Building Trusted, Secure and Ethical Digital Environment for Malaysian SMEs / Membangun Persekitaran Digital yang Dipercayai, Selamat dan Beretika untuk PKS Malaysia

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The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) specifically sets out to map the importance of cybersecurity, listing it under one of the six main thrusts of the blueprint; to build trusted, secure and ethical digital environment. Cybersecurity sets the foundation from which businesses and enterprises can operate and grow in a safe and secure digital environment.

New working arrangement in the new norm, i.e. working from home, has also contributed to the surge in cyberattacks. Most SMEs utilise a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) approach, which significantly exposes valuable data and information to cyberattacks and various malicious forms of intrusion. SMEs bear a brunt of these attacks. 

In 2020, Malaysia recorded 6,512 cybersecurity incidents. In the period between January to May 2021, the number of incidents recorded stood at 4,615, representing an almost one-fold increase in threats and incidents comparatively. Cybercrimes have also shown an upward trend. According to the  Royal Malaysian Police statistics, in 2019, the number of cybercrimes reported was 11,875 cases, with RM498 million in terms of losses. Last year, the number of cases increased to 14,229, with total losses of RM413 million. In the first quarter of this year, the number of cases reported was 4,327 and the losses involved were RM 77 million.

As the world grapples with the effects brought about by the pandemic, malicious attacks and serious data breaches are also increasing at an alarming rate, compounding the situation and putting into sharp focus the criticality of having a robust cybersecurity system in place. According to Deloitte, unseen (previously undocumented) malware or methods employed by hackers and cyber attackers have risen 30 percent during the pandemic as opposed to 20 percent pre-pandemic.

SMEs contribute a large percentage to our overall GDP, 38.9 percent in 2019 while the digital economy contributed 19.1 percent in the same period. Thus it is imperative that we must ensure that the appropriate safeguards are in place. Cybersecurity adoption for SMEs and as a whole, is no longer an option but a necessity.

To put it in numbers:

  • 84 percent of SMEs in Malaysia have been compromised in one way or another by cyber threat incidents.
  • 76 percent SMEs have suffered more than one attack.

Cognizant of this situation, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the nation’s lead agency in digital transformation, in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) and SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) have set out to develop and implement the MATRIX Cybersecurity for SMEs (MATRIX). This programme, launched on 28 June 2021 by Deputy Prime Minister, Senior Minister for Security and Minister of Defence YB Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob during Cyber Defence & Security Exhibition And Conference (CYDES) 2021, aims to boost cybersecurity adoption and implementation amongst SMEs from all sectors in Malaysia. 

MATRIX is the first-of-its-kind in Malaysia and the region as it is designed specifically to facilitate acceleration of SME cybersecurity adoption. This collaborative programme between MDEC, NACSA, SME Corp and Malaysia’s cybersecurity industry partners is a customised programme that is designed to fit with the DNA of SMEs. MATRIX will bridge the gap in cybersecurity adoption and as a result, ensures that businesses can continue to operate in a mitigated and safer environment.

Echoing the importance of this initiative, NACSA, the national lead agency for cybersecurity, via its Chief Executive, Ir. Md Shah Nuri Md Zain, said, “The MATRIX programme is established to address current cybersecurity challenges faced by the SMEs. MATRIX will be supporting one of its five strategic pillars and protecting SME businesses which is the foundation of national economy and future economy. With the vast growing digital economy, cyberattacks will multiply with higher business impact. SMEs will be the biggest target due to the preparedness with lack of resources and expertise to manage cybersecurity operation. MATRIX can definitely manage those challenges and it will be a sustainable approach as digital adoption will be a journey.” 

A robust cybersecurity system will integrate the virtual and physical spaces securely, resulting in a balanced economic advancement which resonates with our vision of Malaysia 5.0, a nation that is deeply integrated with technology, providing equitable digital opportunities to the people and businesses. It is also in line with Malaysia’s National Cybersecurity Strategy.

