Findings from technology giant Cisco’s inaugural Cybersecurity Readiness Index revealed how organizations in Malaysia are far from ready to defend themselves against cyber threats. In fact, just a mere 16% of organizations in Malaysia have the ‘mature’ level of readiness needed to be resilient against today’s modern cybersecurity risks, against a global figure of 15%.
In short, most companies surveyed globally must prepare to deal with cybersecurity issues. For context, the Cybersecurity Readiness Index, conducted by an independent third party, is a double-blind survey that asked 6,700 private sector cybersecurity leaders across 27 markets to indicate which solutions they had deployed and the deployment stage.
Companies were then classified into four stages of increasing readiness: beginner, formative, progressive, and mature. The index has been developed against a post-Covid, hybrid world, where users and data must be secured wherever work gets done.
“In a hybrid world, people are increasingly operating from multiple devices in multiple locations, connecting to multiple networks, accessing applications in the cloud and on the go, and generating enormous amounts of data,” Cisco said in a statement.
In short, companies face new and unique cybersecurity challenges, alongside the stark finding that only 16% of companies in Malaysia are mature, and almost half of the companies fall into the beginner (4%) or formative (40%) stages, Cisco said. “While organizations in Malaysia are faring better than the global average, the number is still very low, given the risks,” Cisco reiterated.
To top it off, Cisco also noted that the majority (95%) of respondents in Malaysia said they expect a cybersecurity incident to disrupt their business in the next 12 to 24 months. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the cost of being unprepared can be substantial, as 55% of respondents said they had a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months, and 35% of those affected said it cost them at least US$500,000.
“Cybersecurity continues to be a top priority for the government and businesses in Malaysia. With many services being application-first and businesses being digital-first today, more needs to be done to close the security readiness gap,” said Hana Raja, Managing Director, Cisco Malaysia. She believes the index is a reality check and a stark reminder for organizations in Malaysia that security must keep pace with digitalization in a hybrid world.
“Organizations need to prioritize identifying gaps in their cybersecurity posture and adopting an integrated platform approach to security across the five key pillars to build their resilience, especially as technology becomes more deeply ingrained into work, work, and life,” Raja said.
The good news is that security leaders are aware of the risks and are keen to invest in their cybersecurity readiness: 91% of organizations surveyed in Malaysia have plans to increase their cybersecurity budget by at least 10% over the next 12 months, compared to 86% globally, Cisco data shows. “It is crucial that these budget increases are delivered sooner rather than later,” the report reads.
However, given the environment that businesses operate in and the current readiness gap, a 12-month wait is far too long.
Here’s what Cisco thinks organizations in Malaysia should do
For starters, Cisco believes organizations need security resilience. Security is foundational to business strategy and is collectively prioritized throughout the organization, allowing companies to anticipate threats better and bounce back faster when a threat becomes real.
For business leaders to build secure and resilient organizations, they must establish a readiness baseline across the five major security pillars. Firstly, organizations need to close the gaps in their system so they have one open platform, see more, and constantly be monitoring; anticipate what is next using actionable intelligence, prioritize what matters most; and lastly, automate your response so you can bounce back fast.