Southeast Asian firms more aware of cyber hygiene: Palo Alto study says

Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, are becoming more aware of the importance of cybersecurity and protection from cyber threats, a survey by a technology corporation revealed.

Surung Sinamo, Country Manager of Palo Alto Networks Indonesia who conducted the report, said in an online forum on Wednesday: “They (countries) are becoming more aware of the importance of preventing and thwarting cyber attacks that can potentially disrupt businesses, as we have seen in the last few years.”

Conducted from 6 to 15 Feb, 2020, right before the spread of coronavirus widened, the survey involved 400 leaders of tech companies from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore.

Palo Alto believes the survey’s findings remain relevant amid the pandemic as more work is being done virtually.

“There are a lot of virtual meetings, companies have accelerated their need (for such meetings) to ensure that their businesses and workers are protected,” Sinamo said.

Of the 100 companies surveyed by Palo Alto in Indonesia, 4 out of 5, or 84% businesses, had increased their budget for cybersecurity in 2020, higher than the average in the region, with 73% of the companies reporting higher cybersecurity budgets.

Almost half of the 84% companies that responded said they allocated most of their total tech budget for cybersecurity, with 71 % saying they increased the budget as cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated.

Furthermore, 70% of the respondents said that cyber attacks had increased, and 69% felt the need to boost their security capacities, including through automation.

76 % of the respondents saw solutions such as antiviruses and anti-malware as important aspects of cybersecurity, while 61% said they had also invested in cloud-based servers, even higher than the global trend (link to article).

Meanwhile, 56 % of the Indonesian companies used software-defined wide area network security and 51% opted for firewalls.

The growing awareness of cybersecurity was also reflected in measures to review standard operational procedure policies annually. These were carried out by 92% of the respondents.

However, 44% reported they were still not confident about their cybersecurity despite that the majority has increased their security investment.

This suggested a demand for more reliable security options among Southeast Asian firms.