A small comparative survey of the region’s track record in averting (or suffering) cyberattacks despite increased spending harbors important learning points

In a Feb 2019 quantitative survey of 900 cyber- and information- security decision makers (200 each in in Australia, India and Japan and 100 each in Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore); together with interviews with industry experts; and four executive roundtables held in 2019, data pointed to a gradual  increase in technology budgets (8.6% in 2021) being allocated to cybersecurity to date (11% in 2022).

By correlating the 2019 data with 2022 data, Sophos Cybersecurity, which commissioned the various surveys, has concluded that, even with the additional investment, respondents needed to ensure they were not overstating their maturity levels and complacency in cyber posture, as realized in the meteoric rise in cyberattacks between the two years of surveying.

Other findings for the countries surveyed include:

    • 45% of companies surveyed in 2019 had not made a change to their information or cybersecurity approach in the last 12 months, indicating a passive attitude to cybersecurity.
    • 49% of the respondents were planning to make changes in the next six months due to experiencing an attack, highlighting a current reactive approach that is still occurring in 2022.
    • 90% of respondents had become more proactive by 2021, by identifying threat hunting as a key consideration for strengthening cybersecurity. Of this group, 85% had indicated that the proactive approach was critical or important to their company’s overall cybersecurity capabilities.

According to the firm’s Global Solutions Engineer, Aaron Bugal, organizations must be proactive in their approach to combatting cyberattacks, with threat hunting functioning as an always-on activity and not an annual or biannual exercise. Failure to do so means organizations will remain vulnerable: “It’s interesting to see that in 2022, cybersecurity professionals ranked “not being able to keep up with the pace of threats” in their top five frustrations,” Bugal noted.