Cybersecurity gets bigger slice of corporate spending pie

Image courtesy of Sophos

Businesses are spending a higher percentage of technology budgets on cybersecurity, including investment in threat hunting defence strategies, according to new research from Sophos.

Sophos commissioned Tech Research Asia to research into the cybersecurity landscape in the Asia-Pacific region including Japan (APJ). This includes a major quantitative survey where a total of 900 responses were gathered across Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Results show that, in 2022, 11% of technology budgets are dedicated to cybersecurity, an increase from 8.6% in 2021.

APJ organisations have identified threat hunting as a key consideration for strengthening cybersecurity defences. Most organisations (90%) undertook threat hunting to bolster their cybersecurity capabilities in 2021. Of those that did, 85% stated the approach is critical or important to their company’s overall cybersecurity capabilities.

“Given that threat hunting has become a priority for the majority of organisations, it’s interesting to see that cybersecurity professionals rank ‘not being able to keep up with the pace of threats’ in their top five frustrations in 2022, as indicated in the survey, ” said Aaron Bugal, global solutions engineer at Sophos.

Bugal said that even with the additional investment, organisations need to ensure they are not overstating their maturity levels and the implementation of threat hunting solutions, leading to complacency. 

A separate report from Sophos, the State of Ransomware Report, showed that 72% of APJ organisations were hit by ransomware in 2021, up from 39% in 2020.

“Organisations must be active in their approach to combatting cyberattacks, with threat hunting functioning as an always-on activity and not a once or twice a year exercise,” said Bugal. “Organisations must constantly be on the front-foot to identify and thwart attacks, and regular and consistent threat hunting is key to this. Failure to do so means organisations will remain vulnerable.”

Among respondents of the APJ survey, 45% haven’t made a change to their information or cybersecurity approach in the last 12 months, indicating a passive attitude to cybersecurity—something that must be addressed as a priority. 

The driving factor behind a change in strategy is an attack or breach, leading to an “attack, change, attack, change” cycle, a trend observed since 2019. Close to half (49%) of the respondents are planning to make changes in the next six months due to experiencing an attack, highlighting the current reactive approach organisations take to managing their security.

“Cybersecurity strategies must move with – or even faster than – the threat landscape and, sadly, that’s not happening at the moment,” said Bugal.

By updating cybersecurity strategies after a successful attack, organisations will always remain in a reactive state and continue to be easy targets for attacks. Organisations that need help can outsource all or part of their threat hunting procedures to experts who monitor systems 24/7 and who also have access to telemetry and artificial intelligence for faster detection and response capabilities.