Large companies in Saudi Arabia expect low levels of security threats next year and to increase their usage of cutting-edge technology, cementing the country’s position as one of the best countries in the region to do business.
That’s according to the first-ever World Security Report published by G4S. 1,775 Chief Security Officers (CSOs) in 30 countries at large, global companies with total revenue of more than $20 trillion, took part in the research. 235 CSOs were surveyed in the Middle East from UAE, KSA, Egypt, and Jordan.
On external security threats, CSOs expect to have the lowest regional rates for intrusion and competitor sabotage at 11% and 13% respectively. Fewer CSOs say fraud and theft of company physical property are genuine external threats for the coming year than the regional and global averages at 17% and 16%.
Last year, Saudi Arabia experienced lower levels of external threats relating to vandalism, trespass, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attacks compared with the global average.
Companies also experienced the lowest number of security incidents involving violent criminals across the Middle East last year at 19% whereas the regional average was 26%. They had fewer incidents involving petty criminals too at 22% compared with the global average at 36%.
CSOs expect to have the lowest regional rates for intrusion and competitor sabotage at 11% and 13% respectively
More than a quarter, at 27%, of CSOs surveyed said they experienced no security-impacting hazards last year – economic unrest, social unrest, climate change etc. – compared with the global average of 14%.
Next year, Saudi Arabia plans to increase its use of cutting-edge and emerging technology – defined as Artificial Intelligence, facial recognition, and machine learning – from 22% to 40%.
In particular, it appears to be embracing the use of AI. Saudi Arabia is the second highest country in the region behind Jordan to say it will adopt AI-powered surveillance and monitoring systems at 46%.
More than a quarter, at 27%, of CSOs surveyed said they experienced no security-impacting hazards last year
More than two-thirds, 67%, say that AI is augmenting the capabilities of security professionals compared with a global average of 50%. Additionally, more than a third (38%) say the use of AI is not challenging at all compared with the global average of 11%.
Saudi Arabia is also the second highest country in the region to expect to use biometrics and facial recognition technology behind the UAE at 49% over the next five years. Similarly, at 44%, more companies in Saudi than any other country in the region plan to use the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices.