Published on November 8, 2023, 11:26 pm

Southeast Asia has seen a significant rise in cybersecurity compliance and regulation in response to the increasing frequency, sophistication, and severity of cyberattacks. Businesses in the region have faced numerous challenges during the pandemic, with 75% reporting falling victim to at least one successful email attack in the past year. The recovery costs for these attacks can exceed USD$1 million, highlighting the importance of cybersecurity measures.

Countries across Southeast Asia are updating their legislation to address cybersecurity concerns and regulate how companies handle and process personal data. It is crucial for businesses to stay up to date with these regulations and ensure they are taking appropriate measures to protect their networks and data.

In Singapore, the government launched the Safer Cyberspace Master Plan in 2020 to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity capabilities. Initiatives like the Cybersecurity Act and Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) provide a legal framework for cybersecurity and data protection. Singapore also recently enhanced fines under the PDPA, allowing fines of up to SGD$1 million or 10% of a company’s annual turnover for breaches.

Thailand introduced its first personal data protection law, the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), in June 2022. This law outlines companies’ obligations when collecting and processing personal data. Thailand has been affected by malicious cyberattacks, including ransomware and phishing, making it crucial for businesses to protect customer data or face civil liability, fines, or even criminal charges.

In Malaysia, the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) was established in 2020 to oversee cybersecurity efforts. The government introduced the Personal Data Protection Act and Digital Signature Act to regulate data protection. Malaysia experienced high-profile data breaches last year which prompted plans to amend their Personal Data Protection Act.

Indonesia also faced high-profile data breaches leading up to its enactment of the Personal Data Protection Law (PDP) in September last year. Modeled after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the PDP regulates all forms of data processing and imposes fines of up to 2% of annual revenue or six years of jail time for non-compliance.

As we move forward, it is essential for businesses in Southeast Asia to recognize that cybercrime remains a significant threat. Being aware of compliance issues and relevant regulations is vital, but taking action to comply is even more critical.

To ensure compliance, businesses should protect their emails and provide training to their teams to recognize phishing attacks. Implementing a zero-trust approach with multifactor authentication (MFA) can add an extra layer of protection. It is also crucial to secure web applications using a Web Application Firewall (WAF) and regularly back up critical systems.

Monitoring, detecting, and responding to cyber threats in real-time requires deploying advanced security solutions like Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and having a dedicated Security Operations Centre (SOC). These measures will help businesses maintain compliance with prevailing cybersecurity legislation while ensuring the safety and security of their data.

In conclusion, businesses across Southeast Asia must prioritize cybersecurity compliance in response to the increasing frequency and severity of cyberattacks. By staying informed about relevant regulations and implementing robust security measures, organizations can mitigate risks and safeguard their networks and data.

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