by all of the big cloud service providers: Microsoft Azure in Qatar; Amazon Web Services in the U.A.E.; and Oracle Cloud in Saudi Arabia. There’s now buzz about Google Cloud Platform becoming available in Qatar.

These cloud services, alongside the countless SaaS applications available, are underpinning the accelerated digital transformation of not only the region’s public services, but also small to medium enterprises that are looking to innovate and be agile to create value and outperform their competition. 

A recent study from BlueWeave Consulting concluded that the cloud services market in the Middle East is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.7% between 2021 and 2027, reaching close to $10 billion by 2027. IBM, which has also entered the region with cloud offerings, projected that more than 70% of Middle East-based enterprises are expected to have multi-cloud setups in place over the next two years.

Compliance is a big focus

As cloud apps and services accelerate the region’s growth, we’re seeing increased legislation surrounding privacy and security. Examples of these compliance requirements include the UAE’s upcoming Personal Data Protection Law that is heavily influenced by the EU’s GDPR, Saudi Arabia’s CITC Cloud Computing Framework, and the Qatar Cybersecurity Framework (QCF).

Balancing freedom and agility with security and compliance was the topic of my Gitex XLAB session: “Achieve Freedom of Control for Your Digital Transformation.” I talked about how a unified security platform that can secure data across cloud services, private apps and mobile endpoints is a critical part of maintaining that agility-security harmony. If you want to learn more about this, check out my presentation deck.

Cloud risks require a converged platform

According to the Gartner® report, Predicts 2022: Consolidated Security Platforms Are the Future, “By 2025, 80% of enterprises will adopt a strategy to unify web, cloud services and private application access from a single vendor’s SSE platform.”

As organizations move to the cloud, they are faced with an increasingly complex security landscape; data is sprawled across dozens of apps, and users are connecting from unmanaged endpoints and networks. A converged approach simplifies security operations with unified visibility and policy enforcement capabilities. This will enable organizations to empower work-from-anywhere productivity while protecting sensitive data and staying compliant.

It was great to catch up with partners, customers and colleagues at Gitex. I can’t wait to come back to see what new innovations come out of the Middle East.

Gartner, Predicts 2022: Consolidated Security Platforms Are the Future, Charlie Winckless, Joerg Fritsch, Peter Firstbrook, Neil MacDonald, Brian Lowans, 1 December 2021.

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Gartner® Predicts 2022: Consolidated Security Platforms Are the Future

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