Companies in KSA and UAE increasingly concerned about data protection, EY survey finds

Dubai, UAE, 19 February 2018

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  • 60% consider data protection and data privacy compliance a growing concern
  • Yet only 18% of respondents have a plan in place for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

With less than four months to go until the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018, data privacy and protection is top of mind for business leaders in the GCC. According to the third biennial EY Global Forensic Data Analytics Survey, 60% of KSA and UAE respondents expressed increasing concern about data protection and data privacy compliance, and 82% still do not have a plan in place to comply with the EU legislation.

The EU’s GDPR will require all businesses to strengthen the protection of personal data of all EU citizens in 28 member states.

Launched today, the survey analyzes the legal, compliance and fraud risks global companies face and the use of forensic data analytics (FDA) to manage them.

FDA, which is the collection and analysis of all types of data with the objective to manage legal, compliance and fraud risks, can be used to better monitor, prevent, and predict anomalies in business activities and transactions.

According to the survey, respondents expressed a strong belief in the value of FDA; 100% of the respondents in UAE and KSA who use FDA towards regulatory compliance agree that it has been effective.

Charles De Chermont, EY MENA Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Leader, says:

“The introduction of GDPR and data protection and data privacy laws are major compliance challenges for all organizations, including those in the MENA region. Companies that embrace a GDPR-compliant approach with their FDA efforts can gain a competitive edge over those that choose to avoid FDA due to the cost of compliance and regulatory concerns.”

Increased adoption of FDA to manage risks

In KSA and UAE, companies are looking at a variety of FDA techniques such as risk scoring and aggregation techniques, user behavioral analytics and social medial analytics to manage their risk. The adoption rate for emerging technologies in the UAE and KSA is high; 53% of companies are already using or likely to adopt robotic process automation compared with the global average of 39%.

“The majority of organizations in the UAE and KSA are making significant investments in emerging technologies to help them mitigate cyber risks and attacks. Compared to global adoption rates, the region is in a strong position when it comes to using data analytics to detect potential anomalies and risks, although this tends to be more on an ad-hoc basis where only 33% of respondents versus 50% globally had implemented continuous monitoring solutions,” comments Paul Marsters, Executive Director, EY MENA Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services.

Investment in people and skills key to unlocking the full potential of FDA

Overall, the report highlights how increased adoption of, and spending on advanced FDA technologies, needs to be matched with greater investment in skilled resources. A vast majority of KSA and UAE respondents believe that the full potential of FDA is reliant on investments in the right technology and sources, implemented by subject matter experts.

Charles says: “Without the right people managing the technology, the real value of FDA can’t be used to manage risk. While it’s encouraging to see that investment in advanced FDA is increasing, companies need to hire the right talent such as data science and IT professionals and compliance and risk experts who are responsible for designing and reviewing the results of the analytics. Along with the right technology and integrated data sources, only then will companies be able to successfully manage their risk profile effectively.”

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