Helming the Malaysian operations, Steven is overall responsible for P&L management, new solution business planning and execution, people management and customer relationship management. With over 20 years’ experience in the IT Solution & System Integration business, he has a strong rapport with a diverse clientele from financial services, healthcare and retail to manufacturing, education and government.
COVID-19: The urgent agenda for Digital Transformation and Cybersecurity in Malaysia
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on our day-to-day living and business activities in many ways. It has dramatically changed the manner in how Malaysians connect and collaborate with our communities and businesses. It has totally changed our lifestyles and created new norms. Work conventions have dramatically evolved. Today’s workplace is no longer just the offices we report to.
As part of efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, the Malaysian government announced the Movement Control Order (MCO), which started from 18 March 2020, with the closure of all government and private companies except those involved in essential services. Although the Conditional MCO has now replaced the MCO and most businesses have resumed operations, communities are still required to follow the Standard Operating Procedures when they leave home for their office, or to buy food or groceries. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation Director-General at a recent media briefing on 2 October 2020 said the world is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, what then is the critical proposition for businesses in today’s new norm of business operations? It lies in two key aspects: Digital Transformation and Cybersecurity.
For businesses that had earlier embarked on the digital transformation journey, the transition has come with ease and borne fruit. Early adopters of online platforms and other digital solutions are able to continue their business and serve their communities.
Conversely, traditional business owners are facing tremendous challenges in running their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. For them, the challenge to take a leap into the digital era may seem like a huge hurdle.
Undoubtedly, IT readiness and digital transformation in Malaysia have proven to be crucial and essential during these extraordinarily difficult times to enable local businesses to stay connected with the outside world and improve on their customer experience and generate the business outcomes.
For those who work from home (WFH), they are fully dependent on home-based internet line and email to communicate with their office colleagues, customers and business partners. Very often, most businesses use Video Conferencing (VC) facilities for meetings, discussions, and hosting activities.
Although WFH arrangements are popular and have almost become a standard practice today, data protection and cybersecurity concerns have become hot topics that are debated.
For example, it is likely that devices used for WFH are ill-equipped or lack the necessary security features and controls. Internet connections may be made via unsecured Wi-Fi networks at home. With such risks, data protection and cybersecurity become key concerns.
As reported by local media sources(1)(2), a total of 3,906 complaints was lodged with the Cyber999 Help Centre during Malaysia’s MCO period from 18 March to 30 June 2020, an increase of more than 90% compared to the same period in 2019, involving cyberbullying, fraud, intrusion, hacking attempts and phishing.
Most of these cases occurred in urban areas with a high-speed internet connection. Thus, for employees working in a mobile environment, it is critical for their organisations to take precautions to defend and secure their infrastructure and data from damage, unauthorised access and misuse.
In response, businesses are constantly looking for cybersecurity solutions that enable them to have end-to-end protection and monitoring for endpoint devices, servers, storage and networks.
However, many still struggle to determine the right solutions and there is a lack of visibility of threats across servers, cloud workloads, networks and endpoints. These issues are causing slower responses to any cybersecurity incident which is detrimental to organisations.
With increasing risk exposure to cyber threats, it is therefore imperative that businesses establish a Cybersecurity Policy to address and manage any eventual incident.
Key benefits of having a cybersecurity policy include reducing potential costs as a result of cyber-attack and data breach, and safeguarding sensitive data in terms of security, especially when your company is dealing with large amounts of sensitive customer data. It also enables implementing and enforcing effective cybersecurity governance.
There are five important aspects when formulating a cybersecurity policy: (i) risk assessment, (ii) policy building, (iii) security controls, (iv) system consolidation, and (v) management structure.
Complementing this policy is the pressing need to implement proven cybersecurity solutions that are designed and proven to quickly identify advanced and sophisticated cyber threats both internally and externally.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught many of us a great lesson in embracing digital transformation at a much faster pace than ever before, and cybersecurity ranks as one of the crucial elements in this digital transformation journey.
Growing enquiries and ongoing discussions on building an agile ICT infrastructure to enable the digital transformation journey and data protection as well as cybersecurity indicate that these considerations are top of mind concerns of business owners.
And rightly so. To help your business stay secure while adopting technology innovations, HKBN JOS Malaysia is poised to deploy the right digital solutions, monitor and manage business devices to avoid costly data leaks and manage your reputation in the marketplace.
It is never too late for any businesses to adopt digital technologies. As the saying goes, “Better late than NEVER”... for that peace of mind and to safeguard your businesses. Let’s take the digital leap together.
(1) More than 90pc jump in cyber crime complaints during MCO, says deputy minister (2020, Jul 2), malaymail. Retrieved from https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/07/02/more-than-90pc-jump-in-cyber-crime-complaints-during-mco-says-deputy-minist/1880854
(2) Cybersecurity cases rise by 82.5% (2020, Apr 12), TheStar. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com.my/news/focus/2020/04/12/cybersecurity-cases-rise-by-825