Rabat – With the incredible advances in technology and the unprecedented pace at which Morocco’s companies are adapting to the fast-moving world of global exchanges and interconnections, cyber criminality is rapidly becoming a major concern for Morocco’s giants in IT-related fields, including sectors like industry, services, and communication.
According to a recent study, Moroccan firms are now allocating 11 percent of their budgets to the fight against cyber attacks. The study, which explored the “Global State of information security survey,” indicates that Morocco, now a rapidly industrializing country, is no longer on the fringe of the constant and worrying reality of internet-based frauds and crimes.
Faced with a rampant surge of cyber attacks that targeted their counterparts in other parts of the world, the majority of Moroccan respondents are reported to have listed the fight against cyber criminality as one of the major priorities of their security plans.
The study found that Moroccan giants’ concern with cyber warfare is most vivid in the amount of money they’ve been investing in the fight against cyber criminality since 2017. In effect, whereas Moroccan firms now spend 11 percent of their budgets on countering internet-based threats, the world’s average is just 4 percent, a figure significantly lower than Morocco’s.
For all of their efforts, however, Moroccan companies still consider themselves utterly exposed and defenseless against high-level and very sophisticated software used by highly trained hackers. More than 70 per cent of respondents acknowledged that their current security mechanisms are not up to the standards of the constantly shifting cyber warfare ecosystem, the study revealed.
“Moroccan firms are facing new challenges coming from an important pressure due to an increasing digitization. Despite a security budget relatively more significant [than that of other countries], the multiplicity of stakes in a short pan give the impression of an insufficient budget,” said Nabil Kettani, Associate Digital Manager at PwC Morocco.
On Kettani’s account, the sophistication of threats and the never-ending emergence of new factors and players render Moroccan giants constantly exposed, easy prey of a ruthlessly competitive IT world. For him, the 11 percent of budget currently allocated to fighting against cyber attacks is considerably insignificant given the nature and context of attacks.
The survey further noted the lack of “proactivity” and “maturity” in the governance and defense mechanisms of Morocco’s IT groups. While threats are ubiquitous, companies have developed few or no strategies to counter or even detect whether they’ve been attacked or not.
For example, while 70 percent of respondents reported detecting less than 50 attacks in the past twelve months, 10 percent declared zero attack. More worrying, 39 percent declared not being strategically or technically able to identify whether or not they’ve been targeted by cyber criminals.
“If the number of detected cyber attacks is less significant in Morocco compared to the rest of the world, it is mainly because the majority of companies can’t detect attacks even when they’ve been targeted,” Nabil Kettani noted, explaining that Moroccan stakeholders in the IT domain have to show more resolve in coming to terms with this rampant but slightly ignored worrying phenomenon.
“In general, Moroccan companies only react after incidents have already occurred. They are rarely proactive, and have a long way to go to attain an acceptable level of [strategic] maturity in light of the threats to be countered.”