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APAC Companies Sees Higher Cyber Threat Amid the Pandemic

Organizations in Asia Pacific are seeing a big increase in the cybersecurity challenges they face amid the shift to mass remote working, a new study by Cisco shows. Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report revealed many Asia Pacific organizations were unprepared to make the accelerated transition to a remote workforce at the outset of COVID-19, with 54% of organizations only ‘somewhat’ prepared and 7% not prepared to support the transition.

The study is based on a survey of over 3,000 IT decision makers globally, including over 1,900 respondents across 13 Asia Pacific markets. It highlights the cybersecurity challenges companies faced as they shifted the majority of their employees to a remote working arrangement in a really short period of time.

With users connecting from outside the corporate walls, secure access – defined as the ability to verify identity and establish trust no matter how, where, or when users log in, is the top cybersecurity challenge faced by the largest proportion of Asia Pacific organizations (63%) when supporting remote workers. Other concerns raised by organizations include data privacy (59%) and maintaining control & enforcing policies (53%).

An opportunity to transform for the future One trend emerged in recent months is that a hybrid workplace – where employees move between working remotely and in the office – is the future. The findings of this study further underlined that. One-third (34%) of organizations in Asia Pacific said they expect more than half of their workforce to continue working remotely post- pandemic. This compares to an average of just 19% of organizations with more than half of their workforce working remotely before the pandemic.

The good news is that as businesses prepare for this hybrid workplace, cybersecurity now tops corporate priorities, with 85% of organizations in Asia Pacific saying that cybersecurity is extremely important or more important than before the pandemic. What is even better is that they are translating this into concrete action. The study highlights that 70% of organizations in the region plan to increase their future investment in cybersecurity due to COVID-19. This is the highest number globally, compared to 68% in the Americas and 52% in Europe. There are still challenges, though, that need to be addressed. While almost all (97%) organizations have made changes to their cybersecurity policies to support remote working, further education and culture change is needed.

Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report is launched concurrently with the Cisco 2020 Consumer Privacy Report which surveyed 2,600 adults globally to understand the challenges for organizations trying to maintain digital trust with their customers, along with the evolving privacy landscape and its impact on consumers.

(This content is surmised from a press release)