The MATRIX programme will also accelerate the journey of digital transformation and enhance the cybersecurity experience through two key value propositions:

  • Simple – Easy to adopt and cost-effective with minimum supervision
  • Smarter – Visibility by staying ahead of threats and scalable with business

The MATRIX programme has also taken into consideration the challenges faced by SMEs when it comes to adoption of cybersecurity measures i.e. lack of funds and resources, limited access to expertise and tools, and the complexity of deployment and operation. It sets out to  assists SMEs end-to-end, identifying the potential gaps in cybersecurity, the priorities and offering a cost-effective measure.

MATRIX utilises a three-pronged strategy to mitigate and prevent instances of cyberattacks. First, it provides a 24-hour cybersecurity surveillance to discover and flag attacks to critical business operations. Secondly, it will provide critical asset protection, deploying the measures against attacks on servers. And thirdly, it continuously assesses the vulnerability and gaps as the threat of cyberattacks evolve.   

The rapid growth of ICT and technology sovereignty bring with it a tremendous opportunity for Malaysia’s cyber-security industry. IDC reported that cybersecurity spending for Malaysia reached RM2.6 billion (US$627 million) in 2019 and is expected to exceed RM4 billion (US$1 billion) mark by 2024. 

For the next five years, it is expected to remain robust and will see steady growth at the rate of 12.5 percent (CAGR). This is more than twice of the overall ICT spending in the country which stood at 5.7 percent for the same period.

As cybersecurity is a domain that is continuously evolving and improving, with new technologies, processes, and methods, it will continue to expand the in-flow of investments and accelerate the growth of Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem. At present, the local cybersecurity industry partners that have joined the MATRIX programme include TIME dotcom Berhad, NetAssist (M) Sdn Bhd, PERNEC Technologies Sdn Bhd, DNSVault Sdn Bhd, Securemetric Technology Sdn Bhd and Tecforte Sdn Bhd.

With so much at stake, not only must we be vigilant but also have the corresponding counter-measure in place. To learn more of the MATRIX Cybersecurity for SMEs, go to: http://mdec.my/matrix     

MDEC will also be kicking off its second edition of the highly anticipated and successful Malaysia Tech Month (MTM) on 29 July 2021. MTM is a month-long curation of electrifying digital and technology keynotes, workshops, discussion panels and business-matching sessions. It will feature distinguished group of local and international industry speakers and investors to share their expert thoughts and experiences in 4IR-driven digital economy. The MDEC Digital Adoption Ecosystems division will be curating a week-long series of events at MTM. To find out how you can participate, log on to: https://mdec.my/mtm2021


Rangka Tindakan Ekonomi Digital Malaysia (MyDIGITAL) secara khusus telah memetakan kepentingan keselamatan siber apabila menyenaraikannya di  bawah salah satu daripada enam teras utama untuk membina persekitaran digital yang boleh dipercayai, selamat dan beretika. Cybersecurity menetapkan asas bagi membolehkan perniagaan pelbagai peringkat dapat beroperasi dan berkembang dalam persekitaran digital yang selamat dan terjamin.

Pengaturan kerja dalam norma baharu, iaitu bekerja dari rumah juga telah menyumbang kepada peningkatan serangan siber. Sebilangan besar Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) menggunakan pendekatan “Bawa Peranti Anda Sendiri”  sekaligus mendedahkan data dan maklumat penting kepada serangan siber yang berbahaya. PKS menghadapi serangan ini.

Pada tahun lepas, Malaysia mencatatkan 6,512 insiden keselamatan siber. Bagi tempoh Januari hingga Mei 2021 pula, jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah sebanyak 4,615 sekaligus menunjukkan peningkatan hampir satu kali ganda. Jenayah siber juga mengalami trend yang meningkat apabila statistik Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) pada 2019 mendedahkan jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah 11,875 dengan kerugian berjumlah RM498 juta. Tahun lalu, ia melonjak kepada 14,229 serta membabitkan kerugian RM413 juta. Pada suku pertama tahun ini, jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah 4,327 dan kerugian yang dicatatkan sebanyak RM77 juta.

