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by David Braue

Australian execs less involved in security than APAC counterparts as business interruption surges: Telstra

Feb 29, 20163 mins

Australian businesses were hit by business interruption from security breaches in 2015 at more than twice the rate of the previous year – but Australia is still getting off relatively easy, according to new Telstra security research that found the regional figure was nearly twice as high.

The Telstra 2016 Cyber Security Report surveyed 305 C-level executives and IT-security managers – 75 percent of whom came from Australia, with the remainder split between Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

“The majority of Australian and Asia-Pacific organisations are becoming more effective at defining their security strategies and executing their security plans,” the report noted, adding that effective execution was still being hindered by a shortage of skilled security staff as well as a lack of staff training and security awareness that was hindering adoption of security initiatives.

Australian respondents were more likely to cite those issues – as well as a lack of government regulations and policies and a lack of access control and compliance – as significant security challenges than their Asia-Pacific counterparts.

For example, 23.3 percent of Australian respondents said the lack of skilled staff was challenging or very challenging, while the Asia-Pacific figure was just 14.3 percent.

Some 30.2 percent of Australian companies saw the lack of government regulations and policies as being challenging or very challenging, compared to just 11.7 percent of APAC organisations.

This finding coincides with ongoing frustration amongst Australian organisations as the government continues to refine its cybersecurity policy after a draft version was rejected by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull late last year.

Conversely, Asia-Pacific organisations were far more frustrated with practical issues in security execution than their Australian counterparts. This included localisation and availability of security software – cited as challenging or very challenging by 63.7 percent of APAC respondents and 27.6 percent of Australian respondents – and access to required security tools, cited by 26.4 percent of Australian and 55.9 percent of APAC respondents.

Australian organisations were far behind their APAC counterparts when it came to developing information-security strategies, with 36 percent of Australian companies saying they had an effective strategy in place compared with 60 percent of APAC companies.

Much of this was due to continuing executive frustration with the requirements of good security practice and a lack of understanding about how to implement it. “Many cyber security measures rely on complex technical controls and many senior executives feel uncomfortable in understanding the security technology that supports the business,” the report noted.

Australian organisations were proving more effective at redistributing security responsibilities – with 61.8 percent saying the IT department had responsibility for cyber security compared with 83.1 percent of APAC organisations.

However, APAC organisations were proving more effective at collaboration: 71.4 percent of respondents said business line managers were also involved and 35.1 percent said C-level executives were involved. This was well ahead of Australia, where just 36.8 percent reported responsibility had been directed to business line managers and 18.9 percent to C-level executives.

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