Palo Alto Networks – State of Cybersecurity in ASEAN Study

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Palo Alto Networks, a global cybersecurity company, unveiled its new research which found ASEAN business leaders prioritising cybersecurity issues at the board level, as a result of the disruptions brought about by COVID-19. The State of Cybersecurity in ASEAN study surveyed and received responses from 500 respondents representing businesses across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand on their response to the cybersecurity challenges in 2021 and outlook for the future.

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.

Against the pandemic backdrop, cybersecurity has risen to the top of the leadership agenda for many ASEAN businesses — a vast majority (92%) believes cybersecurity to be a priority for their business leaders today. Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) also believe their leadership has increased the focus on cybersecurity.

Leaders are also taking concrete actions to beef up their organisation’s cybersecurity capabilities, as 96% of organisations reported maintaining a dedicated in-house IT team responsible for managing cyber risks. Over two-thirds (68%) reported 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 Palo Alto Networks survey respondents reported that, amongst others, the most pertinent in Malaysia is 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 50% and more increase in disruptive cyberattacks.

Amongst all industries surveyed, Palo Alto Networks said that financial services (45%) and fintechs (42%) notably perceive themselves to be most at risk of cyberattacks. Of note, malware attacks were identified as  a top concern.

However, these two industries are also most confident of the cybersecurity measures put in place to protect themselves from attacks. This confidence might stem from a higher focus on cybersecurity reported by business leaders in financial services (79%) and fintechs (76%) compared to the average of 74%. Cybersecurity budgets have also increased the most for organisations in financial services (81%) and fintechs (75%), compared to the 68% average.

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