Ketika dunia masih bergelut dengan kesan pandemik COVID-19, serangan siber dan pelanggaran data yang serius juga turut membimbangkan. Ini menimbulkan pelbagai persoalan dan kritikan serta mewujudkan gesaan untuk memiliki sistem keselamatan siber yang kukuh. Menurut Deloitte, malware atau kaedah yang tidak dapat dilihat yang digunakan oleh penggodam telah meningkat 30 peratus semasa wabak berbanding 20 peratus sebelumnya.

PKS memberi sumbangan yang besar kepada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) negara iaitu sebanyak 38.9 peratus pada 2019 sementara ekonomi digital menyumbang 19.1 peratus bagi tempoh sama. Sehubungan itu, kita perlu memiliki ‘sistem perlindungan sewajarnya’ supaya PKS dan sektor ekonomi digital dapat terus beroperasi di sebalik ancaman keselamatan siber. Penerapan keselamatan siber untuk keseluruhan PKS bukan lagi pilihan tetapi kini telah menjadi keperluan.

Berikut merupakan fakta bernombor.

  • 84 peratus PKS di Malaysia pernah terlibat sekurang -kurangnya satu serangan siber atau insiden ancaman siber.
  • 76 peratus PKS mengalami lebih dari satu serangan.

Menyedari situasi ini, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) sebagai agensi utama peneraju transformasi ekonomi digital negara, bekerjasama dengan Agensi Keselamatan Siber Negara (NASCA) dan SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) untuk mengembangkan dan melaksanakan MATRIX Keselamatan Siber Untuk PKS (MATRIX). Program ini telah dilancarkan pada 28 Jun lalu oleh YAB Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yang ketika itu Menteri Kanan Pertahanan (Keselamatan) semasa Pameran dan Persidangan Keselamatan Siber & Keselamatan (CYDES) 2021. Ia bertujuan untuk meningkatkan penerapan dan pelaksanaan keselamatan siber di kalangan PKS tempatan membabitkan semua sektor.

MATRIX yang pertama di Malaysia dan rantau ini dirancang untuk memudahkan dan mempercepatkan penggunaan keselamatan siber di kalangan PKS. Kerjasama dengan rakan industri keselamatan siber tempatan ini dirancang supaya sesuai dengan cara operasi PKS. MATRIX akan merapatkan jurang penggunaan sistem keselamatan siber dan dan hasil yang dijangkakan ialah perniagaan dapat terus beroperasi dalam persekitaran yang lebih selamat.

Menyuarakan betapa pentingnya inisiatif ini, Ketua Eksekutif NASCA, Ir. Md Shah Nuri Md Zain mengatakan, “Program MATRIX dibentuk untuk menangani cabaran keselamatan siber yang dihadapi oleh PKS dan mikro.  MATRIX akan menyokong salah satu daripada lima tonggak strategiknya bagi melindungi perniagaan PKS dan mikro yang menjadi asas ekonomi negara dan ekonomi masa depan. Berikutan ekonomi digital yang berkembang pesat, serangan siber akan turut meningkat berlipat kali ganda serta berupaya memberi kesan yang lebih buruk kepada perniagaan. PKS menjadi sasaran utama kerana kekurangan sumber dan kepakaran untuk menguruskan operasi keselamatan siber. MATRIX dapat menangani cabaran ini dan ia akan menjadi pendekatan yang berterusan kerana penggunaan digital akan menjadi sebahagian daripada perjalanan ini”.

Sistem keselamatan siber yang mantap akan berupaya mengintegrasikan ruang maya dan fizikal dengan selamat serta mampu menghasilkan kemajuan ekonomi yang seimbang dan sesuai dengan visi MDEC tentang Malaysia 5.0, iaitu sebuah negara yang sangat terintegrasi dengan teknologi, memberikan peluang digital yang adil kepada rakyat dan perniagaan. Ini juga sejajar dengan Strategi Keselamatan Siber  Kebangsaan.

