Hybrid Work Exposes Vulnerabilities: 82% of Indian Organizations Report 2X Surge in Security Incidents
Fortinet, the global cybersecurity leader driving the convergence of networking and security, unveiled the findings of a new Asia-Pacific SASE survey commissioned by Fortinet from IDC today. The report is based on a recent survey conducted by IDC across nine countries in Asia/Pacific and explores cybersecurity leaders’ perspectives on hybrid work, particularly how it impacted their organizations in the last year and their strategies to mitigate the security challenges arising from the adoption of hybrid work. Key findings from the survey include:
- The Rise of the ‘Branch-Office-of-One’: According to the survey, 94% of respondents in India have a hybrid or fully remote working model, with more than 74% having at least 50% of their employees working in hybrid mode. This shift to remote work has resulted in employees becoming ‘branch offices of one,’ working from their homes or other locations outside the traditional office. Consequently, 72% of respondents in India anticipate managed devices connecting to the enterprise network to surge by more than 100% over the next two years (with some expecting growth of 400%). Additionally, 46% in India expect unmanaged devices to grow by over 50%. This is expected to compound the complexity and risk of security breaches, placing additional strain on already overburdened IT security teams.
- Unmanaged Devices Pose a Risk: With cloud computing and remote work becoming more prevalent, an increasing number of users, devices, and data are located outside of enterprise networks. Currently, 28% of devices connecting to networks in India are unmanaged, raising the possibility of security breaches significantly. Survey respondents in India expect this figure to rise, with 46% predicting a 50% increase in Unmanaged devices by 2025.
- The Need to Secure Cloud: With hybrid work increasing, employees require multiple connections to external systems and cloud applications to remain productive. Survey respondents indicated that their employees in India need to make more than 40 connections to third-party cloud applications, increasing the risk of security breaches. Over the next two years, 100% of respondents in India expect this number to double, while more than 68% feel that this number will triple, exacerbating the risk. Maintaining network security while ensuring employee connectivity to third-party and cloud-based services is a significant challenge, as traditional security measures are inadequate.
- Increased Security Incidents: Hybrid work and the growth in managed and unmanaged connections have caused a significant rise in security incidents. According to the Survey, 82% of respondents in India have experienced at least a 2X increase in security incidents and 72% of surveyed organizations reported more than triple the number of breaches. The top security incidents include phishing, denial of service, data/identity theft, ransomware, and data loss. However, only 49% of organizations across Asia have dedicated security personnel, which leaves them more vulnerable to security incidents and breaches.
- SASE: a Game-Changer for Hybrid Work: To tackle the challenges of hybrid work, many organizations across India plan to invest in a Single-Vendor SASE solution to improve their security posture and provide consistency in the user experience for remote employees. The need for a comprehensive solution that offers a consistent security posture for users on and off the network while simplifying security policy management and enhancing the user experience for remote employees is driving many organizations to explore SASE.
- The Preference for a Single Vendor: As organizations adopt SASE to manage networking and security services, they are seeking a converged platform to streamline their operations. According to the survey, 80% of respondents across India prefer a single vendor for networking and security capabilities and are consolidating their IT security vendors. More than half (56%) of the respondents prefer a single vendor for cloud-delivered security services and SD-WAN, citing various benefits such as reduced security gaps, improved network performance, ease of deployment, and addressing integration and scalability challenges.
Vishak Raman, Vice President of Sales, India, SEAHK & ANZ at Fortinet said, “As India continues to embrace the digital future and become a leader in the digital economy, it is essential that we acknowledge the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks and data breaches. The shortage of skilled talent in the cybersecurity industry only makes this issue more challenging. At Fortinet, we are committed to bridging the skills gap and providing the necessary cybersecurity knowledge and awareness to all employees in an organization. With our Single-Vendor SASE solution, we aim to simplify security policy management and enhance the user experience for remote employees, helping Indian businesses address the security challenges of the changing workforce.”
Rashish Pandey, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Asia & ANZ, at Fortinet said, “As the world shifts to hybrid work, organizations face the challenge of securing a ‘branch-office-of-one’ environment where employees and devices operate outside of traditional office boundaries. The Survey underscores the urgency for organizations to adopt a comprehensive security strategy that addresses the complexity and risk posed by the growth of remote work. Single-Vendor SASE, with its converged networking and security capabilities, is proving to be a game-changer for many organizations seeking a simplified and consistent security posture for users both on and off the network.”
Simon Piff, Research Vice President, IDC Asia/Pacific, said, “These findings highlight the importance of prioritizing security posture and investing in cloud-delivered solutions that seamlessly integrate with on-prem solutions to manage hybrid work environments and mitigate risks. The preference for a single vendor and infrastructure convergence demonstrates the need for efficient management, and zero-trust architecture can enhance security and usability. Organizations need to address these challenges and invest in security solutions to support their hybrid workforce and reduce security threats.”
The survey was conducted among 450 cybersecurity leaders from 9 different locations across Asia (Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam).
Survey respondents came from nine industries, including manufacturing (14%), Retail (13%), Logistics (14%), Healthcare (13%), FSI (10%), and Public Sector (11%).
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