APAC firms fret about prolonged need for remote working

Photo by Edward Jenner

More than half (58%) of companies in Asia Pacific believe they are more vulnerable to cyberattacks as a result of this implementing work from home arrangements, even as Singapore leads in this, a survey commissioned by AT&T shows.

The research covered 500 IT decision-makers included in the study from Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, of whom 90% currently have employees working from home.

The rate is highest in Singapore at 97%, which has seen strict rules imposed to cope with the pandemic. 

While 91% of respondents say they were prepared for work from home arrangements, they identified several areas of concern. WiFi networks represent the biggest (39%), followed by cloud storage (38%), email (36%), new technologies such as 5G and IoT (34%), remote devices (32%) and video conferencing solutions (31%). 

In Singapore, 44% of those surveyed revealed that remote workers are accessing corporate networks and data from personal laptops and devices, this is higher than the regional average of 35%. 

This highlights a new range of security threats to which employees are exposed. Also, 12% of senior managers in Singapore also feel that their companies are not well prepared to manage migration of their workforce from office to home. 

Employee training, cybersecurity monitoring and support from external security providers are key to reducing vulnerability to cyber-attacks. To improve awareness and understanding of the risks, 54% of respondents in Singapore said companies should encourage staff to care more about cybersecurity by sharing information about the nature and frequency of attacks, as well the business consequences. 

In addition, 52% of respondents in Singapore said more training is needed while 46% said making staff aware of news stories would help to illustrate the impact on businesses, rising to 49% in Singapore.

Close to half (49%) of those surveyed believe COVID-19 will lead to continued remote working in 2021. Half believe there will be increasing frequency and sophistication of attacks as a result of COVID-19 while 39% believe it will remain the same. 

Demand for support from specialist external security providers is expected to increase next year. Currently, 79% of IT managers rely on external security providers, rising to 85% in Singapore whereas 30% rely extensively on one or more managed security providers. 

About a fifth (19%) do not use external cybersecurity providers. However, 11% of them are looking to increase external providers in the coming year.