Closing the Gap in Cybersecurity Spending

Cybersecurity threats continue to be a significant concern for most businesses in various industries. There have been many approaches by cybersecurity providers to find out the problem organisations are facing and how to deal with them. From risk assessments to running surveys with IT personnel to roundtable discussions with various stakeholders.

Cybersecurity Asean (CSA), together with CyberSecurity Malaysia recently organised a roundtable discussion with various industry players to understand their growing concerns about cyber threats and how they dealt with them. Among the participants of the roundtable included representatives from government bodies, the private sector as well as cybersecurity vendors.

BT Tay, Ingram Micro Executive Managing Director, who also attended the discussion, shared his thoughts on why roundtable discussions are probably the best way to understand the problems faced by various industry players today.

“With a mixture of representatives from various sectors and industries, roundtable discussions help us understand the challenges businesses are facing (both internal and external) and how Ingram as a distributor for a lot of cybersecurity solutions can play a role in helping them mitigate some of these risks.”

Instead of having to deal with a cybersecurity attack, Tay added that by understanding and implementing customised solutions to these industries, Ingram Micro would be able to prevent threats as well. Ingram, together with its business partners, will also be able to educate the corporate segment and try to link in the various cybersecurity solutions Ingram have and present them as a total package to the business.

“Cybersecurity is a tool that involves people, process and technology. We are providing the technology part of this. But ultimately, the people and process within that company have an important role as well.”

Tay pointed out that most of Ingram’s corporate customers realise that gaps exist within their organisations and they need to beef up their cybersecurity. However, he added that most businesses don’t allocate a budget or even have enough budget for cybersecurity. Tay believes that companies are not investing enough because they don’t realise how vulnerable they are to cyber threats.

“It’s the same issue throughout the Southeast Asian region. There is a need to beef up cybersecurity, but because of budget constraint, businesses scale down their procurement on cybersecurity. Singapore is much ahead in Southeast Asia compared to the other countries. They have invested quite a lot in their cybersecurity. Malaysian businesses are also investing in cybersecurity, but they are not investing enough.”

This is where Tay felt that businesses are facing their biggest threat. By not being aware and not comprehending the risk they are facing, companies are allowing themselves to be vulnerable to cyber attacks without realising it. It is imperative that the awareness of cyber threats is clear in business plans and strategies.

According to Tay, the problem is businesses only comprehend the risks when they’re actually faced with malware, ransomware and other cyber threats. This mindset needs to change. Companies need to be ready to deal with threats before it happens. Otherwise, the effects of a cyber attack may lead to more significant consequences and losses to the organisation.

Also present at the roundtable was Khai Yeing Ng, Head of Business Development from TechLab Security, a leading enterprise systems integrator and solutions provider. For them, it is important to bridge the communication of working-level security executives to higher level management.

While connectivity and mobility continue to open the world, Khai Yeing felt that the security aspect of all this is often not well planned and understood. This may be a weak link to all IT security managers.  Add that to the lack of security knowledge within organisations in cybersecurity, the chances of cyber attacks are much higher.

“TechLab’s biggest challenge is the maturity of the cybersecurity awareness and lack of competent resources in Malaysia. Organisations know the importance of cybersecurity, but to accurately translate the real concerns to the management is not substantial.”

Fortinet’s Country Manager for Malaysia, Alex Loh who was also one of the roundtable participants, believed that participating in roundtable discussions are helpful because they are great opportunities for problem-solving. He added that sometimes technology is only one piece of the puzzle, and there are many other factors involved on the road to implementing and maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture.

According to Alex, the reality is that there are simply not enough skilled humans available to properly plan, manage, integrate, and optimise security devices, strategies, and protocols.

“Cybersecurity is no longer the sole responsibility of the IT and security teams. As employees interact with and rely on technology every day, often from remote locations, they all play an integral role in the security of the organisation. Unless things change, we are looking at a potential crisis that could slow down our global digital economy and continues to put governments, organisations and their customers and users at great risk.”

The roundtable discussion was organised by Cybersecurity Asean (CSA), together with CyberSecurity Malaysia with the support of IBM, Ingram Micro and Fortinet.

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