THE LOCKDOWN in the Philippines has caused an acceleration towards cloud data protection as small banks lag behind in technology adoption compared to their Southeast Asian peers.

Kamal Brar, vice-president and general manager for Asia-Pacific and Japan for cloud data management company Rubrik, said in an online interview earlier this month that the country is behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of cloud data adoption.

“It’s usually the smaller-sized banks or smaller-sized organizations that are still lagging behind where we think would be acceptable compared to the ASEAN region,” he said.

He said financial technology companies and other startups have been ahead in terms of cloud adoption and some banks are “moving at a good pace,” but traditional organizations are still modernizing.

“The complexity for them is much higher. They don’t have the same nimble, agile approach as a startup. So I think they’re taking a more structured approach, but they do really see the need for it and they do wanna make some investments,” he said.

Mr. Brar said the pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption among those companies. Retail companies continue to modernize to ensure they are able to compete in e-commerce.

“With COVID (coronavirus disease 2019), what we’re seeing is customers are moving to the cloud. So when you have the emergence of cloud, very different type of application usage, where it’s social media or whether it’s IoT (Internet of Things), the type of data that’s being stored or being managed is very different from 20 years back.”

He said success in work-from-home operations would work best with employee training, in addition to data protection technology.

“I think (Philippine companies) can do better. We do have various facets of challenges they need to address. Firstly, there is a very strong following in the Philippines in open-source technologies… so I think leveraging the cloud is one really key to that. I think that’s an area that the Philippines continues to grow but it’s still an area that can do better,” he said.

“(The) Philippines still has very large complex enterprise systems in play…. Those companies are still early in the cloud motion or modernization so a lot of their systems are still not built to cater for some of the most sophisticated attacks that can exist in today’s environments.”

Worst-case scenarios for companies without data protection, he said, would create financial damage.

“If I’m a bank and I have a ransomware attack, and my ATMs are down, that’s a very severe impact from a financial standpoint. Consumers unable to access their money, and what would be worse is any type of data loss, you’d have a serious issue in terms of integrity of the data base or their core banking systems.”

The Philippines is experiencing a spike in data breaches. Data breach notifications received by the National Privacy Commission at universities and colleges alone reached 19 in the first six months of the year, exceeding the 18 notifications in full-year 2019. Student portals of Far Eastern University and Polytechnic University of the Philippines were hacked last month. — Jenina P. Ibañez