Businesses around the world see cybersecurity as a top investment following a mass move to remote working, and it is expected that technology budgets will rise despite uncertain economic times.
This is according to CrowdStrike's new 2020 Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) State of Cybersecurity Report, produced by independent research firm StollzNow.
The study found that amongst those respondents who believe there should be more investment in remote working, the highest number (74%) list enhancement of cybersecurity measures as a priority for additional investment. In addition, 65% expect technology budgets to increase.
The report indicates that many organisations have experienced digital transformation at a fast pace and scale across business segments and operations, as they have quickly moved to mass remote working arrangements during COVID-19 in order to survive.
In fact, 44% of business leaders surveyed said the pandemic accelerated their move to cloud solutions, while 82% say COVID-19 changed the way they interact or deliver products and services to customers.
These results indicate a shift and investment into transformation projects that move from on-premises security solutions to next generation cloud-native solutions as organisations look to protect today's distributed workforce, CrowdStrike states.
The fact that cybersecurity is front of mind for budget allocation shows many respondents see that COVID-19 has brought on an increase in cyber threat behaviour.
In fact, CrowdStrike observed an increase in eCrime activity up over 330% since the start of the year versus in 2019. As business leaders look forward, they are looking to solidify secure digital transformation through prioritising and assigning budgets to appropriate and most critical areas, including cybersecurity training, as well as protecting new supply chains.
As businesses move forward, 67% of leaders say they believe their organisations should invest more in building a remote work environment.
On this, the top cybersecurity challenges expected in the next 18 months include remote workforce (54%), new regulation (49%) and costs of compliance (48%), with limited budgets (47%) and additional training (41%) ranking not far behind.
On the other hand, the CrowdStrike report also found that though organisations have changed their IT environments to accommodate remote workers, 39% of respondents have not changed their security programs as a result of COVID-19, potentially exposing their organisations to cyber risks from new and more sophisticated attacks.
CrowdStrike found that employee education and communication are key to a successful cybersecurity strategy, yet 20% of business leaders don't know what to do in the event of a data breach and 36% of respondents have not received communications about COVID-19 themed malware.
Moving forward, 76% of APJ business leaders say they plan on additional security training in the future.
CrowdStrike vice president APJ Andrew Littleproud says, “The COVID-19 pandemic may have had the biggest impact on the way organisations operate since the introduction of office PCs.
"The reaction of business leaders has been impressive, but the speed and size of change to a remote workforce led to some inevitable gaps, particularly in the cybersecurity of organisations.
“Our findings show that respondents understand these gaps and expect to address them in the recovery, going beyond good enough security measures to ensure their employees remain secure against sophisticated threat activity regardless of where they are located.
“In the new business normal, it will be vital to implement solutions that can be quickly deployed at scale to detect new threats, adhere to new regulations, and leverage the cloud so they can be easily managed remotely.
The study surveyed 2,017 business leaders in Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan. The survey was carried out between May 26 and June 7, 2020.