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Cybersecurity is top priority for firms amid pandemic

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Close to nine out of 10 business leaders in the Philippines see cybersecurity as a priority amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

Based on the CrowdStrike 2020 Asia Pacific and Japan State of Cybersecurity Report, as many organizations accelerated their digital transformation and move to remote working arrangements due to the crisis, 86 percent of 102 business leaders polled in the Philippines have identified enhancement of cybersecurity measures as a top priority.

Over 80 percent of local business leaders also said they expect technology budgets to increase.

CrowdStrike said 76 percent of local business leaders see the need to raise the investment in cybersecurity software over the next six months as a massive increase in cyber threats were seen during the pandemic.

CrowdStrike said it saw an over 330 percent increase in electronic crime activity since the start of the year compared to the same period last year.

With organizations implementing the work-from-home scheme, 65 percent of Philippine business leaders are concerned about a potential cyber attack in the next six months.

Despite changes made by companies to accommodate remote workers, the report found that 37 percent have not revamped security programs, making the organizations vulnerable to both new and more sophisticated cyberattacks.

The report showed 22 percent of local business leaders do not know what to do in the event of a data breach, and 40 percent have not received additional security training.

Moving forward, 91 percent of local business leaders plan on having additional security training.

As the pandemic persists and operations continue under the new normal, 79 percent of business leaders also see the need to invest more in building a remote work environment.

With remote work expected to continue for some time, Sherif El Nabawi, CrowdStrike vice president for engineering for Asia Pacific and Japan said companies need to update their cybersecurity policies.

“This includes planning for the use of personal devices, secure access for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) on corporate networks and leveraging VPNs (virtual private networks) to protect sensitive data accessed through insecure WiFi. Keeping employees educated on cyber threats brought about by remote or hybrid working situations and educating them on cyber hygiene are important for minimizing exposure,” he said.

He said businesses should also be prepared with crisis management and incident response plans that can be easily implemented.

“Lastly, having cloud native cybersecurity technology for advanced endpoint detection is crucial, so organizations’ cybersecurity teams can centrally isolate and remediate any threats that emerge from an employee’s device or personal network, well before the threat can break out of its initial beachhead and proceed to infect other users or systems throughout the entire network,” he said.

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