Is IT security a 'secret' business enabler for Malaysian companies?

A new global study probes whether Malaysian firms’ investment in IT security is paying off in business improvements and productivity.

By AvantiKumar
Jan. 12, 2017

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According to a new study, Malaysian firms' investment in IT security is paying off in improvements across multiple business KPIs and fewer data breaches as suggested by national IT agencies CyberSecurity Malaysia.and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

"IT security is a business enabler and it is an essential component for companies and corporations in today's application economy," said Nick Lim, Vice President, ASEAN and Greater China for IT services provider CA Technologies, which commissioned the global study, called The Security Imperative: Driving Business Growth in the App Economy, conducted by Coleman Parkes.

Lim said great improvements have been reported such as better digital reach, business growth, customer experience and satisfaction with fewer data breaches reported. "It [security] drives value and streams new revenue, it is more than just a form of control."

"Firms in Malaysia understand and recognise the potential and this is paying off in the improvements in their KPIs," said Lim.  "As consumers continue to have higher expectations of how their information is handled, information security remains a foundation pillar in meeting those expectations and is key to successful digital transformation."
 Malaysia ranks high
The study noted that Malaysia ranked high in the areas of improvement of employee productivity, business growth and number of compliance audit failures as a result of the IT security investments.

In addition, the pay-offs realised by Malaysian firms included better digital reach, enhanced customer experience, employee recruitment and retention following their IT security efforts, which were also above average in the region.

Key findings include:

  • 91 percent of respondents said there was a need to balance strong security with enabling their business to enter new markets and deliver services in new ways.
  • 91 percent said that security needs to be frictionless and not overburden the user.
  • 88 percent said that identity-centric security was critical to enabling secure access for employees, customers and partners wherever they were, and what device they used.
  • 77 percent said that security was critical to protecting the brand and can be viewed as a competitive differentiator.
  • More than 70 percent of respondents were using metrics such as number of compliance audit failures, number of breaches, operational or process efficiency, and digital reach.

Building digital relationships
The majority of survey respondents in Malaysia find IT security such as identity-centric security needed deliver more than just protection for business environments. There was a need for security to help build trusted digital relationships, essential to compete in the application economy and to growing the business.
Investing in IT security has seen enhancements for firms in Malaysia, across 11 key performance indicators (KPIs) for business since implementation.

In addition, the number of Malaysian firms have reported a decrease in security breaches (15 percent), which is above Korea, Indonesia, Australia and Hong Kong.

Overall, the survey noted that 82 percent of the firms in the Malaysia were guarding against IT security breaches by implementing stronger, step-up authentication, followed by increasing investment in security to avoid breaches (73 percent), and by changing their security practices to focus more on high-risk areas such as privileged identities and their access (64 percent).
The Security Imperative: Driving Business Growth in the App Economy, polled 1,770 senior business and IT executives, including more than 100 chief security officers and chief information security officers. About 800 respondents were from countries in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), including Malaysia. Respondents were surveyed about their attitudes toward IT security practices, and the impact they see it having on their business.

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