Data protection ranks as top security issue in SE Asia

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Companies in Southeast Asia (SEA) have tagged data protection as a top priority when it comes to challenges related to IT security, according to the annual Kaspersky Global Corporate IT Security Risks Survey.

Among the other urgent cybersecurity issues identified by the respondents are keeping relationships with partners and customers in the age of digitalization and ensuring compliance of staff with security policies and regulatory requirements.

Security issues related to cloud infrastructure adoption and the cost of securing increasingly complex technology environments were also considered as stumbling blocks for some businesses.

Based on the interviews conducted with nearly 300 IT business decision-makers in SEA last year, companies fear data loss and being exposed to a targeted attack the most (34%), followed by electronic leakage of data from internal systems (31%).

Another 22% of the survey respondents admitted their distress towards the possibility of surveillance or espionage by competitors. Moreover, 2-in-10 of firms in the region also admitted that they are worried about identifying and remedying vulnerabilities in IT systems they use.

Incidents affecting IT infrastructure hosted by a third party and inappropriate IT resource use by employees are both critical concerns for some 18% of companies in the region.

“The past few years have shown and proved the ugly and costly aftermaths of a successful cyberattack. From the $81-million (P4.050-billion) heist against a central bank to a data breach leaking names of HIV cases, our past offers timeless lessons on cybersecurity which organizations and businesses in all shapes and sizes should definitely learn from,” commented Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

“It is encouraging to see that local companies are starting to prioritize IT security. In fact, our research showed that, on average, businesses in the region are currently spending $14.4 million (P720 million) to build their cybersecurity capabilities. 84% of the professionals we surveyed also confirmed plans to increase the budget for this area in the next three years which is really important in this era where networks are becoming more advanced and complex, thanks to breakthrough technologies like Internet of Things, 5G, and the rapid adoption of Industry 4.0,” he added.

Almost 5-in-10 of the respondents cited increased complexity of IT infrastructure as a factor for the expected budget markup. Companies surveyed also noted that the increment aims to improve the level of specialist security expertise (46%) and is due to new business activities or expansion (39%).

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