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Going Digital In ASEAN: Why Cybersecurity Is Crucial

Authored by Stephen Dane, Managing Director for Security, Asia Pacific & Japan, Cisco
 
Today companies are born digital and “traditional” companies are investing in digital. Globally, disruption is occurring at massive scale and every country, city, government, and business will at some point become digital. But along with the benefits of digitization, a lack of cybersecurity can hinder innovation. Also, the biggest change that must take place is the shift from security being seen as an IT task to protect assets, to a strategic business process that enables organizations to succeed faster in today’s hyperconnected world. This shift in mindset is even more imperative in Southeast Asia and its fast growing economies like Malaysia. Here’s why cybersecurity is crucial to digital transformation:
 
The true cost and impact
 
The financial cost of cybersecurity attacks is no longer a hypothetical number. According to study respondents in the Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report, more than half of all attacks resulted in financial damages of more than US$500,000, including, but not limited to, lost revenue, customers, opportunities, and out-of-pocket costs. Breaches cause real economic damage to organizations, and this damage can take months or years to resolve.
 
The Cisco and A.T. Kearney research report, Cybersecurity in ASEAN: An Urgent Call to Action, also forewarns that companies across Southeast Asia face growing risk of cyberattacks, which could expose the region’s top listed firms to a US$750 billion erosion in current market capitalization. Additionally, the research report states that the digital economy in ASEAN has the potential to add $1 trillion to GDP over the next 10 years. However, cyber risks could impede trust and resilience in the digital economy and prevent the region from realizing its full digital potential. ASEAN countries have already been used as launchpads for attacks, either as vulnerable hotbeds of unsecured infrastructure or as well-connected hubs to initiate attacks. The region’s growing strategic relevance makes it a prime target for cyberattacks – and cyber resilience is generally low, with countries having varying levels of cyber readiness. Specifically, there is a lack of a strategic mindset, policy preparedness, and institutional oversight relating to cybersecurity.
 
Make security the foundation
 
Organizations operating across the ASEAN region must treat security as a foundation for innovation. The organizations that understand this and lead with security will protect their business value, drive digital agility, and enable long term innovation and growth. In Cisco’s Cybersecurity as a Growth Advantage report, 71 percent of executives say concerns over cybersecurity are impeding innovation in their organizations. Thirty-nine percent say they halted mission-critical initiatives because of cybersecurity issues.
 
For more than 30 years, Cisco has been driving innovation. As the worldwide networking leader operating in over 170 countries, we are committed to helping our customers harness the benefits of digital transformation securely. Collaborating with IDC in Asia, Cisco developed a security maturity model framework and launched the Digital Cybersecurity Index Self-Assessment. This online assessment helps large, medium and small businesses to identify their current security maturity levels – and indicate where they need to integrate transformation and security efforts. The assessment covers business-oriented questions on an organization's leadership, operations and cybersecurity infrastructure. Once completed, users learn their security strengths and weaknesses by receiving a customized report with recommendations on how cybersecurity can be integrated into the organization’s innovation agenda.
 
Ultimately the financial cost and business impacts for organization’s lacking in cybersecurity are real. And the organizations that don’t have security at the forefront of their innovation plans risk realizing their full digital potential.

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