Program MATRIX juga akan mempercepat perjalanan transformasi digital dan meningkatkan pengalaman keselamatan siber melalui dua cadangan utama yang iaitu;

  • Sederhana  – Mudah digunakan dan menjimatkan kos dengan pengawasan minimum
  • Lebih maju  – Mampu kenalpasti dan mematahkan ancaman dan sesuai dengan perniagaan

Program MATRIX juga telah mengambil kira  pelbagai kesukaran yang dihadapi oleh PKS dan mikro dalam menerapkan langkah-langkah keselamatan siber seperti kekurangan dana dan sumber serta akses terbatas terhadap kepakaran dan peralatan selain kerumitan penggunaan dan operasi. Sehubungan itu, program ini ditetapkan untuk membantu PKS dan mikro bermula dari peringkat awal hingga akhir serta mengenal pasti jurang dalam keselamatan siber, keutamaan dan menawarkan penyelesaian yang menjimatkan.

MATRIX menggunakan strategi serampang tiga mata untuk mengurangkan dan mencegah kejadian serangan siber. Pertama, ia menyediakan pengawasan keselamatan siber 24 jam terhadap serangan operasi perniagaan yang kritikal. Kedua, ia akan memberikan perlindungan kepada aset kritikal serta menerapkan langkah-langkah yang perlu diambil terhadap serangan. Dan ketiga, ia mampu menilai masalah.

Pertumbuhan pesat sektor ICT dan teknologi membawa peluang luar biasa bagi industri keselamatan siber Malaysia. International Data Corporation (IDC) melaporkan bahawa perbelanjaan keselamatan siber  Malaysia mencapai RM2.6 bilion (AS $ 627 juta) pada 2019 dan dijangka melebihi RM4 bilion (AS $ 1 bilion) pada tahun 2024.

Bagi tempoh lima tahun akan datang, ia dijangka akan terus kukuh dengan jangkaan kadar pertumbuhan tahunan dikompaun (CAGR) stabil iaitu  sebanyak 12.5 peratus (CAGR). Ini melebihi dua kali daripada perbelanjaan ICT keseluruhan negara ini yang berjumlah 5.7 peratus untuk tempoh yang sama.

Oleh kerana keselamatan siber adalah domain yang akan terus berkembang dengan teknologi, proses dan kaedah baharu, ia akan terus memperluaskan aliran pelaburan serta mempercepat pertumbuhan ekosistem keselamatan siber Malaysia. Pada masa ini, rakan industri keselamatan siber tempatan yang telah menyertai program MATRIX termasuk TIME dotcom Berhad, NetAssist (M) Sdn Bhd, PERNEC Technologies Sdn Bhd, DNSVault Sdn Bhd, Securemetric Technology Sdn Bhd dan Tecforte Sdn Bhd.

Dengan begitu banyak yang ditawarkan, kita bukan hanya perlu berwaspada tetapi juga memiliki tindakan balas yang sesuai. Untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut mengenai MATRIX Cybersecurity untuk PKS, layari http://mdec.my/matrix

MDEC juga akan memulakan edisi kedua Bulan Teknologi Malaysia (MTM) pada 29 Julai 2021. MTM merupakan acara selama sebulan untuk mengetengahkan ucaptama digital, teknologi, bengkel, panel perbincangan dan sesi padanan perniagaan. Ia akan menampilkan kumpulan penceramah yang terdiri daripada pelabur industri tempatan dan antarabangsa yang terkenal untuk berkongsi pemikiran dan kepakaran mereka dalam ekonomi digital yang didorong oleh Revolusi Perindustrian 4.0 (4IR).  Bahagian Penerimagunaan Ekosistem Digital MDEC akan menguruskan beberapa siri acara selama seminggu di MTM. Untuk mengetahui bagaimana anda boleh mengambil bahagian, sila layari : https://mdec.my/mtm2021

5 Signs of Resilience in Leadership

MDEC files

In my 30-year career as a finance professional, multinational corporate chieftain and entrepreneur, I have experienced countless nerve-wracking challenges but COVID-19 is a battle of epic proportions. This pandemic has brought the world to a standstill and it has even given crisis management experts a run for their money.

Time and again, the traits of agility and innovation resurface in expert discussions and SMEs, have begun asking how best to survive the recent upheaval as the world tries to settle itself into the demands of the new reality.

