Malaysia faces escalating cybersecurity breaches and skills gap: Fortinet Survey

  • 45% of respondents experienced breaches costing over US$1mil in past year
  • No single org or entity can solve problem alone, vital role for govts to play 

Source: 2023 Fortinet-IDC Asia Pacific SASE Survey

Image source: 2023 Fortinet-IDC Asia Pacific SASE Survey

A recent Asia-Pacific SASE survey commissioned by Fortinet from IDC revealed that 45% of Malaysian respondents experienced breaches costing over US$1 million in the past year. Additionally, 86% of surveyed organizations in Malaysia reported at least a 2X or greater increase in breaches, while 52% experienced a 3X jump in breaches.

The survey included 450 cybersecurity leaders from nine different locations across Asia, with 50 respondents from Malaysia. These leaders represented various industries such as manufacturing, retail, logistics, healthcare, FSI, and the public sector.

As businesses in Malaysia adopt hybrid work models and digital solutions, managing cybersecurity becomes increasingly difficult. The survey results indicate that cybersecurity is not something Malaysian businesses can easily handle.


Shortage of skilled talent in an increasingly complex environment

Fortinet Malaysia Country Manager Dickson Woo addresses the growing cybersecurity challenges faced by Malaysian businesses.Dickson Woo (pic right), Country Manager at Fortinet Malaysia, pointed out the shortage of skilled talent with the right certifications as a significant challenge. “As Malaysia continues to embrace the digital future and become a leader, it is essential that we acknowledge the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks and data breaches," he observed.

He noted as well that four out of five companies in Malaysia face difficulties finding qualified cybersecurity professionals. Furthermore, two out of three decision-makers believe their employees are not cyber-aware, emphasizing the need for education and training.

According to the Asia-Pacific SASE survey, 92% of Malaysian respondents have adopted a hybrid or fully remote working model. This shift has led to an increase in managed devices, with 66% of respondents anticipating a surge of more than 100% over the next two years. Additionally, 56% of respondents expect unmanaged devices to grow by over 50% in the same period.

Unmanaged devices connecting to networks also pose a significant risk for security breaches. The survey indicates that 30% of devices connecting to networks in Malaysia are currently unmanaged, with 56% of respondents predicting a 50% increase by 2025. As the number of users, devices, and data located outside of enterprise networks continues to grow, companies face increasing challenges in maintaining a secure environment.


The role of government in improving cybersecurity

The survey emphasized the need for collaborative efforts to address the growing cybersecurity challenges in Malaysia. Rashish Pandey, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Asia, for Fortinet, stated that "cybersecurity is a team sport." Governments play a vital role in establishing and enforcing cybersecurity regulations and fostering collaboration.

Rashish highlighted the importance of working with managed service providers, like ISPs, and universities to ensure that the next generation of talent is up-to-date with the latest security developments. Fortinet also regularly collaborates with organizations like Interpol and CERT to stay informed about the latest trends.

The survey suggested that governments can further help by implementing regulations and guidelines, such as mandatory breach reporting in Australia, and investing in cybersecurity education and training.


Simpler single-platform security

The survey also revealed that 82% of respondents in Malaysia prefer a single vendor for networking and security capabilities, with 86% consolidating their IT security vendors. Moreover, 62% prefer a single vendor for cloud-delivered security services and SD-WAN, citing benefits such as reduced security gaps, improved network performance, ease of deployment, and addressing integration and scalability challenges.

As a result, the survey claims that many organizations in Malaysia are considering investing in a Single-Vendor SASE solution to enhance their security posture and provide a consistent user experience for remote employees. SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a framework that combines networking and security services into a single, cloud-delivered solution.


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