CrowdStrike® Inc., a leader in cloud-delivered endpoint protection, announced the release of the 2020 CrowdStrike Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) State of Cybersecurity Report, produced by independent research firm StollzNow. Commissioned by CrowdStrike, the study surveyed 2,017 business leaders in Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan. The study found that amongst those respondents who believe there should be more investment in remote working, the highest number (74 per cent) list enhancement of cybersecurity measures as a priority for additional investment. Further, despite a grim economic outlook, 65 per cent expect technology budgets to increase.
As organisations have quickly moved to mass remote working arrangements during COVID-19 to survive, the report indicates that many of them have experienced digital transformation at an unprecedented pace and scale across business segments and operations. In fact, 44 per cent of business leaders surveyed said the pandemic accelerated their move to cloud solutions, while 82 per cent say COVID-19 changed the way they interact or deliver products and services to customers. These results indicate a strong shift and rapid investment into transformation projects that move from on-premises security solutions to next generation cloud-native solutions, as organisations look to protect today’s distributed workforce.
Many respondents have recognised that COVID-19 has brought on a massive increase in cyber-threat behaviour as cybersecurity is front of mind for budget allocation. In fact, CrowdStrike observed an increase in eCrime activity by more than 330 per cent since the start of the year versus in 2019. The issues of solidifying a secure digital transformation, prioritising and assigning budgets to appropriate and most critical areas, including cybersecurity training and protecting new supply chains, will need to be addressed as business leaders look forward and put the initial shock of the pandemic behind them.
“The COVID-19 pandemic may have had the biggest impact on the way organisations operate since the introduction of office PCs. The reaction of business leaders has been impressive, but the speed and size of change to a remote workforce led to some inevitable gaps, particularly in the cybersecurity of organisations,” said Andrew Littleproud, vice president, APJ at CrowdStrike. “Our findings show that respondents understand these gaps and expect to address them in the recovery, going beyond ‘good enough’ security measures to ensure their employees remain secure against sophisticated threat activity regardless of where they are located. In the new business normal, it will be vital to implement solutions that can be quickly deployed at scale to detect new threats, adhere to new regulations, and leverage the cloud so they can be easily managed remotely.”
Other notable findings from the 2020 CrowdStrike APJ State of Cybersecurity Report include:
Though organisations have changed their IT environments to accommodate remote workers, 39 percent of respondents have not changed their security programs as a result of COVID-19, potentially exposing their organisations to cyber risks from new and more sophisticated attacks.
Employee education and communication are key to a successful cybersecurity strategy, yet 20 percent of business leaders don’t know what to do in the event of a data breach and 36 per cent of respondents have not received communications about COVID-19 themed malware. Moving forward, 76 per cent of APJ business leaders say they plan on additional security training in the future.
As we look to the new normal, 67 per cent of business leaders believe that their organisations should invest more in building a remote work environment.
The top cybersecurity challenges expected in the next 18 months include remote workforce (54 per cent), new regulation (49 per cent) and costs of compliance (48 per cent), with limited budgets (47 per cent) and additional training (41 per cent) ranking not far behind.