Half of execs see cybersecurity as top priority in bouncing back

Two-thirds (67%) of business leaders in Asia Pacific believe that their organisations should invest more in building a remote work environment as they look to the new normal.

Among these executives, 74% list enhancement of cybersecurity measures as a priority for additional investment,” according to a report from CrowdStrike.

The report is produced by independent research firm StollzNow, which surveyed 2,017 business leaders in Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan. 

Findings also show that, despite a grim economic outlook, 65% expect technology budgets to increase.

The report indicates that many organisations have experienced digital transformation at an unprecedented pace and scale across business segments and operations, as they have quickly moved to mass remote working arrangements during COVID-19 to survive. 

Among respondents, 44% said the pandemic accelerated their move to cloud solutions, while 82% say COVID-19 changed the way they interact or deliver products and services to customers. 

As cybersecurity is front of mind for budget allocation, many respondents have recognised that COVID-19 has brought on a massive increase in cyber-threat behaviour.  CrowdStrike observed an increase in eCrime activity by more than 330% since the start of the year versus in 2019.

“The speed and size of change to a remote workforce led to some inevitable gaps, particularly in the cybersecurity of organisations,” said Andrew Littleproud, VP for APJ at CrowdStrike. “In the new business normal, it will be vital to implement solutions that can be quickly deployed at scale to detect new threats, adhere to new regulations, and leverage the cloud so they can be easily managed remotely.”

The report also shows that though firms have changed their IT environments to accommodate remote workers, 39% of respondents have not changed their security programs as a result of COVID-19, potentially exposing their organisations to cyber risks from new and more sophisticated attacks.

Employee education and communication are key to a successful cybersecurity strategy, but 20% of business leaders don’t know what to do in the event of a data breach and 36% of respondents have not received communications about COVID-19 themed malware. Moving forward, 76% of APJ business leaders say they plan on additional security training in the future.