Unmanaged devices for hybrid work weakens network security

Photo by Chris Montgomery

Seven in every 10 cybersecurity leaders in Singapore have experienced at least a doubling of security incidents due to hybrid working, according to a new Asia-Pacific SASE survey commissioned by Fortinet from IDC.

The survey was conducted among 450 cybersecurity leaders who are based in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Survey respondents came from nine industries, including manufacturing (14%), Retail (13%), Logistics (14%), Healthcare (13%), FSI (10%), and Public Sector (11%).

Findings show that 92% of respondents in Singapore have a hybrid or fully remote working model, with more than two-thirds (68%) having at least 50% of their employees working in hybrid mode. 

This shift to remote work has resulted in employees becoming “branch offices of one,” working from their homes or other locations outside the traditional office. 

Consequently, 64% of respondents in Singapore anticipate managed devices to surge by more than 100% over the next two years. Additionally, 76% in Singapore expect unmanaged devices to grow by over 50%. 

This is expected to compound the complexity and risk of security breaches, placing additional strain on already overburdened IT security teams.

Currently, over 30% of devices connecting to networks in Singapore are unmanaged, raising the possibility of security breaches. Respondents in Singapore expect this figure to rise, with 76% predicting a 50% increase by 2025.

Also, respondents indicated that their employees in Singapore need more than 25 connections to third-party cloud applications, increasing the risk of security breaches. Over the next two years, all respondents in Singapore expect this number to double, while more than 70% feel that this number will triple, exacerbating the risk. 

Maintaining network security while ensuring employee connectivity to third-party and cloud-based services is a significant challenge, as traditional security measures are inadequate.

Hybrid work and the growth in managed and unmanaged connections have caused a significant rise in security incidents, with 48% of surveyed organisations in Singapore reporting more than triple the number of breaches. 

According to the survey, 70% of respondents in Singapore have experienced at least a two-fold increase in security incidents.  The top security incidents include phishing, denial of service, data/identity theft, ransomware, and data loss. However, only 49% of organizations across Asia have dedicated security personnel, which leaves them more vulnerable to security incidents and breaches.

To tackle the challenges of hybrid work, many organizations across Singapore plan to invest in a Single-Vendor SASE solution to improve their security posture and provide consistency in the user experience for remote employees.

In Singapore, 66% of respondents prefer a single vendor for networking and security capabilities, with 74% consolidating their IT security vendors. 

About half (50%) of the respondents prefer a single vendor for cloud-delivered security services and SDWAN, citing various benefits such as reduced security gaps, improved network performance, ease of deployment, and addressing integration and scalability challenges.

“As Singapore  continues to embrace the digital future and become a leader in the digital economy, it is essential that we acknowledge the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks and data breaches,” said Jess Ng, country manager of Fortinet Singapore.

“The shortage of skilled talent in the cybersecurity industry only makes this issue more challenging,” said Ng.