The state of cyber security in Asia-Pacific

Whilst cybersecurity has gained the attention of company boards, the struggle to keep up with the rapidly evolving cybersecurity technologies, products and solutions is the primary barrier hindering Asia-Pacific organisations from ensuring secure cyber environments. This is according to 46 per cent of respondents across the Asia-Pacific region surveyed by Palo Alto Networks for its report – The state of cybersecurity in Asia-Pacific.

The struggle to combat increasingly sophisticated cyber threats and the search for appropriate solutions to address them have been underscored by the following observations based on the survey:

  • More money does not mean better solutions –  Amongst the spectrum of cybersecurity offerings available, antivirus (69 per cent) and firewalls (67 per cent) have the highest take-up rates in the region. On the other hand, far fewer companies have adopted more advanced solutions, such as two-factor authentication (27 per cent), anti-ransomware (25 per cent) and biometrics (22 per cent). This is despite two-thirds of APAC organisations having increased cybersecurity budgets from the last financial year, with up to 74 per cent getting sizeable budgets (5 to 15 per cent of total IT spend) dedicated to cybersecurity.
  • There is a need to change the mindset towards cybersecurity – A majority of organisations in APAC (58 per cent) believe a ‘detect and respond’ approach is more important than prevention. However, this mindset towards cybersecurity might require re-evaluation, given the continued prevalence of data breaches in the region. In financial year 2016-17, 52 per cent of organisations have reported a cybersecurity breach. Furthermore, 30 per cent have reported financial losses of over US$100,000 from those breaches.
  • Different markets, different challenges – Organisations in each market noted a range of challenges they faced in ensuring cybersecurity. Lack of employee awareness stands out as a major internal threat for 47 per cent of those surveyed. Risk from third-party vendors was the second most prominent concern (36 per cent). With the rapid adoption of digital technologies – especially in developing markets – migration to cloud followed as the third-biggest pain point (31 per cent). In particular, governments displayed a need to be more agile in adapting to technology trends, with updating legacy IT systems being their largest hurdle.

As the survey shows, effective threat management requires experience, knowledge and skills to make sense of information coming from multiple interconnected sources. Working with like-minded technology partners, managed service providers and industry groups that prioritize prevention is the best way to keep your organization out of the headlines associated with cyber breaches.