More Malaysian companies encourage remote working on increased cloud adoption

Nine out of 10 organisations are evolving their cybersecurity strategies to stay protected from attacks

by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic source: Palo Alto Networks FB

A SURVEY conducted by cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks Inc finds that 68% of Malaysian organisations accelerate the remote workforce, followed by increased investment in mobile applications, cloud adoption and 5G.

As digital technologies become more integrated into the workplace, nine out of 10 organisations are evolving their cybersecurity strategies to stay protected from attacks.

Read more: Survey: 58% of Malaysians spend on private cloud due to pandemic

In Malaysia, the adoption of Revamping Threat Detection and Correlation systems (50%) and cloud security (49%) are two important measures to be implemented by organisations, followed by securing Internet of Things (IoT)/ Operational Technology (44%), identity and access management (43%) and a Secure Access Service Edge strategy (39%).

The survey was conducted online in November 2021 with 500 corporate IT decision-makers and business leaders across five key industries in Asean: financial services, government/public sector, telecommunications, retail and fintech. There were 100 respondents each from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

“In order to effectively partake in Malaysia’s journey of digital transformation, it is imperative for organisations to design and implement an effective and fullproof cybersecurity strategy.

“It is inspiring to see that Malaysian organisations have confidence in their cybersecurity measures and that they are highly aware of taking the right decisions in protecting the nation from cyber disruptions,” said Palo Alto Networks Malaysia country manager Suk Hua Lim.

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Asean business leaders are prioritising cybersecurity issues at the board level as a result of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which is forcing businesses to re-evaluate their cybersecurity strategy.

It added 92% of organisations believe cybersecurity to be one of the top priorities for business leaders today. Nearly three in four (74%) also think their leadership has paid more attention to cybersecurity.

As a step to beefing up their organisation’s cybersecurity capabilities, 96% of organisations reported maintaining a dedicated in-house IT team responsible for managing cyber risks.

Over two-thirds (68%) report plans to increase their cybersecurity budgets in 2022, driven by the adoption of next-generation security capabilities (48%), the need to address existing cybersecurity gaps (46%) and the need to optimise operations (44%).

“The pandemic has served as a catalyst for Asean business leaders to sit up and pay greater attention to their cybersecurity defence measures — many are recognising the deep impact it can have on their business continuity,” said Palo Alto Networks field chief security officer Ian Lim.

Read more: Lower cloud computing adoption among firms

He added that to manage today’s remote workforce in a digital-first environment, cybersecurity must be integrated horizontally across all facets of the business and considered as part of every corporate action.

“As new and unexpected threats continue to shake up businesses of all sizes and industries, there needs to be closer collaboration between technology and business leaders to tackle these novel challenges,” said Lim.

With the shift towards digital technologies, the infrastructure of many businesses hasn’t been designed to keep up with the demands of a mobile workforce. Unsurprisingly, this new working arrangement has brought on a new set of cybersecurity challenges.

The survey respondents reported that, among others, the most pertinent issues in Malaysia are the increase in digital transactions with suppliers and other third parties (58%), unmonitored and unsecured IoT devices connected to the corporate network (58%) and the need to procure a wider array of cybersecurity solutions to protect themselves from cyberthreats (55%).

The majority of Asean organisations (94%) also experienced a rise in the number of attacks in 2021, with one in five (20%) Malaysian organisations experiencing a 50% or more increase in disruptive cyberattacks.

On the matter of financial institutions being prime targets, the survey respondents reported that, among others, attacks on banks and financial institutions are expected to increase (45%) and malware attacks are the top concern (52%).

However, these two industries are also the most confident in the cybersecurity measures put in place to protect them from attacks. Business leaders in financial services (79%) and fintech (76%) say they pay more attention to cybersecurity than the average of 74%.

There has also been a big rise in cybersecurity budgets for businesses in financial services (81%) and fintech (75%), which is more than the 68% average.

Organisations are changing their cybersecurity strategies to stay safe from attacks as cybersecurity threats keep getting more dangerous.

As a measure to stay ahead of cybersecurity threats, Palo Alto Networks recommends organisations conduct a cybersecurity assessment to better understand, control and mitigate risks.

This will help organisations prioritise countermeasures and identify where resources are needed to defend against sophisticated attacks.

As an added layer of security, organisations should adopt a Zero Trust framework to address the cybersecurity threats of today and design architecture with an “assume-breach” mindset, as well as deploy technology to continuously validate the legitimacy of digital interactions and establish rapid response capabilities to quickly address the early signs of a breach.