Asian Companies Lag Behind U.S. Counterparts in Cyber Security Readiness

Just 28 percent of business leaders in Asia Pacific see cyber security as a major priority, compared to 41 percent in the US, research from BT has revealed.

The research, which assessed attitudes to cyber security and levels of preparedness among IT decision makers, highlights that businesses in Asia Pacific are lagging behind their US counterparts in crucial areas.

Just over half (51 percent) of organizations in Asia Pacific are able to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their cyber security measures, compared to nine in 10 (90 percent) in the US. Similarly, 86 percent of directors and senior decision-makers from the U.S. are given IT security training compared to just 48 percent in Asia Pacific.

Globally, more than half (58 percent) of IT decision-makers globally say their boards underestimate the importance of cyber security. However within countries attitudes to other threats vary significantly.

In Asia Pacific, hacktivism is deemed a severe threat by 74 percent of IT decision makers. This is followed by malicious insider threats (65 percent), non-malicious insider threats (63 percent), organized crime (58 percent) and nation states (46 percent).

In the US, those who see non-malicious insider threats as a severe threat increases to 85 percent and is followed by malicious insider threats (79 percent), hacktivism (77 percent), organized crime (75 percent), terrorism (72 percent) and nation states (70 percent).

Globally, over half of IT decision makers believe that hacktivism (54 percent) and malicious insider threats (53 percent) will pose greater risk over the next 12 months.

In the US this increases to 73 percent and 74 percent respectively, compared to 59 percent and 56 percent in Asia Pacific. Globally, terrorism is seen as the threat least likely to pose more risk over the next twelve months.

“The massive expansion of employee-owned devices, cloud computing and extranets have multiplied the risk of abuse and attack, leaving organizations exposed to a myriad of internal and external threats – malicious and accidental,” said Kevin Taylor, President, Asia, Middle East & Africa, BT Global Services.

“US businesses should be celebrated for putting cyber security on the front foot. The risks to business are moving too fast for a purely reactive security approach to be successful. Nor should cyber security be seen as an issue for the IT department alone.”

In response to emerging threats, three quarters (75 percent) of IT decision makers globally say they would like to overhaul their infrastructure and design them with security features from the ground up. 74 percent would like to train all staff in cyber security best practice. Similarly, just over half (54 percent) say they would like to engage an external vendor to monitor the system and prevent attacks.

“As the threat landscape continues to evolve, CEOs and board level executives need to invest in cyber security and educate their people in the IT department and beyond. The stakes are too high for cyber security to be pushed to the bottom of the pile,” said Taylor.

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