Help AG’s State of the Market Report 2024 Reveals an Accelerated Growth in Cyber Defense Investments in the GCC

By root

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 05, 2024 – Help AG, an e& enterprise company and the Middle East’s trusted cybersecurity advisor, has launched the 2024 edition of its annual State of the Market Report. Distinguished by its singular focus on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the report serves as the definitive guidebook on cybersecurity in the region.

For the fourth consecutive year, Help AG’s State of the Market Report delivers unmatched insights into cybersecurity threats, trends, and emerging technologies and practices over the past year, providing a detailed analysis of threat tactics, high-profile breaches, and best practice recommendations from the perspective of Help AG, strategic partners, and leading organizations in the UAE and KSA.

Additionally, the report highlights investment trends and offers focused insights into key markets including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, making it an essential resource for anyone involved in the regional cybersecurity landscape.


The report highlights cybersecurity investment patterns and trends in the GCC, identifying top investment areas and market directions.

Most notably, in 2023, Help AG recorded a continued and accelerated trend in cyber defense investments amid the continuing digital transformation surge. Additionally, there has been a marked acceleration in the consolidation of cybersecurity spending, increasing by over 100% in the past year. This trend is strongly linked to the growth of the services business, as customers are increasingly inclined to consume cybersecurity as a service, demanding clear deliverables, service level agreements (SLAs), key performance indicators (KPIs), and transparent costs.

Investment in managed cyber defense skyrocketed, prompted by the increasing complexity of the digital threat landscape. Associated services, such as network detection and response, endpoint detection and response, threat intelligence, digital risk protection, and incident response services, all witnessed increased investment. This trend suggests that organizations are prioritizing comprehensive threat management and protection measures, highlighting an increased awareness and proactive approach to cybersecurity threats.

Cloud services have become the preferred choice for many organizations, with a clear shift towards “Everything as a Service” (EaaS). This transition, encompassing major digital transformation initiatives and endpoint security, reflects the broader adoption of cloud technologies, which are poised to dominate the cybersecurity landscape.

Similarly, cybersecurity advisory saw a 100+% growth in investments, spurred by growing regulatory compliance requirements, indicating an increasing reliance on expert guidance to navigate these challenges.

Help AG also observed a growth in Secure Services Edge (SSE) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection services, addressing the need for secure connectivity and uninterrupted service availability.

Moreover, Help AG continues to prioritize investment in people, processes, and technology to ensure robust support for clients and guarantee cyber resilience. As part of this strategy, they have launched the largest cyber defense center in the region in the UAE and expanded their existing center in Riyadh.

Top Digital Risks

In an increasingly connected digital landscape, attackers target organizations where it hurts the most: availability, reputation, and customer trust, causing financial losses, operational disruptions, and long-term damage.

When it comes to attacks targeted at availability, the 2024 State of the Market Report features an in-depth analysis of DDoS attacks in the UAE, highlighting the largest attack recorded globally targeting the UAE and the most common attack vectors and techniques. Help AG recorded a 42% increase in DDoS attacks in the UAE in 2023, with a total of 213,434 incidents. The longest of these attacks lasted for over 5 days, while the largest attack reached a record-breaking bandwidth of 461.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps).

On the other hand, of nearly 30,000 critical digital risk alerts identified by Help AG in 2023, the dominant digital risk categories were found to be credential theft (49%) and brand abuse (39%), while data leakage and phishing represented 10% and 1.5% of use cases respectively.

Additionally, in 2023, the cyber threat landscape was characterized by a growing number of advanced ransomware and double extortion, refined phishing, and application layer attacks.

Major risks that organizations faced were often related to human factors, misconfiguration of default credentials, missing patches, cloud security weaknesses, and domain controller vulnerabilities.

Cyber Defense: AI, Automation, Integration, & Human Intelligence

The report highlights that automation and integration are among the top priorities for 2024 and beyond, forming the backbone of an efficient cybersecurity strategy. Help AG has leveraged automation to enable their analysts to manage all customer incident information from a single console, saving over 500 hours of human effort per month, equating to 6,000 hours annually. These time savings allow teams to focus on high-value tasks like threat detection and response. Additionally, the report offers insights into AI-powered cyber defense, where intelligent automation and AI-driven technologies analyze large datasets for anomalies and attacker behaviors.

Help AG emphasizes that automation and AI should augment, not replace, human capabilities, aligning with their ‘Intelligence Amplified’ concept, which combines AI-driven automation with human expertise for true cyber resilience.

However, despite increased investment, the cybersecurity industry faces a gap in these human capabilities, with many positions remaining unfilled and putting organizations at risk. Help AG’s State of the Market Report 2024 highlights that Generation Z, born between 1997-2012, has the potential to fill this gap. Growing up with technology, Gen Z is tech-savvy and adaptable, making them ideal for cybersecurity roles.

Attracting Gen Z requires meaningful work, flexible options, and skill development through specialized courses, hands-on programs, and mentorship.

Help AG’s Managed Security Services (MSS) Graduate Program addresses the skills shortage by providing a 12-week intensive training for young talents from top institutions, aiming to transform them into cybersecurity experts.

Identity & Data Protection

The report highlights that as digital transformation rapidly expands, with adversaries increasingly targeting identity and data, adopting Identity Security Immunity principles and a holistic approach to data protection is essential. Identity Fabric Immunity emphasizes proactive defense, adaptive responses, and seamless integration with existing security infrastructure, revolutionizing organizational security and enhancing identity resilience. Additionally, a comprehensive data protection strategy integrates governance, cybersecurity, and data privacy to address complex organizational challenges.

Application Security

In the evolving digital landscape, application security (AppSec) is crucial as organizations increasingly rely on a mix of in-house software, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products, open-source projects, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. Securing modern applications requires a proactive and collaborative approach, prioritizing security from the earliest stages of development through ongoing management.

OT & IoT Security

Securing operational technology (OT) and internet-of-things (IoT) environments requires a multifaceted approach tailored to industrial networks and connected devices. Advanced security solutions, combined with robust cybersecurity policies, help organizations mitigate risks, safeguard critical infrastructure, and ensure the resilience and integrity of industrial operations.

Zero Trust Secure Access Service Edge

As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, embracing Zero Trust SASE will become imperative for any organization charting its course in the digital realm. It combines SASE’s flexibility with zero-trust principles, offering a robust framework for the digital age. Beyond return on investment, SASE provides tangible benefits like cost savings, better security, improved productivity, and adaptability to rapid changes.

Stephan Berner, Chief Executive Officer at Help AG, said: “In an era where the threat landscape is constantly evolving, organizations must harness the power of “Intelligence Amplified” to stay ahead. In Help AG’s State of the Market Report, we recognize that while AI-driven technology is crucial, it is the talent and culture within an organization that truly set it apart. By fostering an environment where talent is nurtured and valued, organizations can leverage their unique human capital to create resilient, adaptive defenses against cyber threats.”

Nicolai Solling, Chief Technology Officer at Help AG, said: “As part of the Help AG Cybersphere Nexus – our strategic approach to securing AI-driven defense mechanisms, advancing post-quantum cybersecurity, and championing sustainable practices – the State of the Market Report serves as a reference for organizations to address emerging threats while maintaining a focus on innovation, environmental and operational sustainability in cybersecurity practices. A copy of Help AG’s State of the Market Report 2024 is available for download here.

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