Cyber threat on companies increases 25% due to pandemic


SOME 62% of organisations in Malaysia are seeing an increase in cyber security challenges in the middle of workplace shift, with 25% or more alerts on cyber threats since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a study commissioned by Cisco titled the “Future of Secure Remote Work”, organisations in Malaysia are noticing the challenges as unscrupulous individuals attempt to take advantage of the potential security gaps by trying to access corporate networks and cloud applications remotely as a result of the work-from-home concept.

Cisco Malaysia MD Albert Chai said businesses and other stakeholders need to make cyber security the foundation of their IT investment strategy immediately.

“While prolonged and productive remote working has proven to be possible, keeping businesses running in this new and extremely different environment will require securing access at a greater scale than ever before.

“There is also a unique opportunity to transform the way we approach security as an industry to better meet the needs of our customers and end-users,” he said.

Cisco Asean cyber security director Koo Juan Huat said security is more than just a compliance obligation.

“As organisations deliver significant changes to their technology and business priorities, cyber security should be the bridge that enables them to conduct productive collaborations and reach their full potential.

“This needs to be supported by robust policies, solid enforcement, and a consistent employee education programme that brings about a healthy and integrated security culture to the organisation and its workforce for the long run,” he said.

The study also found that security has become a top priority for Malaysian organisations as 81% of them said cyber security is now extremely more important than pre-Covid era.

The study also found that with users connecting remotely, the highest challenges faced by most organisations fall on secure access, reported by 74% of the study’s respondents.

Other concerns raised by organisations in Malaysia include data privacy (65%), which has implications for the overall security posture, and maintaining control and enforcing policies (60%).

Endpoint protection is the main challenge for organisations to protect, with approximately two in three respondents stating that office laptops or desktops (58%), and personal devices (62%) are a challenge to protect in a remote environment.

This is followed by customer information (56%) and cloud applications (55%).

However, 56% of organisations in Malaysia do believe there will be an increase in future cyber-security investments.

The technology conglomerate that focuses on networking, cloud and cyber-security solutions found that focus on overall cyber-security defence posture is the top ranked investment in terms of importance in preparing for a post-Covid-19 workplace (34%).

“Other priority investments reported by organisations include network access (28%), cloud security (22%), and device verification (16%),” it said.

The study also revealed that 98% of organisations in Malaysia made changes to the cyber-security policies to support remote working.

“The study also revealed that 56% of organisations in Malaysia were ‘somewhat’ prepared and 7% were not prepared to support remote working at the outset of Covid-19.

“Yet, one trend that has become evident is the idea that a hybrid workplace — where employees move between working remotely and in the office — has emerged as a prominent and possibly permanent trend that is shaping our future way of work,” the study stated.

Of the total respondents, 35% said they expect over half of the workforce to retain the remote working arrangement after the pandemic, which spells for a more secure choice in ensuring corporate information is accessed securely.

The study gathered and analysed data from 3,196 IT decision makers across 21 markets globally, including Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the US and Vietnam.

The findings were also split into three regions, namely Asia Pacific, Japan and China, North, Central and South America, and Europe.

Read our previous report here

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