75% of APAC organizations believe Zero Trust frameworks are very important following COVID-19: Study

75% of APAC organizations believe Zero Trust frameworks are very important following COVID-19, according to a study by Ivanti and Frost & Sullivan, entitled ?Embracing Secure Access in a World of Rapidly Expanding Virtual Borders? ? which investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cybersecurity and compliance attitudes and behaviors in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Examining the impact of COVID-19 on business demand and cybersecurity strategies

The pandemic has negatively impacted business for enterprises in the Asia Pacific region. Most respondents experienced a moderate 1-9% reduction in business demand, with Australia having the highest percentage of respondents reported (80%), compared to those in New Zealand (73%) and Singapore (59%).

Overall, 38% of respondents said that their main strategy was to focus on IT operations to maintain business operations for their remote workforce during COVID-19. However, more than 40% of the respondents in Australia and New Zealand stated that they focused more on cybersecurity to better protect their organisation from attacks.

When it comes to cloud adoption during COVID-19, most respondents indicated their organisation adopted cloud more during the pandemic, especially those in Australia and New Zealand, with 64% and 57% of respondents agreeing that their organisation adopted cloud more during the pandemic respectively.

Devising the right security formula for today?s hybrid, adaptive modern enterprise

Consolidation and integration of solutions was ?very important? to 71% of respondents across Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. 

At the same time, the importance of zero trust frameworks increased across the board with 75% of all enterprises surveyed during the pandemic stating that this was very important, compared to the 64% that stated the same before the pandemic.

With cybercriminals now targeting the underlying technologies that support a growing remote workforce, manual, disparate security tools are not going to be sustainable for IT teams.

Enterprises are therefore recommended to adopt a strategic approach that focuses on:

  • Complete visibility and centralised control by deploying solutions that provide a single view of threats, technology management, vulnerabilities and perceived risks across an organisation?s entire environment. When enterprises enter the market for new security vendors, the key features they need to look for include threat detection and response, penetration testing, vulnerability testing and scanning and security technology management.
  • Support for multi-cloud and diverse environments – In order to address the mounting challenge of protecting globally dispersed data and compute environments, it is critical that the modern enterprise?s security stance encompasses assets in all environments, whether on-premises, public clouds, private clouds, or a mixed setup.

Kenny Yeo, Associate Director and Head of Asia Pacific Cyber Security Practice at Frost & Sullivan said, “To secure digital assets in the new Everywhere Workplace, security leaders need complete visibility into all endpoints that connect to their networks. They also need to ensure that only trusted users, devices, and applications can access corporate resources. Deploying an integrated security platform that features best-in-class contextual automation and zero trust capabilities is the best way to reduce the risk of breaches and future-proof businesses.?

Michael Waring, VP Asia Pacific & Japan, Ivanti Security Solutions Group (SSG), said, ?In changing the way we work, COVID-19 has also created new security challenges for organizations. As employees, we are increasingly mobile and remote, and we use an ever-changing combination of networks and devices ? some of which could be vulnerable or even compromised ? to access sensitive corporate IT applications. Businesses today need to adopt a Zero Trust approach, which enables highly secure yet more fluid ?anytime, anywhere? access to applications and information in the data center or in the cloud?.

The study surveyed C-Suite respondents at large enterprises with over 500 employees, across the banking and financial services industry (BFSI), as well as retail, manufacturing and healthcare verticals.

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