There’s a good reason critical infrastructure (CI) is considered critical: it serves as the backbone of a country’s economy and society. Since CI is so vital to a nation and its interests, it must be safeguarded. Without these safeguards, the risk of CI incapacitation or destruction is very high, which may then have a debilitating impact on the country’s economy, security, and public health and safety.
A well-integrated and resilient security infrastructure is the most important safeguard for CI. And to help create such an infrastructure, expert systems integrators like MVP Tech – Convergint ME play a vital role.
Critical Infrastructure in MENA: The Current Security Landscape
Critical infrastructure includes energy grids, transportation systems, clean water systems, emergency services, road networks, and telecommunications systems – basically, everything that’s needed to maintain normalcy in the daily lives of a country’s citizens. As recent history shows, attacks against CI systems have been on the rise. These attacks are not limited to a particular country or region, but are part of a global problem.
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is also vulnerable to attacks on CI systems. In 2022, ME was one of five regions with the highest percentage of malicious digital objects like malware and spyware blocked on industrial control systems (ICS) used in CI, such as oil and gas fields, airports, ports, and power plants. Even as far back as May 2012, a state-sponsored cyber espionage group targeted the oil and gas sectors in ME, particularly in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, using a variety of attack techniques.
The security landscape for CI in MENA – and elsewhere – is even more challenging because cyberspace is just one part of it.In addition to cyberthreats, physical threats such a trespassing, burglaries, terrorism, and vandalism are also a concern for governments and CI organizations. Similarly, careless or malicious human actions that may result in fires, system shutdowns, shortages, and chaos are also real threats that must be recognized, mitigated, and if possible, prevented.
The CI threat landscape is already quite vast. It is also evolving. To keep up with new and emerging threats, security systems that can evolve and adapt alongside the threats are absolutely vital. The alternative – siloed, standalone tools that cannot work with other tools provide incomplete security that’s inadequate for robust, long-term CI protection. And to implement well-integrated, scalable, and future-ready security systems, governments and CI operators will benefit by collaborating with tech providers. The best providers like MVP Tech bring advanced engineering expertise, sectoral knowledge, and proven experience with the complex integrated system deployments the complex CI sector really needs.
Mitigating Threats to Critical Infrastructure with Security Integration
Governments and enterprise leaders in MENA and other regions must recognize the threats to CIand implement measures to detect and avoid them. To deal with cyber threats, they must leverage tools like security information and event management (SIEM) systems to monitor CI systems, extended detection, and response (XDR) platforms to respond to attacks quickly, and vulnerability management (VM) systems to automatically detect and fix vulnerabilities in CI components.
It’s equally, if not more important to also bolster the physical security of CI systems and networks. Here’s where security management platforms, monitoring tools, and incident response tools come in. Other physical security measures like access control systems, scanners, motion sensors, intruder alarms, drones, car park management systems, and surveillance devices are also vital to secure CI assets and prevent physical harm to them.
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