Verizon Business unveils its tech predictions for 2024.

Verizon Business unveils its tech predictions for 2024. (Source – Shutterstock).

Verizon Business shares its tech predictions for 2024

  • Verizon Business highlights key cybersecurity strategies for Asia-Pacific in 2024.
  • 2024 brings heightened cyber-risks with rapid tech adoption in Asia-Pacific.
  • Asia-Pacific tackles IT talent shortages and cybersecurity challenges in 2024.

As the Asia-Pacific region continues to lead as an early adopter of technology, its impact on the cybersecurity landscape in 2024 becomes increasingly significant. There are dynamic challenges and strategic responses that businesses in the region face amid the evolving cyberthreat environment. Focusing on issues like social engineering, cloud security, and the ongoing shortage of skilled IT professionals, particularly cybersecurity, let’s take a comprehensive look at cybersecurity in the Asia-Pacific region’s current – and future – state.

Tech Wire Asia spoke with Rob Le Busque, regional vice president of Asia Pacific at Verizon Business, for his insights while he shared data from Verizon to shed light on the heightened risks and the proactive measures available to counteract them. From data classification and cloud controls to collaborative efforts in talent development and innovative network architecture, the strategies discussed here aim to equip organizations with the knowledge and tools to navigate the complex cybersecurity landscape.

As the region continues to grow in its technological capabilities, this article serves as a critical guide for businesses to understand and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead in cybersecurity.

Tech adoption in the Asia-Pacific region, and how it will impact 2024

TWA: How will the Asia-Pacific region’s position as an early adopter of technology impact the cybersecurity landscape in 2024?

The Asia-Pacific region’s stance as an early and rapid adopter of technology positions it as a leader on the global stage, impacting the cybersecurity landscape in 2024 in distinct ways. This adoption represents both an opportunity and a risk. The opportunity stems from the region’s proven ability to adapt and evolve technologies swiftly, a skill that will be crucial in responding to external cybersecurity threats and evolving attack strategies.

However, this rapid adoption also introduces significant risks, particularly in cloud adoption and migration. Organizations must adopt a different mindset towards cybersecurity, focusing on developing strategies that protect against the unique challenges presented by these technologies.

TWA: What measures are being taken to combat the rise in sophisticated cyber threats in the APAC region, especially social engineering?

In the APAC region, significant efforts are being made to counteract sophisticated cyberthreats, especially social engineering. Verizon’s data indicates that such attacks, including pretexting, have more than doubled year-over-year, with the APAC experiencing a higher increase compared to other regions. Countries like Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and increasingly Australia, known for their strong IT governance, risk, and compliance, are enhancing their cybersecurity standards, setting an example for other companies and sectors.

Rob Le Busque, Regional Vice President of Asia Pacific at Verizon Business

Rob Le Busque, Regional Vice President of Asia Pacific at Verizon Business

Understanding the motives behind these attacks is essential for developing effective cybersecurity strategies. Although the frequency of ransomware attacks has stabilized, the cost per attack has nearly doubled, showing a refinement in cybercriminal tactics. This highlights the need for more sophisticated governance, risk, and compliance strategies that address these changing threats.

Recognizing these motives and trends is crucial in improving cybersecurity approaches. Another concern in the APAC region is the prevalence of cyber-espionage, with a significant focus on intellectual property theft.

“In our investigations, the motive associated with cyber espionage accounted for 39% of cases in this region, compared to just 1% in the United States. Thus, for Asia Pacific-based organizations, it is crucial to consider data classification and better secure what is most important to them,” says Rob.

TWA: How can businesses in the Asia-Pacific region prepare to face the increasing number and complexity of cyber threats as technology adoption grows?

First, effective data classification is vital. Businesses need to understand the types of data they hold, their importance, and their locations. Identifying critical data, such as personal information, payment details, or health records, is key. Organizations should develop a clear data classification model.

Second, implementing strong cloud controls is necessary. This includes solid governance and control strategies for cloud migration and usage, especially as application-based attacks, particularly on cloud applications, have increased recently. When migrating to the cloud, robust cybersecurity measures are crucial for a more secure IT architecture.

Third, consistent practice and preparation are crucial. Organizations should assume that a cyber-incident is inevitable and prepare to respond and recover effectively. This means regularly simulating and practicing responses to various cyber-events. Even companies with established simulation programs might find their real-world readiness lacking, as evidenced by a regional CIO rating their preparedness as low despite annual simulations.

Therefore, it’s important to practice not just as an IT issue, but as an organization-wide concern, necessitating a comprehensive business response.

APAC businesses rationalizing cloud deployments

TWA: What strategies should APAC businesses adopt in 2024 to rationalize their cloud deployments effectively?

This question is particularly fascinating as we witness the convergence of two significant trends: cloud optimization and the surge in generative AI, large language models, and innovative operating models. These latter technologies depend heavily on cloud computing resources.

Organizations must evolve from the initial ‘lift and shift’ method of simply moving data and applications to the cloud. The new focus should be refining the operational model, including managing cloud spending and governance. For example, cloud-based data storage significantly affects overall cloud costs. Implementing a strategic data purging policy is thus vital for any cloud strategy, considering its wider impact on cloud deployment effectiveness.

Moreover, security remains a paramount concern in cloud discussions. Transferring applications and workloads to the cloud does not relieve organizations of their security responsibilities. Organizations must maintain control over the security of their applications and data, which necessitates a comprehensive cloud security migration strategy.

