While the Philippines continues to be a top choice for outsourcing, one of the primary concerns of international companies is the state of cybersecurity within the country. The rapid growth of the Philippines as a digital economy has led to the accumulation of valuable data and financial transactions, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals worldwide.
International firms are interested in investing and expanding their operations in the Philippines but are hesitant due to concerns about their critical data and information security.
According to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the government agency responsible for advancing the national ICT agenda, the Philippines ranked fourth among countries with the highest number of cyberattacks, recording approximately 3,000 in the country between 2020 and 2022 alone.
In a recent Statista survey conducted between August and September 2022 involving 6,700 business leaders assessing the cybersecurity readiness of companies in the Philippines, most respondents (37 per cent) were in the formative stage. The remaining respondents were at progressive (30 per cent), mature (27 per cent), and beginner (6 per cent) stages of cybersecurity readiness.
The Philippines predominantly consists of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which, in contrast to larger enterprises, often lack the equivalent level of digital security measures.
This vulnerability increases the risk of cyber-attacks on SMBs. Cybersecurity threats are particularly challenging for them because the consequences are more devastating. Unfortunately, some end up closing permanently within months of an attack. Other catastrophic effects include:
- Financial loss
- Impact on business operations
- Damaged reputation
Dealing with cyberattacks is expensive, especially for SMBs that need more budget to cover them. They are liable for resolving any immediate damages and repairs after an attack. Worse, they need to pay ransom in case of a ransomware attack, which denies a user or organisation access to their files until they pay the ransom.
In addition, SMBs also need to pay for professionals who will help them respond to and recover from a cyberattack, such as IT security consultants, lawyers, and public relations.
Impact on business operations
An unwanted cyberattack can have a detrimental impact on business operations. The incident management process, which includes assessing damages and getting the situation under control, can divert the attention of the business owner or IT manager from other responsibilities, hindering business growth.
Furthermore, operations may halt if the attack compromises web-based applications. Attacks can also affect the morale of team members, mainly if lax security practices have contributed to the attack.
An attack can severely impact reputation. Since attacks target the company’s critical data, like customer information, consumers may hesitate to engage. Investors can view being a cyberattack victim as a sign of carelessness. Moreover, a damaged reputation may discourage qualified applicants from seeking employment with the affected business.
These debilitating consequences should warn small to medium-sized businesses to take cyber security threats seriously. However, some barriers prevent them from implementing good cybersecurity practices. These are:
- Insufficient staff
- Not knowing where to begin
- Budget constraints
- Downplaying the severity of the risk
One of the critical challenges SMBs face is the need for dedicated staff with a specialised focus on IT security. Due to the multifaceted nature of their operations, they need to allocate time and resources to a wide range of competing demands, making it challenging to prioritise cybersecurity and devote the necessary resources to it.
Not knowing where to begin
Managing cybersecurity risks can be daunting for owners. Despite the growing dangers and potential consequences, some believe they do enough to protect their business. However, they are missing critical vulnerabilities and do not know where to begin.
Budget constraints can prevent small to medium-sized businesses from investing in effective cybersecurity measures. It also prevents them from prioritising cybersecurity over other competing business demands, putting them at a higher risk of cyberattacks. With limited annual turnover, they may need more financial capacity to outsource the task to experts.
Downplaying the severity of the risk
Downplaying the severity of the risks and consequences of a cyber incident can lead to a lack of preparedness and a failure to implement adequate measures to mitigate the risks. Failing to fully grasp the potential impact of a cyber incident and the amount of time it may take to recover from such an event can make SMBs lax, believing that they are unlikely targets.
What can small businesses do?
Security Awareness Training can assist small to medium-sized businesses avoid cyberattacks and minimise harm if they do occur. Since the staff computers are the company’s first line of defence, one way to strengthen protection against threats is to educate the employees about the risk of cyberattacks.
Cybercriminals frequently gain entry to systems and networks by deceiving employees into providing them access. Conduct training sessions that demonstrate to employees how to recognise compromised computers, suspicious emails and websites and teach them the best practices. These efforts will help create a more secure work environment and prevent employees from falling for phishing attempts or other scams.
SMBs can also ask for help from companies that know the ins and outs of cybersecurity. DysrupIT can help with bigger-picture approaches to bolster the cyber security readiness of small to medium-sized businesses.
DysrupIT, powered by SolCyber, removes all the complexity and burden of getting the business environment cyber-resilient, giving the owners and managers time to focus on operations. SMBs can protect themselves from cyber threats through this subscription-based offer, which can start running in under 30 days.
Priced at a maximum of USD$57 per user per month, owners of small to medium-sized businesses can sleep better at night, knowing they are protected and safe from cyber threats.
SMBs may continue with their regular activities secure in the knowledge that with DysrupIT’s cybersecurity specialists at the helm, they are one step ahead of complex cyber threats.
With an impressive professional background in cybersecurity, Elizabeth has held key executive positions throughout Asia-Pacific and Japan. Her extensive experience has played a pivotal role in the exceptional growth and success of DysrupIT. Her invaluable expertise has transformed the company into a thriving multi-million-dollar global enterprise.