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BT Global Services' Kevin Taylor on Cybersecurity and the High Stakes and Costs of Business Today

FY Teng | April 3, 2014
The man heading the communications company's business in AMEA shares his readings of the cybersecurity landscape in Singapore and the rest of Asia.

Kevin Taylor, the President, Asia, Middle East & Africa (AMEA), BT Global Services

Global communications giant BT released on February 12, 2014, the results of its most recent cybersecurity research work. The London-based company had commissioned technology market research firm Vanson Bourne to conduct 500 hundred interviews with the IT decision makers of medium to large enterprise organisations from a broad set of sectors-finance, pharmaceutical, retail and government-in the UK, France, Germany, the US, Brazil, Hong Kong and Singapore, in order to assess their relative attitudes to cybersecurity and levels of preparedness to minimise, counter and respond to the various associated risks, threats and breaches.

Among their key findings: only 28 percent of business leaders in Asia Pacific saw cybersecurity as a major priority, whereas 41 percent of their counterparts in the US have it as one; 51 percent of organisations in Asia Pacific are able to measure the ROI of their cybersecurity measures, whereas just about nine in 10 organisations in the US can do so; and, 48 percent of directors and senior decision makers in Asia Pacific are given IT security training, whereas in the US, 86 percent of the same level of executives receive such training.

Singapore-specific figures are just as, if not more, worrisome: 36 percent of business leaders in Singapore see cybersecurity as a major concern and are actively strengthening their infrastructures and organisations (the figure for Hong Kong is 60 percent); 34 percent of organisations in Singapore are able to measure the ROI on their cybersecurity measures (Hong Kong, 68 percent); and, 80 percent of business leaders in Singapore find preventing data leaking accidentally or intentionally by employees as a continuous challenge (Hong Kong, 74 percent).

 We asked the President, Asia, Middle East & Africa (AMEA) of BT Global Services, Kevin Taylor, to elaborate on the import and significance of these numbers, what his advice would be to organisations and business leaders this side of the world (Asia, starting with Singapore) today, and what his company can do to help.

Why do you think only "36 percent of business leaders in Singapore see cybersecurity as a major concern" and "34 percent of organisations in Singapore can measure the ROI of their cybersecurity measures," and that 80 percent find preventing data leakage by employees as a continuous challenge?
BT recently conducted a seven-country research assessing the attitudes of IT decision-makers on cybersecurity and levels of preparedness across a range of sectors-finance, pharmaceutical, retail and government.

Our research shows that Singapore is behind its US and European counterparts in these crucial areas and our research shows that board-level executives do not appear to be taking the threat of cyber breaches seriously enough, with only 34 percent of respondents stating that their CEO regards protection against cyber-attack as an absolute priority. In contrast to the attitude of CEOs, at least 70 percent of business IT leaders view hactivism and malicious insider threats as a severe risk to the organisation. For those who do not believe that cybersecurity is on the CEO's radar, they attribute this to a lack of understanding and their CEOs being too busy.

 

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