Data has become the currency of an intelligent enterprise in the post-pandemic era, thanks to the rise of remote working and digitization across all spectrums of business operations. As the value of data grows, protecting organizational data is becoming ever more challenging. Growing numbers of organisations are moving toward hybrid IT models that better suit their digital requirements, which can add further complexity to the task of developing an effective cybersecurity strategy.
Businesses today are creating, storing and processing data not only in on-premises data centres, but also in the cloud and at the edge – in smart factories, in advanced medical imaging clinics, and across vast networks of employees working remotely. As organisations across Asia Pacific (APAC) continue their digital transformation journeys in 2023, it is critical to stay ahead of the curve and look out for key emerging technology innovations and trends in cybersecurity to prevent and mitigate potential security risks.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes on centre stage in safeguarding data security
Over the next couple of years, APAC will continue to invest in AI solutions to facilitate innovation across all levels and areas of business. IDC predicts that APAC spending on AI systems will rise from USD17.6 billion in 2022 to around USD32 billion in 2025. Enabling a quicker response time towards breaches, AI is playing a critical role in advancing cybersecurity solutions at least in part by making it possible for enterprises to take a more proactive approach to protecting their systems. AI has demonstrated high efficiency in securing cloud services, on-premises infrastructure, and detecting atypical user behavior. The financial services industry is especially keen to leverage AI for cybersecurity. IDC estimates that in APAC, banking will invest more in AI than any other sector over the next five years, as experts increasingly look to AI solutions for augmented threat intelligence and fraud analysis applications. As we further discover the future of automation, enterprises will likely prioritise the use of AI to support security initiatives and fuel continued business growth.
Growth of Internet of Things (IoT) presents new risks
In APAC, the IoT market is expanding, with analysts expecting IoT spending in APAC to reach USD437 billion in 2025, driven by the rise of remote working, an increased focus in building smart infrastructures, as well as the emergence of new technologies in healthcare and other industries. Alongside the growth of IoT is the need for more security regulations and measures to mitigate the security risks inherent in IoT devices. Since IoT devices are often mass-produced with lack of innate security, it’s difficult to make them secure with traditional security controls and practices. To mitigate the inherent security vulnerabilities of IoT devices, governments across Asia Pacific have started to set IoT security regulations, including Singapore’s “Guidelines for IoT security for smart nation” and IoT Cyber Security Guide.
Blockchain/Distributed Ledgers gain popularity in the Financial Services sector
2023 will see increased investment in blockchain and distributed ledger capabilities. According to EY, blockchain is expected to be the top investment over the coming years among financial institutions in APAC. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies hold the promise of providing a tamper-proof record of all transactions, enabling efficiency and transparency, optimising operations much beyond what the current ecosystem of centralised database management and paper-driven bills could possibly achieve. It allows enterprises to choose the level of security required for all the data, or for specific cases, making it easier to implement strong technical security measures such as encryption, automation, access control, orchestration, and endpoint security to manage risk effectively.
Zero Trust becomes a business imperative
From an intriguing idea and catchword, Zero Trust has quickly made its way to a critical business imperative. The Zero Trust model requires every device, user, or network segment to be treated as a potential threat. Hence, organisations must take measures to allow continuous verification to offer regular assurance that the systems and their components are operating appropriately. According to a recent State of Zero Trust Security in Asia Pacific 2022 report, almost half (49%) of APAC organisations have a Zero Trust Strategy in place. Of those that have not adopted a Zero Trust strategy, 38% said they plan to do so over the next six to twelve months. Other recent survey findings have found that Zero Trust will continue to be a key cybersecurity priority for businesses in APAC for the next 12 to 18 months.
Ransomware remains a security threat
As threat actors continue to use malware, phishing and malicious emails to extract data and hold organisations hostage, ransomware will remain a major security threat to organisations in APAC. According to a Ransomware Protection Market Research, APAC is forecast to exhibit the highest growth globally in the ransomware protection market from 2022 to 2031, demonstrating the region’s aggressive investment in security solutions against ransomware attacks. As security threats evolve, criminals are resorting to increasingly sophisticated tactics to attack organizational data and cause significant damage to businesses. In 2021, 78% of organisations in APAC were hit by ransomware attacks that impacted their IT or operational technology (OT)/Industrial Control System environments, or both, with 51% of them paying the ransom. In 2023, organisations need to reassess their approach to cybersecurity and employ a holistic security strategy to keep pace with the ever-advancing security threats.