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The need for Malaysian CIOs to bring wireless security up to speed: Fortinet survey

AvantiKumar | June 19, 2015
According to new global research, 9 in 10 Asia Pacific CIOs are worried about insufficient wireless security, while more than a third of enterprises lack basic wireless security.

Michelle Ong, Fortinet's Country Manager for Malaysia 

Photo - Michelle Ong, Malaysia Country Manager, Fortinet.


Malaysian IT decision makers show increasing concern about the vulnerability of their wireless networks, which is in common with their Asia Pacific and global counterparts as reported in a new global online survey, said network security specialist Fortinet.

Fortinet Malaysia country manager Michelle Ong said the online survey, which was conducted by market research company Lightspeed GMI, showed that nine in 10 Asia Pacific CIOs [92 percent] are worried about 'insufficient' wireless security, while more than a third of enterprises lack basic wireless security such as authentication. A significant 25 percent and 36 percent of enterprises respectively, overlooked firewall and anti-virus security functions when it comes to wireless strategies.

Ong said the online survey of more than 1,490 IT decision makers [ITDMs] at 250+ employee organisations around the world also showed that:

- Slightly more than half of ITDMs (56 percent) consider loss of sensitive corporate and/or customer data the biggest risk of operating an unsecured wireless environment.
- 73 percent have adopted a cloud approach to management of their wireless infrastructure and 87 percent trust the cloud for future wireless deployment.
- 39 percent of ITDMs polled provide guest access on their corporate wireless networks; 13 percent of these organisations do so without any controls whatsoever.

High Asia Pacific concern over wireless security

Ong said the survey confirmed that wireless networks were ranked as the most vulnerable IT infrastructure with the highest proportion of ITDMs (44 percent) placing it in their top two. Respondents positioned wireless as significantly more vulnerable than core networking infrastructure, with just 31 percent of ITDMs ranking this highly. Databases (25 percent), applications (18 percent) and storage (10 percent) infrastructures were considered amongst the least susceptible from a security standpoint.

Other security measures deemed critical to core infrastructure protection, such as IPS (deployed by 43 percent), application control (39 percent) and URL filtering (34 percent), play a part in even fewer wireless deployments.

She said the survey reported that that majority of respondents said they would maintain focus on the most common security features - firewall & authentication, while demand for more security is emerging with 22 percent prioritising complementary technologies - IPS, anti-virus, application control and URL filtering - to guard against the full extent of the threat landscape.  

Ong said Of the ITDMs surveyed and despite deploying the highest level of security of all the regions surveyed, ITDMs across APAC are the most concerned about wireless security with 44 percent stating they are very concerned, in contrast to 30 percent in the Americas, and 20 percent in EMEA.

"The survey findings indicate that despite the growth in mobility strategies, wireless security has simply not been a priority for enterprises to date," said she said. "As advanced persistent attacks increasingly target multiple entry points, and the cloud becomes more prevalent, it's not an oversight organisations should risk any longer."

"It's positive to see IT leaders beginning to recognise the role wireless security plays in protecting their critical business assets, yet there is more to be done," said Ong. "As IT strives to balance the need for strong network security with ubiquitous connectivity, wireless must be considered as part of a holistic security strategy to ensure broad and consistent protection for users and devices over wired and wireless access."

The Fortinet Wireless Security Survey was a research exercise undertaken throughout May 2015, by market research company Lightspeed GMI. The survey was conducted online amongst 1,490 qualified IT decision makers - predominantly CIOs, CTOs, IT Directors and Heads of IT - at organisations with more than 250 employees from 12 countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, UK and USA.


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