Digital Transformation: Are You Ready Or Unsecure?
Managing Director for Security, Asia Pacific, Japan & China
Thought Leadership, Digitization, Security
According to new research by Cisco, cybersecurity is recognized by organizations in Asia Pacific as critical to a digital future (65% consider cybersecurity a must-have to succeed as a digital company). Yet, unsurprisingly there’s still a significant disconnect between cyber threat awareness and preparedness in most organizations.
In the Ready, Steady, Unsure report, we surveyed over 1300 senior IT leaders from organizations across 11 countries, including: Australia, China, Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. We assessed their technological readiness for digital transformation and for every organization – cybersecurity was top of mind. A high 85% of survey respondents across the region have adopted security measures in their IT infrastructure, and 42% indicated they had made security upgrades to their infrastructure due to a breach.
Here’s more of the top insights impacting cyber readiness from the new report:
Aging infrastructure and budget are roadblocks
When asked about why they are not able to adopt the relevant technologies for the future, 38% of IT leaders across all markets in Asia Pacific indicated aging infrastructure as a barrier. And while 90% of companies said they have made upgrades to their IT infrastructure in the last three years, not all parts are getting covered: 30% said they had not upgraded their network, data center or security, the three infrastructure components surveyed in the report.
From a security perspective, aging infrastructure is a significant challenge for international organizations, as attackers look for vulnerable systems that have not been patched or upgraded. And more often than not, this weakest link is a regional office running outdated technology.
Additionally, budget was the number one criteria driving IT decisions and purchases. Survey respondents cited budget constraints when deciding not to adopt even standard technologies, and this suggests that organizations are having to make hard decisions about core components when upgrading their infrastructure. The result: their infrastructure may not be sufficient to manage the next generation of technologies, including cybersecurity, cloud, IoT, artificial intelligence, automation, big data and analytics, and 5G.
Cybersecurity and finance
The Ready, Steady, Unsure report shows that financial services take cybersecurity seriously, with 80% of IT leaders stating that it was a technology that was, or would, shape their industry, compared to: 55% in retail; 60% in healthcare; 63% in education; and 64% in manufacturing and public sector.
However looking deeper into the financial services report data, it reveals a worrying picture: while 80% of IT executives in the industry rated cybersecurity as a technology that would shape their industry, only 69% said they had started to adopt security measures as part of their IT infrastructure. And that number fell to 62% when those adopters were asked whether the technology had been fully installed. Another 30% of those financial services IT managers adopting the technology said they were half way there.
Southeast Asia stands out
Businesses in Southeast Asia are adopting technology and harnessing its power to unlock new growth opportunities.
According to the Cisco report, Vietnam stands out as the country prioritizing cybersecurity the most: 85% of companies rate cybersecurity as the most important technology shaping their digital future and 90% have made cybersecurity upgrades. Cisco’s survey also shows that IT leaders are taking the issue seriously: 81% of them said they were upgrading their IT infrastructure to improve their cybersecurity posture. Additionally, Vietnamese executives in financial services (94%) and managers in the public sector were the ones taking it more seriously (all those surveyed in government said it was important).
While Vietnam is a stand out market in the report embracing digital transformation, there are still markets in Southeast Asia with lesser IT maturity. Looking at the Philippines report data, more than 20% of civil servants in the Philippines said that their government department did not have a digital transformation strategy, higher than the average. And only a quarter (26%) of public sector IT managers said they had begun to adopt security technologies in their IT infrastructure.
Overall, Cisco’s Ready, Steady, Unsure report highlights insights on the top technologies that are defining companies’ digital future, as well as their sense of preparedness to succeed in digital transformation. Cybersecurity is a key call out from the report, and it must be at the forefront of digitization, and not treated as an afterthought.
With digital disruption exploding at massive scale, the rising complexity in the security industry, and cybersecurity awareness being more important than ever before – take a moment to ask – are you ready or unsecure?