Saudi Arabia Witnesses Surge in Demand for Cybersecurity Specialists

In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable surge in demand for cybersecurity analysts, reflecting the growing concerns surrounding cybersecurity risks within the country. According to a recent report by Qrator Labs, a leading security software company specializing in DDoS attack mitigation and network filtering solutions, search queries for cybersecurity analysts increased by a significant 133.3% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Moreover, searches related to cybersecurity work saw a staggering 353% year-over-year increase.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as one of the most targeted nations globally for cyber threats, with Gulf countries experiencing some of the highest losses from cyberattacks. Recent data from IBM indicates that the average cost of a cyberattack on organizations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates exceeded the global average by 69%, amounting to $6.53 million.

To address these challenges, Saudi Arabia has intensified its efforts towards cybersecurity, spearheaded by the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA), which has been instrumental in driving various cyber protection initiatives. Over the last year, the kingdom has implemented a series of regulations such as the Data Cybersecurity Controls, Operational Technology Cybersecurity Controls, the cybersecurity toolkit 2.0, and the guide to essential cybersecurity controls implementation. The country also published the Personal Data Protection Law, which will take effect in September 2024. It regulates the use of personal data, emphasizing the importance of privacy and security in the digital age. 

Moreover, Saudi Arabia has been proactive in fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing in cybersecurity through hosting various industry events, such as the Global Cybersecurity Forum (GCF), Black Hat Middle East, World CyberCon among others. In June 2023, the Global Cybersecurity Forum Institute (GCFI) was launched as a sister body to GCF. It enhances international cooperation in cybersecurity and promotes cyber safety on a global scale.

Victor Zyamzin, global head of business development at Qrator Labs, notes, "The focus on data protection is undergoing a revival in Saudi Arabia, encompassing the entire digital landscape within the kingdom, rather than specific industries like energy or banking."
These efforts have earned Saudi Arabia global recognition, with the country securing second place in the Global Cybersecurity Index in the World Competitiveness Yearbook for 2023 by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development.