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Nearly 40% of MENA businesses believe cyber breaches or insider threats are the fastest growing fraud risk

UAE.  Cyber breaches and insider threats are the fastest-growing risks and are driving investment in Forensic Data Analytics (FDA) according to MENA executives.

This is  according to EY’s 2016 Global Forensic Data Analytics Survey, Shifting into high gear: mitigating risks and demonstrating returns. The threats and breaches include malicious insiders stealing, manipulating or destroying data.

Sixty-nine percent say that they need to do more to improve their current anti-fraud procedures, including the use of FDA tools. Notably, this figure increased to 74% for the C-suite cohort. Of those respondents citing regulatory pressure as the reason to improve their procedures, C-suite respondents were found to be the most concerned as regulatory enforcement becomes more rigorous and widespread.

Mike Adlem, MENA Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services Leader, EY, says: “Cybercrime and insider threats are an everyday reality, posing a dynamic and relentless challenge. In MENA, 40% of businesses consider this risk to have increased, however globally more than 60% of businesses say the risk has increased. This may be  due to lower awareness in MENA as well as increasing regulatory pressures being applied in other regions. Businesses in MENA need to continue to raise risk awareness with management and prepare for the expected increased regulatory pressures that will be applied in the future. The use of FDA should form a critical component of risk management and compliance programs and be applied in both a proactive and reactive manner.”

When looking at the current use of FDA tools to investigate incidents or manage risk, the survey found that internal fraud risk ranks highest for the application of FDA at 77%, and cyber breach or insider threat risk ranks second at 70%. 

Increased FDA investment
With just 55% of respondents saying that their FDA spend is sufficient, a drop from 64% in our  2014 survey, it is no surprise that three out of five say that they plan to spend more on FDA in the next two years. When looking at the reasons for increased investment, the survey found that responding to growing cybercrime risks and increased regulatory scrutiny are the top drivers at 53% and 43%, respectively. How FDA tools are deployed is also changing, with 63% of respondents saying they invest at least half of their FDA budget on proactive monitoring activities.

FDA use on the rise
In response to these increased risks, the use of advanced FDA is becoming mainstream, with new technologies and surveillance monitoring techniques widely used to help companies manage current and emerging fraud and cyber risks. The rising maturity of corporate FDA efforts is also evident through the growing sophistication in their use of data. Seventy-five percent of respondents routinely analyze a wide range of structured and unstructured data, enabling them to gain a comprehensive view of their risk environment.

Paul Marsters, Director, MENA Forensic Technology & Discovery Services, EY, says: “Given the level of pressure on fraud prevention that organizations in MENA are facing, it is no surprise that the majority of respondents are expending more effort on proactive initiatives. With technology becoming increasingly sophisticated, the opportunity to drive value from FDA efforts is improving. If the FDA plans are aligned with businesses investments in broader Data Analytics, then there is a great opportunity to raise FDA benefits case and awareness to executives.”

The survey was conducted with 665 executives globally across nine industry sectors, including financial services, life sciences, manufacturing and power and utilities.

Photo Caption: Mike Adlem, MENA Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services Leader, EY,

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
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The MENA practice of EY has been operating in the region since 1923. For over 90 years, we have grown to over 5,000 people united across 20 offices and 15 countries, sharing the same values and an unwavering commitment to quality. As an organization, we continue to develop outstanding leaders who deliver exceptional services to our clients and who contribute to our communities. We are proud of our accomplishments over the years, reaffirming our position as the largest and most established professional services organization in the region.

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