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Cyber Risks Hinder Firms’ Digital Transformation Efforts: Study

Failure to prioritize cybersecurity is hindering most organization's digital transformation journey.

Cybercrime

Failure to prioritize cybersecurity is hindering most organization’s digital transformation journey. The findings of a Forcepoint study on Asia-Pacific enterprises, conducted by IT analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, finds that most APAC organizations (83%) don’t think about cybersecurity while embarking on digital transformation projects.

Although 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, the study said.

Here are some important findings of the study:

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 artificial intelligence/ machine learning. However, most organizations, 65% of respondents, acknowledged that they are seriously hampered in 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 cyber security 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,” said Alvin Rodrigues, senior director and security strategist at Forcepoint Asia Pacific.

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 the full responsibility for security. Normally, security and compliance are a shared responsibility between an organization and the cloud service provider. This serious misconception around responsibility of security in the cloud is resulting in a higher number of cyber-attacks.

Existing cybersecurity measures are not enough

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. According to the study, 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 is built into business like cloud and mobility, it is opening each organization up to more threats. Data exfiltration, impersonation – both theft 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.

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

“Security leaders need to look beyond perimeter security, leverage automation, and have a better grasp of the psychology of both cyber-criminals and their business users. By incorporating behavior modelling into IT security architecture, firms can identify potential risks and fend off cyber-attacks,” said Yeo.

The study polled 400 respondent organizations across Asia Pacific region with 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.

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