MENA to be a Secure Digital Environment: Raytheon Debuts Educational Programs to Train the Youngest Generation

As more organizations worldwide experience cyber security breaches, a strong security posture is becoming a critical part of strategic planning. Security leaders across all industries and sectors in the Middle East and North Africa region identified their challenges and plans for success today and over the next three years.

In this context, Raytheon commissioned a survey entitled “Global Megatrends in Cyber Security 2015” in late February, which revealed that more than half of organizational leaders in the MENA region identify cyber security as a strategic priority, compared to only 23 percent in the US and 36 percent in U.K./Europe. Boards of directors in 35 percent of MENA organizations have been briefed on strategic cyber security issues in the last 12 months, compared to 22 percent globally, the survey found.

In a special interview with SDArabia, Brooke Griffith, Managing Director International Business Development at Raytheon International Inc., explained more about the results of the survey, and shared his thoughts about what the MENA region needs to become a secure digital environment.

Starting with the Survey, Mr. Brooke considered that it highlighted a number of things and revealed interesting facts from a regional perspective. Mr. Brooke noticed that the results of the survey were encouraging, as it showed that over 50% of Senior leadership, governmental and commercial organizations recognize the importance of cyber security, and are aware of the fact that the cyber security posture of their organization was tied directly to their reputation.

Considering that cybercrime is one of the gravest threats to digital safety, security leaders in the MENA region identify zero day attacks – events in which cyber criminals exploit an unknown hole in software – as the largest emerging threat over the next three years, followed by phishing and mobile malware, according to Brooke

As for the MENA need to be a secure digital environment, Mr. Brooke explained that the citizens’ life in this region became more digital and online, and everyone recognizes that online information must be protected.

In that context, Raytheon is working with a lot of companies in this region, to ensure societies are becoming digital and the information is being protected.

Raytheon is also working with governments, as well as critical infrastructure and financial agents (Banking….).

Regarding the evolution of the MENA Cyber trends and market, Mr. Brooke noted that based on Raytheon analysis, countering Cyber threats has shifted from traditional cyber protection to active defense (analyze of data).

“Budgets that are being spent in this field in the Middle East are really significant”, said Brook.

“During the last 5 years, we have noticed that the top priorities of the budgets in this region are related to Cyber security, and effective military systems development. Therefore we found that this region is of interest for companies like Raytheon.”

Moreover, Raytheon is pursuing its efforts to enchance science, technology, engineering and math education in the region. The company launched in February the Arabic-language exhibit MathAlive in Abu Dhabi, which contains many of the same activities as the U.S. version that has wowed visitors at the Smithsonian Institution and other museums. However Raytheon has also added new attractions, including a simulator that allows children to design "super-tall" buildings like the UAE’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper.

Mr. Brooke explained that “Raytheon has invested itself as a company to encourage the young generation to pursue science and technical studies, so that when they become adults, they become a potential candidate for employment”.

The company is also launching "The Little Engineer," an Arabic adaptation of the popular Engineering is Elementary curriculum for teachers, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Museum of Science, Boston and the pan-Arab educational organization Injaz worked together to develop the program.

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