As it stands, the CMCO and RMCO have begun engaging businesses in stages, and is expected to end on 31 August. All eyes thus revert back to businesses and how they will pick themselves up, from whatever stage each one is in, as we continue to navigate new post-Covid terrain.

Resilience throughout the Recovery Period

MDEC has a vantage point to experience the inner-mental workings of prolific Malaysian entrepreneurs in the digital space, who have all had humble beginnings and inexpressible hardships. Not only did every challenge sharpen these entrepreneurs’ business acumen, tenacity and perseverance, but also bestowed them with what I regard as the ultimate entrepreneurial trait: Resilience.

Below are five signs, visible in resilient leaders in our digital business community, which can ease or shorten recovery of their business, as the nation works through the Recovery phase of the 6Rs in the government’s strategy, to overcome the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 onslaught:

Eyes on True North

Resilient leaders will never waiver from their quest to be a successful entrepreneur and will remain resolute to the purpose of their business. When confronted by a crisis, they swiftly shut non-critical functions of their business and channel all resources to stabilise the organisation. As operations come to a halt and movement is restricted, resilient leaders dedicate time and genuine effort on online networking to forge closer ties with their talent pool and stakeholders (customers, partners, funders, mentors, authorities, etc). They also have a keen eye on business opportunities that are lurking amid the chaos, which is promptly tapped if deemed suitable.

Pace over Perfection

Resilient leaders are sprinters in decision-making and execution. Speed is an indication of an organisation’s ability to adapt to change and is crucial to the financial health and sustenance of a business. When push comes to shove, there is no need for pomp and splendour – this is specific to the context of communication. Resilient leader are able to rapidly devise and convey the ‘next-steps’ to their employees and leverage on all communication channels to ensure their stakeholders are brought up to speed on the organisation’s approach to the crisis.

Reinvent & Pivot

In volatile economic conditions, resilient leaders look for open doors rather than fixating on what has closed. They contemplate on what can be done instead of adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude. At an opportune moment, a resilient leader will unleash his/her survival prowess and muster the courage to make a fundamental change to the business model despite having insufficient market data. The ability to be agile and nimble allows for erroneous decisions to be quickly corrected. This is the essence of entrepreneurialism.

Empathetic and Compassionate

Resilient leader are able to sense the emotional pulse of their people and stakeholders. They have a high level of awareness on the impact of their actions and potential consequences on the business and society. With their calm and collected demeanour, resilient leaders welcome conversations from the heart and engage on a personal level with those in need of emotional support and encouragement during trying times. Naturally, what is promoted internally will radiate externally – your employees, customers, communities and ecosystem will know that you have their best interests at heart.

Physical & Mental Health

To operate optimally under difficult circumstances, resilient leaders rarely crack under pressure. They religiously incorporate the 3Rs in their daily routine – refuel, rest and recover before firing-up again to ensure their business is in order. An entrepreneur that does not observe good self-care will experience a decline in cognitive skills and the ability to make sound decisions and judgements. This can have an adverse effect on the business, jeopardising their reputation and risk losing all that they have built over the years. Health should never be compromised.

These 5 signs or observations which mark resilient leadership in entrepreneurship, are what I’ve witnessed over time, across a multitude of businesses over my life’s work, and in MDEC, I’ve the opportunity to witness this among digital entrepreneurs.

Malaysia as a nation, has to take a Digital Leap now, in the era of the Fourth IR, to achieve shared prosperity (Malaysia 5.0), reinforcing the country’s role as the Heart of Digital ASEAN. Entrepreneurs who are resilient leaders may well be trailblazers in manifesting this leap.

Early in this Recovery phase of the government’s 6Rs, I urge entrepreneurs to visit mdec.my for info how they can accelerate their digital journey. Consider this my call to all entrepreneurs who are striving and are showing resilience, and to those who seek the digital advantage that is here for the taking.

Gopi Ganesalingam serves the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) as Vice President of the Global Growth Acceleration Division. The division empowers tech companies to rapidly expand and soar globally.

#LonjakanDigital #LetsBuildTogether #BersamaMenjanaEkonomi #DigitalLeap #DigitalVsCovid

Earlier version published in Digital News Asia

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