APAC enterprises more susceptible to external threats

More organizations in the region experience external security issues and lose sensitive business data, due to rise in technology adopters who are not familiar with best practices.

SINGAPORE--Organizations in the region are more vulnerable to external cyberthreats due to the rise in adopters of technology hard'ware and mobile devices, coupled with their lack of knowledge in security best practices, a new survey by Kaspersky Labs reveals.

According to the Global IT Security Risks 2012 survey released Thursday, the number of organizations experiencing external security issues in Asia-Pacific is higher than the global average of 91 percent.

Indonesian companies lead the pack, with 98 percent experiencing security issues from external sources. This is followed by India at 97 percent, China and Singapore at 92 percent each and Australia at 90 percent.

The number of businesses in Asia-Pacific that lost sensitive data to cyberthreats outside the organizations is 45 percent, higher, compared to that of global companies at 35 percent. Among the Asia-Pacific countries, India had the highest percentage of organizations losing data at 66 percent, followed by Indonesia at 54 percent, China at 41.7 percent, Singapore at 29.8 percent and Australia at 24.4 percent.

The study, conducted by B2B International in Jul. 2012, surveyed 3,300 senior IT professionals involved in their companies' decision-making processes, from 22 countries worldwide. About a third of the respondents were from Asia-Pacific countries Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Source: Kaspersky Labs presentation

New users make organizations more vulnerable
This does not mean that the IT security framework of Asia-Pacific organizations are not as strong as their counterparts in the West, or that cybercriminals prefer targeting enterprises in this region, Alexander Erofeev, chief marketing officer of Kaspersky Labs, noted.

Speaking at a press briefing here Thursday, he observed Asia-Pacific is a rapidly growing region, and adopters of both laptops and desktops, as well as mobile devices are also rising . As such, many of them are "new users" of technology and mobile hardware, he said.

"This means the average employees are less experienced about what goes on in the cyberworld, which makes them more vulnerable to cyberthreats," he said.

The exposure to cyberrisks by Asia-Pacific organizations is expected to grow, because the region is not "stagnant" and growing at fast rate in terms of businesses, Erofeev remarked.

More new users of IT are set emerge, and coupled with the rise of digital natives entering the workforce, cybercriminals will exploit their lack of awareness and willingness to "overshare information" to target organizations, he said.

APAC more security-aware
The good thing is, enterprises in this region are more concerned about security threats, as compared to their counterparts in other regions, Erofeev pointed out.

Citing survey figures, he noted that 54 percent of Asia-Pacific companies regard cyber threats as a critical risk to their business, compared to 50 percent of global organizations.

Certain countries in Asia-Pacific also acknowledge cyberthreats will potentially pose a danger to organizations, surpassing fears of economic uncertainty when assessing risk, the survey revealed.

These countries include Australia at 44 percent, China at 48.8 percent and Singapore at 51 percent, compared to the global figure of 42 percent of organizations stating the significance of cybercrime-related problems is set to grow.

While this is "encouraging", Asia-Pacific organizations should not "view it as a glass being half full", Erofeev warned, noting it could lead to complacency and eventually being breached by cybercriminals.