As 2021 unfolds, it is apparent that TM ONE, the enterprise & public sector solutions arm of the country’s Telekom Malaysia (‘TM’) Group, has embarked on a collaborative platform of initiatives to advance cybersecurity capabilities for Malaysia’s enterprise and public sectors.
Taking place amid a Covid-19 inspired tidal wave of cloud computing and digitalisation, TM ONE’s array of collaborations are anchored on heightening trust and security, according to commentaries from Imri Mohktar, TM group CEO and Ahmad Taufek Omar, TM ONE executive vice president & CEO.
Both have participated in partnerships, which include, for example, a signing some months ago that saw two national players – Malaysia and Korea – combining to offer advanced managed security services for the ASEAN market: FNS Value Co., Limited (FNSV) of Korea’s memorandum of collaboration appointed TM ONE as the sole distributor of FNSV Blockchain Secure Authentication (BSA) products and solutions.
This particular move offers the world’s first patented solution based on blockchain technology which eschews the use of a password for authentication: essentially, another step to securing online businesses.
Coupled with the fragile state of economies, the shift to cloud is obvious, and confirmed by latest analyst findings: Canalys noted a record-high US$41.8 billion global spend on cloud computing in the first quarter of this year, which is almost 11 billion higher than the corresponding quarter in 2020. This reflects the upward trend by organisations’ use of data analytics, data centre consolidation, application migration, and service delivery, etc.
Multiple c-level industry gatherings in recent years regularly found cloud and infrastructure security concerns cited as major stumbling blocks to digital adoption.
However, the tide is turning. According to the latest IDC Worldwide Semi-annual Security Spending Guide, spending on security hardware, services, and software in Asia Pacific is expected to reach USD 23.1 billion in 2021 – an increase of 12.6% over the previous year.
IDC also expects investment on security related products and services to grow at a five-year CAGR of 13.3% over the forecast period (2019-24) and reach US $35 billion by 2024. This growth is driven by increased cloud adoption, massive WFH migration, and transformation projects by enterprises to overcome operational challenges.
Fresh on the heels of Malaysia’s recently announced 10-year sprint to revitalise the nation’s digital aspirations (MyDigital), it is imperative to tap the potential that cloud and digitalisation offers for recovery, according to TM ONE’s Ahmad Taufek Omar.
One component of MyDigital expects the digital economy to contribute 22.6% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025. Phase 1 of MyDigital (2021 to 2022) in particular focuses on strengthening the foundation to digital adoption.
Explaining the background behind recent moves such as the slew of signings are to fortify and enhance digital trust, noted Ahmad Taufek.
‘Taking transformation forward’ is TM ONE’s clarion call. The bedrock for recovery has to be laid in 2021, and the key lever is people-led digitalisation especially of the processes and behaviours that holds maximum ROI potential.
He detailed the capabilities offered by TM ONE CYDEC, which continue to see new collaborations; another example of which is a master service agreement with Spanish multinational telco Telefónica Tech through Telefónica Global Solutions.
CYDEC (Cyber Defence Centre) is defined as ‘a portfolio of cyber security capabilities, security products and services powered by TM’s Global Security Operation Centre (GSOCs) and a robust cybersecurity platform’.
Tapping on TM’s network and global intelligence on cyber threats, CYDEC aims to respond swiftly to any cyber security threats anywhere and anytime, he says.
Furthermore, CYDEC offers ‘intelligent Managed Security Services (MSS) utilising new technologies such as predictive analytics, machine learning, blockchain and advanced cyber security services to protect customers on premise or on cloud and to deliver innovative security services for digital risk management’.
To meet regulatory requirements outlined by Bank Negara Malaysia (Malaysia’s National Bank – BNM), TM ONE CYDEC also offers cybersecurity solutions for cyber defence and cyber risks management towards full RMiT compliance for data centres, cloud and security services.
This dynamic will continue to appeal to industries at the forefront of driving security spending in 2021. These include the banking, telecommunications, federal/central and state/local government sector since these are more readily targeted by threat actors for fraud, cybercrime, and breaches.’
TM Group CEO Imri Mokhtar pointed out some of the reasons behind the drive to boost security offerings commenting that ‘TM through TM ONE is committed to securing Digital Malaysia with transformative cybersecurity solution’, and that ‘partnership[s] highlight the importance of consolidating cybersecurity efforts to ensure efficiency and effectiveness for all our customers.’
He added: “TM ONE can offer advanced cybersecurity services for businesses that require enhanced protection and compliance with regulatory requirements such as Risk Management in Technology (RMiT) and Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). We have made significant investment and effort to strengthen our cybersecurity products and solutions under our TM ONE Cyber Defence Centre or CYDEC programme.”
During another partnership signing in February this year (one which saw the appointment of TM ONE and its subsidiary PT VADS Indonesia as the sole distributor of blockchain secure authentication technology in Indonesia, Ahmad Taufek said: “We believe that BSA solution is the answer to security issues of digital transactions. This is essential as almost all transactions are done digitally in the current business environment and users are looking for more secure and advanced login methods. By using BSA, consumers will no longer have to remember their passwords to perform transactions on any devices. “
He added that it also solved other cybersecurity concerns such as credential attack and hijack. Currently, biometrics in most mobile apps only allow users to perform simple functions such as checking their account balance but not for transaction approval.
‘The path that must be taken’
TM ONE’s CYDEC campaign is a broad scale enhancement of the path to taking transformation forward – sometimes humorously referred to in CxO circles as – ‘the path that must be taken’!
On a more sober leadership note, the World Economic Forum’s new Principles for Board Governance of Cyber Risk Report follows its warning that cybersecurity failure is a “clear and present danger” and critical global threat. WEF also concluded with six principles to support board oversight of a cyber-resilient organization:
- Cybersecurity is a strategic business enabler;
- Understand the economic drivers and impact of cyber risk;
- Align cyber-risk management with business needs;
- Ensure organisational design supports cybersecurity;
- Incorporate cybersecurity expertise into board governance;
- Encourage systemic resilience and collaboration
The report also highlights 31% of companies now experience a cyberattack at least once a day and that more than 1,000 companies globally have seen their data leaked as the result of a 2020 ransomware attack. This is exacerbated by the rising trend of data exfiltration, which tops encryption as the primary attack tactic for cybercriminals.
TM has said, “We are fully aware that cybersecurity is always among the top priorities for businesses, organisations and government. Towards this end, we are excited to partner with well-known global players. Each partnership is another milestone for TM where as a digital services provider and enabler for Malaysia’s Digital Nation aspirations, we ensure ‘Trust’ by promoting security and resilience through our products and solutions such as Blockchain Secure Authentication (BSA).”
Somewhat akin to how the banking industry has over time persuaded us that money enjoys greater security in their vaults than in our homes, industry leaders are now assuring us that data – the digital age’s currency – is now far more secure in their ‘cloud banks’.
Ahmad Taufek concludes that increasing awareness of the consequences of a data breach – such as repetitional damage, loss of customer confidence, potentially costly litigation and regulatory fines – are pushing more organisations to look to trusted partners to secure the complete cycle of their data and processes.