Major Saudi Investments in Cybersecurity, Surveillance, and IT Protection Present New Opportunities for U.S. Companies
Saudi Arabia has become a primary target of malicious cyber threats in the Middle East and is expected to have the largest cybersecurity market share in the near future. Vision 2030 calls for a greater ‘knowledge economy’ – this growth is highly digital, driven by innovation in big data, cloud services, and smart technology. Given the high levels of risk, cybersecurity will remain a priority for the defense establishment and businesses over the medium to long-term horizon.
Market demand for electronic security – including access control, intruder detection, and surveillance – is also increasing because of expanding security concerns with infrastructure related areas such as construction, transportation, industrial plants, and oil and gas. We project that the overall cybersecurity market will grow at a 15.3 percent CAGR through 2022.
Security solutions span the public and private sector, encompassing the market segments of homeland security, commercial security, information security, and physical access and perimeter security.
Between 2014 and 2017, nearly one-third of all project-related investment in surveillance in the GCC was made in Saudi Arabia. The top areas for capital investment projects in surveillance were in the construction, power, and transport sectors. Industrials, oil & gas, petrochemicals, and water were also popular sectors for surveillance-related capital investments. The Saudi Government has invested heavily in security command and control, installing approximately 6,000 digital cameras for the 2017 Hajj pilgrimage.
The Saudi Government is also planning to enhance its capabilities to secure the country’s borders. According to Homeland Security Research, Saudi Arabia’s security spending is expected to increasingly focus on securing its borders and oil industry. Total cyber security spending is expected to rise to $15.4 billion in 2018, up from approximately $8 billion.
The Saudi Government continues work on major security projects under the King Abdullah Project for Development of Security Headquarters. This project, which is expected to be completed in 2020, will establish a total of 1,296 security sites. Approximately 551 sites are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
The Saudi Government established the national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to raise public awareness of cybersecurity, to monitor major threats, and to respond to emergencies. New laws have also been issued regarding cybercrime, and the military has taken the initiative to begin bolstering its cyber infrastructure. In Q4 2017, Saudi Arabia established the National Authority for Cyber Security to increase national security that will be under the King’s authority.
Opportunities exist for both the private sector and human capital development in this space. In particular, the Middle East ranks in the bottom half for cyber education and training. According to a report by Symantec and Deloitte, over two-thirds of organizations in the Middle East lack the internal capability to defend against sophisticated cyberattacks.
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Join us for the U.S. Innovators in Cybersecurity Business Development Mission in Riyadh on February 2-5, 2020 with participation in the Global Cybersecurity Forum (GCF). The mission aims to introduce U.S. disruptive cybersecurity technologies to new business opportunities in Saudi Arabia. For more information, click here.