INTERNET SECURITY firm Kaspersky said companies in Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, are starting to prioritize investing in their cybersecurity capabilities, with many planning to raise their IT security budgets over the next three years.

“It is encouraging to see that local companies are starting to prioritize IT security. In fact, our research showed that, on average, businesses in the region are currently spending $14.4M (P720 million) to build their cybersecurity capabilities,” Kaspersky General Manager for Southeast Asia Yeo Siang Tiong said in a statement e-mailed to reporters on Monday.

He added that 84% of the professionals that Kaspersky surveyed last year “confirmed plans to increase the budget for this area in the next three years.”

He said the planned budget increase for IT security is important at this time when networks are becoming more advanced and complex.

“Thanks to breakthrough technologies like Internet of Things, 5G, and the rapid adoption of Industry 4.0,” he also said.

Kaspersky’s 2019 survey with nearly 300 IT business leaders in the region also showed that 34% of the companies are worried about “data loss and being exposed to a targeted attack.

The IT security firm also said 31% of them were concerned about electronic leakage of data from internal systems.

“Another 22% of the survey respondents admitted their distress towards the possibility of surveillance or espionage by competitors,” it said.

Kaspersky said two in 10 companies in the region admitted that they are also concerned about identifying and remedying vulnerabilities in IT systems they utilize.

It said improper use of IT resources by employees and incidents affecting IT infrastructure hosted by third parties are of critical concern to some 18% of companies in the region.

“The past few years have shown and proved the ugly and costly aftermaths of a successful cyberattack. From the $81M (P4.050 billion) heist against a central bank to a data breach leaking names of HIV cases, our past offers timeless lessons on cybersecurity which organizations and businesses in all shapes and sizes should definitely learn from,” Mr. Yeo noted. — Arjay L. Balinbin