The Acceleration Of Digital Transformation And Its Security Risks

Ravi Rajendran, Vice President, Asia Pacific at Cohesity

Data Governance and Protection

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and the implementation of new technologies. The challenge now lies in governing and protecting the data they generate, to ensure their continued efficacy and value. Data is the most valuable and vulnerable asset for any organisation, which means protection and governance is a necessity for all business and government institutions. Existing regulations and legislation clearly define mandatory expectations about how data should be managed, but not only is there always room to improve and refine these, sharing best practices between industry, public and private organisations should be a formally agreed priority. The necessary data governance and protection capabilities required for this digital age are simply not available within legacy technology, which is why next-gen data management is the only solution that supports appropriately adopting new technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and 5G.

Industry 4.0 

The implementation of IoT is bringing the fourth industrial revolution to reality. Addressing how IoT should be encouraged and managed is a key area that the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP) may cover. IoT offers incredible promise through its ubiquitous connectivity and the data-led insights it generates, which in turn afford better or more informed decision-making. The successful deployment of IoT has the potential to revolutionise production lines and manufacturing processes, become the backbone of smart cities and better citizen services, and provide data-led decision-making in sectors such as agriculture for tasks like managing harvests or livestock, where historically experience has been replied upon. To truly benefit from Industry 4.0, the implementation of educational and training programmes, funding of grants or subsidies to industry and business, and other national programmes, should be considered.

Deployment of 5G

The deployment of 5G is set to drive tremendous advances, innovations, and new offerings, including automated factories and connected vehicles. However, a structured approach is essential. The Malaysian government has already committed to investing RM15 billion – under the MyDIGITAL initiative – to build 5G infrastructure. Now the establishment of clear regulations, spectrum governance and national frameworks is required. This must be done fast, and before 5G is switched on, because once it is live it is too late to answer questions of how the data should be processed, transferred, and stored instantly, with consistency and reliability. If these questions and challenges remain unanswered when 5G is unleashed, the resulting data fragmentation issues may lead to spiralling storage costs for providers and businesses, increased risk and security issues, lack of compliance, data recovery failures, and ultimately undermine the agility that 5G promises.


The importance of cybersecurity has moved from being an IT conversation, to a topic of significant discussion and prioritisation in the boardroom, and on the parliamentary floor. It is widely accepted that malicious actors pose a significant risk to digital transformation, the innovation of digital citizen services, and the adoption of nation building focused technology, regardless of whether the target is a public or private organisation. Cybersecurity initiatives, policies, and investment must not overlook securing critical infrastructure, which is an attractive and real target for malicious actors. As connectivity and transformational technology like 5G or IoT are integrated into critical infrastructure such as power grids, water networks, transport systems, and hospitals, the risks of being attacked only increase, with downtime having the potential to cripple entire cities and bring nations to a standstill. With the adoption of new technology and increased connectivity, it is likely that the next Malaysia Plan will incorporate key policy initiatives to encourage safe and secure cyber behaviour. 


The winners and losers of tomorrow will be decided by those that can gain better insights from data, make data governance a priority, and protect their data against ransomware, with ransomware remediation now costing over MYR$3,221,293 for Malaysian businesses (according to Sophos). For most organisations, public and private, the problem lies in the fact they still rely on 20th century solutions to solve 21st century problems. If an organisation doesn’t know what data they have, where it is located, how it is stored, and the types of data they hold – how can they govern it, let alone protect it? Addressing the challenge posed by ransomware is likely to be covered within a security initiative or feature of the upcoming Malaysia plan, if not explicitly called out on its own.

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