TWA: Cloud cost management involves understanding and managing the costs and needs associated with cloud technology. How will the focus on reining costs influence how APAC businesses manage their cloud-based application deployments?

Key to cloud cost management is implementing an application review process. This process involves regularly assessing the relevance and use of cloud-based applications. Organizations transitioning to the cloud often find discrepancies in application usage, leading to inefficiencies. Addressing this might involve changing licensing models or making architectural adjustments.

Another important aspect is managing shadow IT. Due to the easy accessibility of cloud technology, departments like marketing or sales might independently acquire cloud services without IT department knowledge. Establishing a clear governance framework for cloud usage, defining permissions, and controlling privileged access is essential.

Understanding and managing the costs and needs associated with cloud technology.

Understanding and managing the costs and needs associated with cloud technology. (Generated with AI).

Lastly, the role of micro-segmentation in network architecture is crucial. It involves creating distinct access and control mechanisms for different users, improving data access and actions oversight. Without micro-segmentation, organizations often depend on log data analysis for understanding information flow, which is time-consuming and less efficient. Incorporating micro-segmentation can significantly aid in controlling cloud-related costs.

TWA: Shadow IT can pose security and compliance risks to an organization. Can you provide examples of cost-effective practices APAC businesses might implement for cloud deployment management in 2024?

Reviewing your storage and implementing a well-governed data purge policy is essential. This approach offers dual benefits: reducing cloud storage costs and enhancing security. The more data you have stored in the cloud, the greater your vulnerability. Therefore, if certain data and information are not needed, especially in the cloud, it’s wise to purge it.

Secondly, consider your network architecture, focusing on micro-segmentation or other architectural changes. These changes can introduce more refined methods for managing costs. By restructuring your network, you can achieve greater efficiency and potentially lower expenses associated with cloud services.

The demand for IT skills in businesses and the vision from Verizon Business

TWA: What initiatives are being taken to address the shortage of IT talent in the APAC region, particularly in cybersecurity?

The increase in cybersecurity threats underlines the need to develop IT skills, especially in cybersecurity, in the APAC region. Addressing this shortage involves several approaches:

First, a broader view of skills and experience in cybersecurity recruitment must be considered. Instead of focusing on traditional criteria like years of experience in specific roles, it’s important to value core skills such as event correlation, anomaly investigation, and data analysis, which might be transferable from other fields. This approach can help diversify the cybersecurity workforce.

Second, addressing the talent gap requires collaboration among service providers, customers, governments, and educational institutions. Creating shorter and alternative entry paths into the industry is essential. This approach includes traditional degrees and vocational training, micro-credentialing, and other ways to gain crucial skills and knowledge, allowing quicker integration into the industry and further development.

Addressing the shortage of IT talent in the APAC region.

Addressing the shortage of IT talent in the APAC region. (Image generated with AI).

For example, in Australia, the number of IT graduates annually is insufficient to meet industry demand. To match the need over the next decade, a significant increase in IT professionals is required, indicating that relying solely on traditional tertiary education is not enough. Innovative solutions are needed to enable more people to enter the IT industry.

TWA: How significant is the impact of the lack of technology talent on APAC businesses, and what are their plans to mitigate this challenge in 2024?

The solution to the challenge we’re facing lies in partnership. No single organization can tackle this issue alone. It requires a collaborative effort involving industry, education, and government across all regional jurisdictions. Together, we must identify ways to uplift and upskill the workforce.

The impact of this challenge is stark. For years, we’ve spoken about a ‘war on talent,’ and nowhere is this more pronounced than in the IT and cybersecurity sectors. The competition for talent here is intense and relentless. Organizations are increasingly adopting new strategies to retain staff in these areas, often leading to wage increases. While addressing this issue isn’t easy, fostering partnerships is crucial. Additionally, finding innovative ways to bring skills and capabilities into the marketplace is equally vital in navigating this challenge.

TWA: In what ways are businesses in the APAC region adapting to the ongoing challenge of finding skilled IT professionals, especially in security sectors?

At Verizon, we respond to this challenge through graduate intakes and partnerships with industry and educational institutions, enhancing our workforce capabilities. This approach is also seen in other organizations. A key adaptation for businesses is collaborating with service providers to augment and strengthen their IT and cybersecurity skills.

A recent business model in the APAC region is providing surge capacity in cybersecurity operations. Instead of continuous cybersecurity support, companies are increasingly seeking targeted assistance during high-activity periods. For example, a retailer in India might need heightened cybersecurity for their online platform only during peak months. This flexibility allows businesses to efficiently manage cybersecurity risks during critical times.

The growing trend of seeking adaptable, surge cybersecurity support reflects a shift in the market, and it’s a shift we at Verizon are ready and capable of addressing.

For Verizon, the focus this year is on two aspects of cybersecurity: preparation and maturity. So, strategically, if you’re not preparing and ensuring that your organization is well-organized, well-practiced, and well-prepared to respond to breach events, then that’s something you should focus on. If you’re not actively investing and focusing on increasing your overall cybersecurity maturity, then you should question where you’re spending your money today.

On the network side, it has become a significant part of the AI fabric. When you think about the architectural design and model of large language models, it is cloud-based and server-based. As a result, data in transit becomes more important than ever before.

In the last 12 months, we’ve seen an explosion in large data transits on our core backbones in the region. The demand for that is increasing exponentially. Therefore, another focus in 2024 for large and small organizations is the architecture and design of your core network, so that organizations can achieve their applications or AI objectives.