How To Face The Cybersecurity Threats In The WFH Era

Alex Loh, Country Manager for Malaysia, Fortinet

While medical experts have predicted that world economies and society may normalise in 2022, work from home (WFH) arrangements will continue to be in place until the coronavirus is brought under control, says Alex Loh, Country Manager at Malaysia for Fortinet.

However, he says, there is the issue of security and online threats as employees continue to work from home.

“Based on the Asia/Pacific Future of Trust Study November 2020 report by IDC, 36% of businesses in Malaysia are concerned about cybersecurity threats as employees continue to work from home.

“Many businesses have successfully adopted remote working technologies such as cloud and VPN technology to facilitate work from home arrangements as well as secure their company network, but some businesses are just starting on their digitalisation journey in response to the new normal.

To respond to the needs of the consumers, many companies have ramped up their digital innovation initiatives, such as online purchase channels, migration of assets and applications to the cloud and the launch of online collaboration tools. However, along with these modernisation efforts, cybersecurity threats have also escalated,” he says in an interview with Business Today.

Loh also shared his thoughts on the digital transformation in Malaysia and what are the challenges expected.

“It is important for organisations to create a cyber security strategy to safeguard valuable digital assets and ensure the success of their digital transformation initiatives. Given the challenges associated with accelerated digitalisation, the three best practices that organisations can follow to secure their digital transformation efforts are prioritising cloud security, use zero trust access protocols, and extend their security to remote locations”, says Alex.

To enhance the value of security programs, organisations must balance business and technology priorities. Effective security and true business resiliency require ongoing reinforcement from the executive level down to every employee.

Malaysian companies know the importance of cybersecurity but may relegate cybersecurity initiatives to the bottom of priorities due to tight IT budgets. With budgets constraints due to the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses indicate the lack of dedicated resources as a key concern.

To help local businesses adopt modern cybersecurity methods, the Malaysian Government introduced a stimulus package of grants and loans to encourage the adoption of cybersecurity solutions by SMEs and mid-tier companies. The stimulus package includes three programs: the SME Digitalisation Matching Grant, the SME Technology Transformation Fund, and the Smart Automation Grant.

Alex also adds, “The speed by which technology evolves and the complexity of modernisation processes may be too overwhelming for many organisations, which can hinder them from implementing cybersecurity initiatives.”

Cybersecurity strategies, policies and technologies are entirely worthless if employees lack cybersecurity awareness. Employees should be empowered and equipped to protect themselves online to fortify businesses against cyber security risks. A basic level of knowledge and cybersecurity awareness can spell a world of difference between being hacked and avoiding the risk altogether.

Cynthia Magdalen Ignatius contributed to the article.

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