6 in 10 SMBs suffer cyber attack

    Majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Philippines suffered a cyber incident in the last 12 months.

    These attacks led to more than $1 million lost revenues for some businesses. A great proportion reported to have lost customer information.

    These were the findings of technology firm Cisco in the study titled Cybersecurity for SMBs: Asia Pacific Businesses Prepare for Digital Defense, which surveyed over 3,700 business and information technology leaders across 14 markets in Asia Pacific, including 158 respondents in Philippines.

    The report said 57 percent SMBs in Philippines suffered a cyber incident in the past year and as a result, 73 percent lost customer information to the hands of malicious actors.

    The report said this is making SMBs more apprehensive about cybersecurity risks, with 82 percent saying they are more worried about cybersecurity now than they were 12 months ago, and 89 percent saying they feel exposed to cyber threats.

    The survey highlighted that SMBs saw a myriad of ways in which attackers tried to infiltrate their systems. Malware attacks, which affected 81 percent of SMBs in Philippines, topped the charts, followed by phishing, with 78 percent saying they experienced such attacks in the past year.

    Nearly one in two or 49 percent SMBs in Philippines that suffered a cyber attack highlighted cybersecurity solutions not being adequate to detect or prevent the attack as the number one reason for these incidents. Meanwhile, 13 percent attributed not having cybersecurity solutions in place as the top factor.

    These incidents are having a tangible impact on business. Cisco report said 28 percent of SMBs in Philippines that suffered cyber incidents in the past 12 months said these cost the business $500,000 or more, with 10 percent cost was $1 million or more.

    “Over the past 18 months, SMBs have leveraged technology to continue to operate and serve their customers even as they tackled the implications of the pandemic. This has seen an acceleration in digitalization of SMBs across Philippines. As SMBs become more digital, they also become a more attractive a target for malicious actors, not least because digitalized businesses have an expanded attach surface that hackers can target. In addition, digitalized SMBs generate more data, which the malicious actors put a high price on. All of this is fueling a critical need for them to invest in solutions and capabilities to ensure they are safeguarding themselves on the cybersecurity front,” said Robin Llamas, Cisco Philippines officer in-charge, managing director.

    Cisco’s study found that while SMBs in Philippines are more worried about cybersecurity risks and challenges, they are also taking a planned approach to understand and improve their cybersecurity posture through strategic initiatives.

    According to the study, 77 percent of Philippines’ SMBs have completed scenario planning and/or simulations for potential cybersecurity incidents in the past 12 months

    The study highlighted that 82 percent of Philippines’ SMBs have increased their investment in cybersecurity solutions since the start of the pandemic, with 37 percent increasing investment by more than 5 percent.

    SMBs are also increasing their investments in areas like compliance or monitoring tools, talent, training, and insurance.