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Failure to prioritize cybersecurity stunting digital transformation – Frost & Sullivan

09 May 2019

Cybersecurity company Forcepoint has unveiled the findings of an Asia-Pacific study conducted by IT analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, revealing that Asia-Pacific (APAC) organizations’ failure to prioritize cybersecurity is hindering their digital transformation journey.

The study finds that most APAC organizations (83%) don’t think about cybersecurity while embarking on digital transformation projects.

Although the majority of the organizations (72%) conduct regular breach assessment to protect themselves against cyber attacks, still 55% of them were at risk.

The study reveals that cloud is a key component of digital transformation (69% of respondents have adopted cloud) but most organizations think cybersecurity is the responsibility of their cloud service provider.

“It’s clear from this study that many APAC organizations are on the back foot when it comes Industry Principal to enterprise cybersecurity in the borderless organization,” says Frost & Sullivan APAC ICT senrior industry analyst Kenny Yeo.

“Security leaders need to look beyond perimeter security, leverage automation, and have a better grasp of the psychology of both cybercriminals and their business users.

“Incorporating behavior modelling into their IT security architecture is certainly a way to identify potential risks and fend off cyber attacks.”

Digital transformation hindered by cyber risks

The study reveals a big push among APAC organizations, with 95% of respondents having embarked on a digital transformation journey, adopting emerging technologies including cloud computing, mobility, internet of things, and machine learning.

However, most organizations (65% of respondents) acknowledged that they are seriously hampered in the execution of digital transformation projects due to rising cyber attacks.

One of the key reasons for this is the less mature approach by business leaders to involve cybersecurity when designing digital transformation projects.

Eighty-three percent of the organizations did not consider cybersecurity until after their digital transformation projects had begun.

“Organizations today need to urgently to embrace ‘secure-by-design’ into their digital transformation projects. Adopting a behavior-centric security approach that focuses on understanding users’ behavior on the network and within applications to identify behavioral anomalies can mitigate cyber attacks before they happen,” says Forcepoint Asia Pacific, senior director and security strategist Alvin Rodrigues.

Serious misconceptions around security in the cloud

Cloud has become one of the key components which is leading digital transformation, with 69% of organizations adopting cloud.

However, 54% of respondents perceive that their cloud service provider will take full responsibility for security.

Normally, security and compliance are a shared responsibility between an organization and the cloud service provider.

This serious misconception around the responsibility of security in the cloud is resulting in a higher number of cyber attacks.

Existing cybersecurity measures are not proving enough for enterprises to protect against cyber incidents

The finding suggests that the majority of organizations have taken measures to protect themselves against cyber incidents, with 72% of them performing breach assessments at least once per quarter.

Despite the readiness, 55% of organizations were at risk − either they have encountered a security incident before, or they didn’t do any checks to assess if they have been breached.

  • 35% of APAC organizations suffered at least one cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months.
  • On a country level, Indian (69%) and Australian (63%) firms were found to be most at risk of cyberattack.

Security blind spots in digital transformation

The study reveals the impact digital transformation is having on each organization’s risk posture.

As more digital technology like cloud and mobility is built into a business, it is opening each organization up to more threats.

Data exfiltration, impersonation – both thefts of digital identity and online brand impersonation − loss of intellectual property and malware infection emerged as the top security blind spots for organizations rolling out digital transformation.

These five incidents, the study states, have high levels of business impact and long recovery times.

About the Forcepoint-Frost & Sullivan 2019 Risk and Cybersecurity study

400 organizations across Asia Pacific participated in this study.

  • 100 respondents each from Australia, Hong Kong, India and Singapore.
  • Organizations hail from key industries like financial services, telecom, manufacturing, energy & utilities, retail, education and healthcare.
  • 53% of the respondents were from large enterprises. The remaining were from mid-sized enterprises and SMBs.
  • 75% of the respondents were C-level executives and senior IT and security decision-makers.
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