By Suk Hua Lim, country manager, Palo Alto Networks, Malaysia
The allocation of a specific ‘cyber security budget’ to protect the country’s critical infrastructure and support skill development in the sector must become a key focus area for the Malaysian government.
Second, a focus on cyber security awareness programmes is critical, especially considering the continued acceleration of MyDigital initiatives.
Last year, we witnessed a series of economic stimulus measures tabled under the MyDigital initiatives, including plans to improve Malaysia’s 5G infrastructure and to the adoption of cloud services by government institutions.
However, the recent slew of cyberattacks on state owned organisations in Malaysia have cast a shadow over the country’s cybersecurity preparedness.
Allocation of additional funds to fortify Malaysia's digital borders and mobilise the cybersecurity workforce will send a strong signal of intent towards addressing the problem.
Additionally, hybrid work models have resulted in new avenues for hackers to exploit cybersecurity vulnerabilities, especially in SMEs that have limited resources to build their cybersecurity defences.
Cybersecurity in SMEs
The ongoing global and regional geopolitical tensions are also expected to compound the magnitude of the issue. Therefore, the budget allocation should also pay more attention to the expansion of cybersecurity in SMEs, such as fostering security innovations, enhancing cybersecurity R&D, and nurturing cybersecurity talent.
It is crucial to increase SME and citizen awareness of cybersecurity issues, to advance the cybersecurity ecosystem, and to solidify Malaysia's position as a global leader in this domain.