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IT industry in Malaysia expects to move beyond tradition in 2016 - Part 1

AvantiKumar | Jan. 4, 2016
The first part of a look back to 2015 as well as a look ahead to 2016 by some Malaysian ICT industry leaders including PIKOM, Outsourcing Malaysia, IDC, F-Secure, Allied Telesis, and Barracuda.

Amit Nath - F-Secure

Kickstarting the ongoing security debate, Amit Nath (pic), Head of Asia Pacific (Corporate Business) for security solutions company F-Secure, said: The year 2015 has become widely referred to as the year of the data breach. 2015 will be seen in retrospect as a watershed year for information security, as many of the evolving threats and security practices now emerging will be directly attributable to events in this last year. The evolution and expansion of an aging Internet presented significant opportunity for attackers while simultaneously tripping up defenders.

Cyber-attacks were no longer perpetrated by a handful of nerds gone bad - they became a business. As government, businesses, and organisations integrated more deeply with the web, cyber-attacks multiplied. The accelerating growth in malware has been a good measure of the growth in cyber-attacks. In 2015, mobile malware grew at a rapid pace. In fact, mobile security emerged as the number one technology investment area.

The importance of security has vastly increased with the rise of the 3rd Platform technologies such as cloud, big data/analytics, social, and mobile. As enterprises move to the 3rd Platform, the network paths for attackers to breach an organization also expanded. With cyberattacks on the rise in the country, organizations see the increasing sophistication of attacks as a top security challenge. Cyber security risk assessment has become the critical first step in implementing more robust defences.

The objective with which National Cyber Security Policy (NCSP) was created by the Malaysian government to keep cyber threats under control has worked wonders for the industry. NCSP is successfully able to address the risks to the critical national information infrastructure, ensuring that critical infrastructure are protected to a level that is commensurate with the risks.

For F-Secure, Malaysia is an extremely significant market, as the country has been made hub for the APAC region. Having its 2nd biggest customer care lab and R&D facilities outside Finland, the company is considering Malaysia as a launch pad to seek greater market share in APAC region. 

We believe that spending on security products by SMEs in Malaysia is expected to hit Euro340 million (RM1.4 billion) this year. By 2017, it's going to grow to Euro500 million as more and more SMEs adopt technology to yield greater productivity and operational efficiencies. SMEs are the future of business, and is a vital part of Malaysia's business ecosystem and F-Secure fully intends to keep them as safe as possible. This year, we have decided to focus on investments in the region and to start selling our products via our resellers and distributors. Last year, F-Secure officially launched its protection service for business suite in Malaysia.

Overall, 2015 has been a fruitful year for F-Secure. The acquisition of nSense bolstered the company's expansion into the enterprise segment by offering business complete defensive solutions and services for modern threats. Besides, the launch of new Business Suite 12 gave IT managers new capabilities with better control and manageability. The new version provides excellent administrator control and reporting, ease of management, better security through reduced human error and an end-to-end airtight security.

In 2015, F-Secure sharpened its focus on cloud security. With the company's strong technology assets, foresight into the security landscape, and attention to customer insights, we continue to invest in developing and bringing cloud-based privacy and security products to the market. We will increasingly use the cloud to power existing PC and mobile security products and to develop new products that are fully cloud-based. Within the strategic frame, F-Secure is increasingly focusing on cyber security and the corporate market, as evidenced by the acquisition of nSense.

During the strategy period of 2015-2017, the company's target towards the end of the period is to grow the overall subscriber base by tens of millions of users while seeking double-digit revenue growth. As the company invests in growth, the proportional profitability will remain at the current level and longer-term profitability continues to be driven by revenue growth and scalable operations.

The Cybersecurity industry in Malaysia has potential to grow to RM 8.8 billion by 2020. Embracing and implementing cybersecurity standards and best practices will catalyst further adoption of IT technology to enable Malaysia to be a high technology nation.

Malaysia already has a good international cybersecurity credibility, but have yet to fully capitalize on business opportunities.  Strengthening the capability and innovation in cybersecurity industry has the potential to spill over to other ICT areas e.g. software, networking, service industry, e-commerce.

Going forward, businesses should be encouraged to rethink their approach to IT security, wherein there has to be proactive involvement of senior management and align IT security strategy to corporate risk management objectives; update security policies looking at trends like BYOD and cloud; adopt intelligent multi-layer defence; maintain up-to-date systems; and educate users on security best practices.

Third (3rd) platform technologies - cloud, big data/analytics, and social, mobile - will continue disrupting the ICT landscape. Hacks targeting mobile devices and new payment methodologies will impact payment security more than EMV. The increase in non-traditional payment methods on mobile devices or via beacons and smart cards will open up the doors for a new wave of retail data breaches.

The boundaries between corporate and personal devices have become more blurred, causing increasing friction and security challenges affecting critical infrastructure. Industries that utilize a large number of connected devices and networked systems in the course of their everyday business, such as healthcare, are likely to face a wider range of security vulnerabilities and threats in the coming year.

With regards to ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and Malaysia chairing the ASEAN group, 2015 will see Malaysia working to solidify its role as a regional leader in ICT infrastructure development and government-to-enterprise cooperation, and government will also exert influence in pushing ASEAN's ICT objectives to the forefront.


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