Top 10 Threats to Business Continuity in the UAE

Top 10 Threats to Business Continuity in the UAE

November 19, 2017

Every company that wishes to have longevity and flawless operations should take steps to ensure the continuity of their business. Many businesses may have health and safety procedures and backups of their most important data but how many have truly implemented a Business Continuity Management System with clear steps to take in the event of a crisis or disaster? Here are some things to consider:

The Business Continuity Institute identifies major threats to Business Continuity based on a global assessment to include cyber-attacks, data breaches, and adverse weather, among others, however, when operating in the United Arab Emirates, companies should take into account the local environment and regulations.

In the UAE, the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) is the regulating entity which operates under the Supervision of the Supreme Council for National Security. It aims to achieve the UAE’s policy regarding the necessary procedures for emergency, crises and disasters management.

The UAE features a unique environment facing specific threats based on its particular political, economic and geographic position within the GCC and the Middle East region all together. According to Ventures Middle East the top 10 threats to Business Continuity in the UAE basing on the likelihood of it are:

  • Cyber-attacks & Data breach
  • Adverse weather like Rain Floods, Sand Storms, Earthquakes etc.
  • Fire
  • Active War
  • Terrorism
  • Pandemics & Infectious Disease
  • Security incident
  • Unplanned IT or telecom outages
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Utility supply interruption

Business Continuity Threats in the UAE will have slight differences to the global threats as the region is more prone to political and cyber threats. According to a 2016 Global State of Information Security survey, businesses in the Middle East suffered larger losses than other regions in the world due to cyber incidents. Around 18% of respondents in the region said to have experienced more than 5,000 attacks, compared to a global average of 9%, ranking the Middle East higher than any other region. The global trend for more cyber-attacks seems exacerbated in the Middle East given the GCC’s geographical, political and economic position.

The UAE has also seen increased adverse weather in recent years with areas experiencing flooding and sand storms as well as strong winds and numerous fires which have causes substantial losses to company properties especially in tall towers and high rises.

Political unrest or changes in country policies within the region will always have an impact on the UAE, especially on situations which affect companies supply chain. The recent dispute between GCC countries and Qatar is one example which has proven to place many companies in a difficult position to ensure continuity of operations faced with newly imposed restrictions on travel and commerce.

NECMA is the leading national organization responsible for regulating and coordinating all efforts of emergency and crisis management as well as the development of a national plan for responding to emergencies. And they are taking significant responsibility to implement and enhance the UAE’s capabilities in managing crisis and emergencies by setting the requirements of business continuity, enabling quick recovery through joint planning, and coordinating communication both at the national and local level. NCEMA will soon be requiring all government entities in the UAE to have a Business Continuity System in place. This will reverberate into efforts by local private companies to follow suit and align to the government standard. The UAE is a construction rich country having the region’s second largest construction projects pipeline with mega projects in the horizon such as District 2020 for Expo 2020. A huge construction industry implies large provisions to combat health and safety risks in the workplace.

Ventures Risk Management & Compliance division provides a full range of services related to risk management and compliance including consultancy and training with specialized expertise in business continuity management and information security management. Contact us for more information.

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