Australian enterprises are leading Asia Pacific in adoption of zero trust

Raymond Maisano, Head of Australia and New Zealand at Cloudflare

Cloudflare, Inc. found that company security is keeping 86% of Australian IT, cyber security decision-makers and influencers awake amidst a rise in cyber security attacks globally.

The Cloudflare study surveyed 1,006 technicians, cyber security decision-makers and influencers at enterprise organizations across Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

Cloudflare examines cyber security adoption in APAC

The research findings found that the COVID-19 pandemic had had a significant business impact on three in five (60%) Australian respondents.

In response to the trying times, many of the respondents increased their investment in Information Technologies security measures like Zero Trust to keep out cyber threats.

The research showed that Australian organizations struggled most with IT security challenges.

According to the research, Australian enterprises experienced the most significant IT security challenges in the Asia Pacific due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost half (48%) of Australian respondents struggled to maximize remote workers’ productivity without exposing them or their devices to new risks which is a more significant portion compared to India (39%), Japan (39%), Malaysia (38%), and Singapore (26%).

According to the survey, Australia lags behind other countries in the region to employ in-house Information Technologies and cybersecurity experts to facilitate handling these issues.

Results show 45% of locals acknowledged their internal teams lacked the expertise or time to effectively adopt the best IT security practices, compared to a regional average of 36%.

More than one-quarter (28%) of Australians surveyed could not control what devices could connect to corporate resources on their network. That is significantly higher when compared to its Asian Pacific counterparts such as Malaysia (20%), Singapore (18%), and Japan (14%).

Cyber security attacks are reportedly on the rise

Six in ten (62%) Australian respondents said their organization had experienced more security attacks in 2021 when compared to the previous year.

These included phishing attempts (47%), a data breach (46%), and ransomware attacks (45%).

In response to the increasing cyber threat landscape and the COVID 19 pandemic, which has halted conventional home-to-office work routine, 93% changed their IT security procedures. 

Australia leads APAC adoption of Zero Trust

It is safe to say that Zero Trust is no longer a concept, as 88% of Australian respondents reported their organizations had adopted the approach.

More than one-quarter (28%) were rolling out this security strategy in the past 12 months.

According to the research, Australia has a substantial lead on Zero Trust adoption in the Asia Pacific compared to Malaysia (75%), Singapore (65%), India (62%), and Japan (43%).

Zero Trust approach to security had a significant impact on limiting data breaches (47%), flexibility to extend secure third-party access (39%), and improved network visibility (37%).

The Zero Trust approach also enhanced employee experience with easier, more secure, and faster access to applications (37%) and prevention of malware propagation (33%).

The future of work is flexible

The vast majority (94%) of Australian respondents said their organization would be implementing a combination of return-to-office and work-from-home arrangements.

86% agreed their workforce would be more mobile in the future.

As such, the need to maximize worker productivity while working remotely, without exposing them or their devices to new security risks was at the core front for 38% of Australian respondents who reported to have implemented the Zero Trust adoption.

Raymond Maisano, the Head of ANZ at Cloudflare, said that the rapid shift to remote work had made the corporate perimeter more challenging to control and exposed local businesses.

“Australian organizations have welcomed Zero Trust over the past few years.”

“However, the latest ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report highlighted that there is still a long way to go, with cybercriminals exploiting gaps in IT security strategies.”

“While working remotely, IT departments have had to manage hard and conflicting settings across VPNs, firewalls, proxies, and identity providers, while fending off cyber threats.”

“Zero Trust is a journey for organizations, and while our research indicates that the intent is there, most Australian businesses have just begun to roll out this approach to IT security.”

“One of the biggest challenges is finding the right talent to fill the technology skills gap.”

“Organizations are therefore required to find the balance between outsourcing and investing in existing talent and resources to secure hybrid workforces.”

“As lockdown restrictions ease and employees log on from anywhere. Shifting to Zero Trust access for every application is the only way to secure today’s network resources.”

A Zero Trust approach has been critical in supporting Canva’s rapid, international growth.

Jim Tyrrell, Head of Infrastructure at Canva had these insights.

“As we embrace hybrid working to enable remote coact at scale is a priority, implementing a Zero Trust strategy to focus on value addition and expanding into new markets.”

In October 2020, Cloudflare launched Cloudflare One, a Zero Trust, network-as-a-service solution for enterprises to secure the existing networks, connect remote users, offices, and corresponding data centers along with other resources necessary to operate daily.

Cloudflare One allows enterprises to replace broad security perimeters with one-to-one verification upon every request to every resource, no matter where or who the users are.