Photo - Dato' Seri George Chang, Vice President for Southeast Asia & Hong Kong, Fortinet.
The dual goals of doing business more cost effectively and managing employees' work-life balance have fuelled new trends in IT technology adoption such as cloud computing and bring-your-own-device (BYOD), said security and unified threat management specialist Fortinet Malaysia.
Fortinet commissioned analyst firm Frost & Sullivan's new study 'Changing IT Security Perception and Adoption Trends' to gauge security management by 300 senior IT executives in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong, said Fortinet vice president for Southeast Asia & Hong Kong Dato' Seri George Chang, who presented the Malaysia findings together with Frost & Sullivan's associate director of ICT Practice, Edison Yu, and national agency Cyber Security Malaysia's chief executive officer, Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab.
By examining the respondents' approach to security, convergence, services and data centre, the study highlights a clear challenge for the industry to look beyond security as just IT, said Chang.
"IT security is already being seen as a business enabler, which suggests a more holistic approach is being adopted," he said. "More CEOs are now involved with IT security spending while CFOs retain a strong influence on the process."
Frost & Sullivan's Yu added that organisations are thinking beyond mere compliance and the trend to using security as an additional business enabler is apparent.
"In addition, the link between security and business seems to focus on customer satisfaction rather than just information security," he said. "The trend of technology as business enabler has increased in the last three to four years in the region especially among the larger organisations."
Malaysia ahead in technology as enabler
"Five years ago, security was about compliance. Now, CEOs and the c-suite in general have adopted a matured approach and see technology overall as a business enabler," added Yu.
"In addition, security is seen as 'important' mainly for five reasons - to secure data, protect against external attacks, ensure confidentiality, as being critical to the overall business and to bolster reliability," he said, "Respondents [16.5 percent] also see the role of the data centre as a security command post, which is an interesting emerging trend."
"CIOs need to speed up the way they speak to their CEOs by making them more aware of security and threat awareness," said Yu. "IT has shifted from information to operational technology."
Fortinet's Chang, said, "This trend [technology as business enabler] is especially heartening in Malaysia, which registers the highest level of attaching importance to security among the four countries surveyed."
"Many of the Malaysia findings are in synch with what we see among organisations in a more developed country," he said. "I believe Malaysia is only a year behind in terms of this type of security adoption: the industry here is clearly taking security very seriously as denoted by the seniority of people getting involved in IT security and technology spending."
'In addition, all countries surveyed [65 percent of respondents] were now looking for more converged security, including unified threat management [UTM] platforms," he said. "A converged solution is seen to deliver higher performance, compliance and security levels as well as being easier to manage."
"The onus on security providers is clearly to integrate such facets more intelligently into a converged platform as the next step forward for the industry," said Chang.
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.