Dan Norman, Regional Director, EMEA for the ISF, looks at the challenges and opportunities Saudi Vision 2030 presents, ahead of May’s Security Middle East Conference.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is arguably one of the most ambitious and innovative long-term transformational projects ever undertaken by a country; launched in2016, the Saudi Arabian government’s plan is to invest vast sums of wealth to diversify its economy. By expanding and developing a portfolio of sectors, and creating entirely new industries and services, the goal is to diversify away from oil and gas and unlock the Kingdom’s potential. It has been eight years since the launch of the project and tremendous progress has been made, with smart cities like Neom, Red Sea Global and Al Ula creating new jobs, investment opportunities and value to citizens and beyond. The next seven years will be exciting – digitally progressive and technologically advanced. As the nation transforms, the risk landscape changes –none more so than the cyber threats that will target new infrastructure, immature sectors and citizens alike.
Technological greenfield sites
One of the tremendous opportunities that Saudi Vision 2030 presents is that many new projects, including the GIGA projects, do not have to navigate the challenge of overcoming or integrating old, legacy systems with the new; this is one of the main issues developed nations like the USA, UK, France and Germany have to deal with – from weaving old systems with dated code into emerging technical infrastructure, to designing new architecture that doesn’t break or overwhelm technology, Saudi Vision 2030can focus on developing solutions that are progressive, powerful, scalable and secure. Essentially the GIGA projects and beyond are full of opportunity and less historical challenges to overcome. The opportunity to develop a rich and meaningful set of progressive governance, risk and compliance solutions to secure the enterprise against a range of threats should be leveraged and nurtured – senior management leading these projects have a unique chance to build security solutions into technical and physical infrastructure from the start – something that western leaders can only dream of….