What are the efforts of Saudi Arabia in cyber security?

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Cybersecurity is an important aspect of protecting companies from the growing threat of cyberattacks

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What are the efforts of Saudi Arabia in cyber security?
What are the efforts of Saudi Arabia in cyber security?
Saudi Arabia has developed over the past few years and issued basic cybersecurity controls (ECC), as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan, and through these actions, the Government and its affiliated organizations want to confirm their position on cybersecurity. Basic cybersecurity controls have been established with the needs of all businesses and sectors in Saudi Arabia in mind, and to learn more about Saudi Arabia's cybersecurity efforts, read on.

What is cybersecurity? 

Cybersecurity is the application of technologies, processes and controls to protect systems, networks, software, devices and data from cyberattacks. More accurately, cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks and software from digital attacks. Cyberattacks typically aim to access, change or destroy sensitive information, extort money from users via ransomware, or interrupt normal business operations.
Implementing effective cybersecurity measures is a particular challenge today as there are more devices than people, and attackers are becoming more innovative.

Cybersecurity Objectives 

Cybersecurity aims to reduce the risk of cyberattacks and protect against unauthorized exploitation of systems, networks and technologies, in addition to the following objectives:

1. Asset Protection

One important asset protection method is to implement robust security measures such as firewalls, encryption and access controls, regular software and hardware updates, as well as staff training on best cybersecurity practices, can also help prevent cyberthreats.

2. Data Privacy Protection

Organizations need to implement security measures such as encryption data, secure servers and powerful passwords, regular monitoring of security breaches and instantly addressing any security gaps can help prevent data breaches.

3. Safeguarding the integrity of information and systems

Cybersecurity protects the integrity of information and systems. This includes ensuring that data and systems are accurate and complete and cannot be modified without authorization, achieved through various measures, including intrusion detection, protection walls, security information systems and event management (SIEM).

4. Protecting the availability of systems

The best cybersecurity aims to protect the availability of systems and data, including ensuring that systems are operational and accessible to data when needed. This can be achieved through several procedures, such as disaster recovery planning, loading balancing and network replication.

Saudi Arabia most vulnerable to cyberattacks 

Saudi Arabia has seen a large number of cyberattacks that have had a significant impact on its government agencies and private sector companies, with the Kingdom experiencing about 1,000 cybersecurity attacks targeting critical infrastructure, seeking to steal data and cause service outages.
The Potomac assessment revealed that Saudi Arabia, which is believed to be one of the most vulnerable countries to cyberattacks, is making efforts to improve its cyber readiness at the national level. The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (PIPS) recently published a report on "A snapshot of cyber readiness in Saudi Arabia" which provides a comprehensive analysis of the efforts and potential of cybersecurity in the country.
The report was quoted by SC Magazine as saying that Saudi Arabia was striving to achieve its ambitious cybersecurity objectives for Vision 2030 strategy, the latter which aligns Saudi Arabia's strategic position as a hub linking Asia, Europe and Africa, and in accordance with the electronic readiness index methodology. The newly established Head of State Security in Saudi Arabia aims to enhance the country's electronic flexibility through the following measures:
- Develop and formalize a national cybersecurity framework and strategy
- Clearly defined roles and responsibilities of ministries and organizations
- Promotion of information exchange and cooperation
- Building cybersecurity capacity and raising awareness
- Developing Saudi Cyber Security Workforce (SCyWF)

Highlights of Saudi Arabia's cybersecurity efforts 

Government agencies in the Kingdom have set strategic and tactical objectives to pursue the Kingdom's Vision 2030. These efforts include:

Issuance of cybersecurity regulations

Saudi Arabia's digital transformation encompasses many key sectors and industries. In this regard, the Kingdom's National Cyber Security Authority (NCA) has issued several cybersecurity regulations that all government entities and critical national infrastructure (CNI) must adhere to. As such, cybersecurity has become a core trade mandate by all government entities and CNI.

National Information Security Strategy (NISS)

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) - one of the government bodies responsible for cybersecurity and digitization of government services in Saudi Arabia - has begun to develop the country's first "National Information Security Strategy (NISS)", while focusing on providing a secure and robust digital environment, it also points to the country's cybersecurity skills gap as an impediment to achieving the desired goal.

Developing cybersecurity skills

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has also launched talent development programs to address the cybersecurity skills gap and partnerships with global IT companies to train more than 56,000 Saudi youths in key ICT skills between 2017 and 2020, and has established a National IT Academy in collaboration with Saudi Arabia. Aramco to train and develop Saudi talent.

Rehabilitation of the National Labour Force

The Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) is leading the country's national cyberspace protection efforts and requires a qualified national cybersecurity workforce capable of carrying out all types of cybersecurity work, The NCA was authorized by Royal Ordinance No. 6801 of 31 October 2017, including the building of the national cybersecurity workforce and participation in the development of education and training programmes, the development of professional standards and frameworks, the development and operation of tests to evaluate cybersecurity professionals.
NCA has developed the Saudi Cyber Security Workforce Framework (SCyWF) as a key step towards the implementation of this mandate, SCyWF classifies cybersecurity work in Saudi Arabia, defines functional roles within each category and defines the requirements of each functional role in terms of tasks, knowledge, skills and capabilities (TKSAs).
SCyWF's main objective is to serve as a reference model and guide for the development, recruitment, strengthening and management of the cybersecurity workforce, providing a common lexicon that improves communication and content development for talent management activities. It also helps identify learning outcomes for education and training programmes with the knowledge, skills and capabilities (Saudi Arabia) required for different functional roles in cybersecurity.


The main objectives of cybersecurity are to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information and systems. This is what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has endeavoured to achieve its strategic objectives in the field of cybersecurity.

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