RSA’s Middle East cyber security conference gains its own identity

RSA Abu Dhabi conference focuses on region’s cyber security needs as digital technology deployments expand

The Middle East’s growing use of, and dependence on, digital technology has made the region an important location for RSA’s series of cyber security conferences.

Public and private organisations in the Middle East are finding themselves at the forefront of the cyber security battle, making a conference focused on the region essential.

This year’s RSA Abu Dhabi, which is in its third year, will mark the first anniversary of the cyber security attacks on several Saudi Arabian government agencies. These targeted attacks, over a two-week period, erased data and caused havoc for the agency running the country’s airports, among others.

Linda Gray Martin, director of RSA conferences globally, said the Middle East is increasingly being targeted by cyber criminals. “The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) foiled more than 500 cyber attacks in the first part of this year, so security is top of mind.”

The event, which take places in Abu Dhabi on 7 and 8 November, will feature keynotes by prominent security executives in the region, including the head of group information security at Etihad Airways, who will talk about the company’s journey to securing the cloud, and the network infrastructure and security manager at Sky News Arabia will give his thoughts on ransomware. “We try to weave some of the global trends with the regional stuff,” said Gray Martin.

She said other topics covered will be blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and smart city security. With the Middle East becoming a global pioneer in smart cities and organisations there increasingly investing in AI, IoT and blockchain technology, professionals need to understand the specific challenges to adoption in the region as well as global trends, said Gray Martin.

“The first event in 2015 was testing the waters as it was our first in the Middle East and we now focus on the UAE and the region to ensure what we talk about is relevant,” she added.

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