APAC financial firms allocate more budget and adopt new technology to bolster cybersecurity

Adrian M. Reodique

Credit: Graphicstock 

Financial institutions in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region have increased their efforts to bolster their cybersecurity posture over the past year by increasing their cybersecurity budget and adopting new technologies.

This was among the findings of a recent report from security company, Palo Alto Networks, titled The State of Cybersecurity in Asia Pacific. The report is based on a survey of 500 business professionals from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, and Singapore. It covered manufacturing, government, healthcare, education, and financial sectors.

Seven in 10 respondents from the financial sector said they have received additional cybersecurity budget over the past year. This is higher than the 66 percent average across the other industries surveyed.

More financial institutions (52 percent) have also adopted big data and analytics to help detect security breaches and fraud, compared to the industry average of 33 percent.

Meanwhile, four in 10 respondents blamed third-party service providers for most of the risks in their organisations. In addition, 50 percent said the main barrier to ensurig their organisation's cybersecurity is the network's exposure to external users like clients and suppliers.

Despite this, majority of the respondents still believed that reactive, detect-and-respond approach is more important than prevention.

However, Palo Alto Networks insisted that the reactive approach is not enough to mitigate cyberthreats. The security company explained that it takes approximately 98 days to detect an attack. This gives attackers enough time to complete their cybercrime, while organisations get a shorter time to respond.

In fact, three out of 10 polled financial institutions that take the reactive, detect-and-respond approach have lost over US$100,000 to cyberattacks in the current financial year alone. This thus highlighted the importance of prevention.

"Over the past few years, we have seen the finance industry taking greater action to ensure that their organisations are able to effectively mitigate cyberthreats. However, before even talking about cybersecurity budgets, financial institution must first ensure that they adopt an approach that minimise risks the most," said Sean Duca, vice president and regional chief security officer for APAC of Palo Alto Networks.

"A reactive approach towards cybersecurity simply isn't enough to counter today's most sophisticated cyberthreats, and we must not overlook the importance of prevention," added Duca.