Cybersecurity skills gaps worry organizations in APAC: Study

Study reveals IT and business process automation growing with multi- and hybrid-cloud architectures

Cybersecurity skills gaps worry organizations in APAC: Study - CIO&Leader

Many organizations are starting to realize the benefits of increased scale and velocity of application deployment in their businesses. This value, however, can bring significant complexity as organizations maintain legacy infrastructure while increasingly relying on multiple public and private clouds, implement modern application architectures, and face an evolving and sophisticated threat landscape, according to F5’s State of Application Services: Asia Pacific Edition Report.

At the same time, organizations are adopting more application services designed to accelerate deployment in public cloud and container-native environments, like service mesh and ingress control. Survey data indicates this trend will accelerate as organizations become proficient in harnessing the data their application ecosystem delivers—creating advanced analytics capabilities and better business outcomes. Yet, most organizations are still struggling to implement a robust security framework for applications, focusing on speed to market over security.

“In today’s increasingly connected digital economy, how businesses engage with customers and drive revenue directly hinges on the digital experiences powered by applications. In many ways, the app is no longer just a part of the business—it is the business,” said Adam Judd, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, China and Japan, at F5. “This year’s report reveals one key trend that continues to plague businesses across Asia Pacific—the security skills gap. Harnessing growth opportunities and breaking through disruption cycles require businesses to invest in talent, technologies, and trusted partners in order to build and deploy apps with greater speed, availability, and security across all environments.”

The report reflects input from nearly 2,600 respondents globally (with over 1,300 respondents from Asia Pacific) across a range of industries, company sizes, and roles. Participants were asked about the challenges and opportunities presented by the ongoing process of digital transformation. Their responses provide a unique view of the trends shaping the application landscape—and how organizations around the world are transforming to meet the ever-changing demands of the digital economy.

Survey Highlights

The survey shows that as companies manage legacy, multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, and modern architectures to deliver applications, their requirements for app services are also evolving. To address limited skill sets and integration challenges, organizations are choosing open ecosystems that offer standardization. Respondents prize application services that are both secure and easy to use. ​

The overall key findings for Asia Pacific reveal that the region is on par with its global counterparts in digital transformation, but a deep dive into market findings highlighted nuances across organizations in the region.  

Respondents from markets, such as Australia, New Zealand, ASEAN, and India reported initiating numerous digital transformation projects which included incorporating emerging technologies in their operations. However, responses shared also highlighted that organizations in these markets are facing the challenge of business application sprawl.

On the other hand, markets such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan are still in the early stages of implementing digital transformation initiatives with fewer organizations looking to implement certain emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, or automating their application infrastructure.

The report offers an in-depth examination of five key findings:

  • 82% of organizations in Asia Pacific (global: 80%) are executing on digital transformation, with increasing emphasis on accelerating speed to market.

As organizations progress through digital transformation initiatives, IT and business process optimization initiatives mature. Many organizations have moved beyond the basics of business process automation and are now scaling their digital footprint with cloud, containers, and orchestration. This in turn is driving the creation of new ecosystems and massive growth in API call volumes. For 60% of organizations, applications are essential to the business, with 38% stating that applications support their business and provide competitive advantage.

  • 86% of organizations in Asia Pacific (global: 87%) are multi-cloud and most still struggle with security.  

Organizations are leveraging the public cloud to participate in industry ecosystems, take advantage of cloud-native architectures, and deliver applications at the speed of the business—evidenced by 28% of respondents in Asia Pacific who reported that they will have more than half of their applications in the cloud by the end of 2020.

However, organizations are much less confident in their ability to withstand an application-layer attack in the public cloud versus an on-premises data center. Across Asia Pacific, 76% of organizations reported the highest skills gap in security. This discrepancy illustrates a growing need for easy-to-deploy solutions that can ensure consistent security across multiple environments.

  • 71% of organizations in Asia Pacific (global: 73%) are automating the network to boost efficiency.

Unsurprisingly, given the primary drivers of digital transformation—IT and business process optimization—the majority of organizations are automating the network. Despite challenges, organizations are gaining proficiency and moving toward continuous deployment with more consistent automation across all key pipeline components: app infrastructure, app services, network, and security.

  • 68% of organizations in Asia Pacific (global: 69%) are using 10 or more application services.

As newer cloud-native application architectures mature and scale, a higher percentage of organizations are deploying related app services such as ingress control and service discovery both on premises and in the public cloud. A modern application landscape requires modern app services to support scale, security, and availability requirements.

  • 63% of organizations in Asia Pacific (global: 63%) still place primary responsibility for app services with IT operations, yet more than half of those surveyed are also moving to DevOps-inspired teams.

Operations and infrastructure teams continue to shoulder primary responsibility for selecting and deploying application services. However, as organizations expand their cloud- and container-native app portfolios, DevOps groups are taking more responsibility for app services.


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