Asia's financial players to spend US$42M on security

The amount may seem small, but it represents a 40 percent increase over what SMBs in this sector spent last year, new AMI-Partners study finds.

Smaller players in the Asia-Pacific banking and financial services sector will increase their IT security budget by 40 percent this year, according to a new study.

Released by AMI-Partners Thursday, the survey determined that small and midsize businesses (SMBs)--with below 1,000 employees--in this market, excluding Japan, will spend more than US$42 million in IT security, up from US$30 million last year. Medium businesses, which have between 100 and 999 employees, will account for 60 percent of the increased spending.

Diana Ng, a Singapore-based research analyst with AMI-Partners, said in a statement: "As SMBs evolve toward e-commerce and online banking, they need to assure their clients that their user names, passwords and account details are safe in the systems of these banking and finance establishments." This, she added, is critical amid increasing incidents of banks and credit card companies falling prey to phishing and hacking attacks worldwide.

According to AMI-Partners, SMBs in the financial services and banking industry spent 33 percent of last year's IT security budget on anti-virus software and 11 percent on hardware such as firewall appliances.

Ng noted that SMBs in this industry segment must ensure their IT security systems are regularly maintained and updated against the latest cyber scams and virus attacks. "A truly secure system encompasses up-to-date hardware, software and regular maintenance and service in order to counter malicious attacks that are getting more sophisticated over time," she said. "When one or more of these components are missing, the firm is at risk."

In September, five major credit card companies including American Express, MasterCard and Visa International, formed an organization to develop a common framework to drive security standards for credit and debit card payments.

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