October 16, 2019 – With 5G networks expected to launch by 2020, Asia-Pacific organizations are gearing up for the promise of ultra-high-speed and low-latency wireless networks, but they must also steal themselves to manage the higher cybersecurity risks that the next-generation mobile networks will bring.

Beyond improved data rates and low latency, 5G will bring new levels of network responsiveness. Other emerging technologies are also set to complement 5G, such as network function virtualization (NFV). In this light, 5G paves the way for new paradigms of network operation and service creation. But risks will also be multiplied as 5G promises a surge in mobile connections, an explosion in connected devices, plus more mission critical applications and more data to be managed by businesses. While 5G as a technology promises higher security protocols and standards that are superior to current 4G networks, the net result is that these new networks will create a much larger and more varied surface area open to attack.

What this means for Asia-Pacific organizations is a need to re-evaluate their risk exposure and pivot their cybersecurity strategies to focus less on hunting for every single threat but put greater emphasis on investing in risk management, incident response and regulation and compliance initiatives.

C-suite executives are starting to realize how a cyber-attack can erode trust towards an organization with the number of cybersecurity incidents being reported in the region continuing to grow. However, this does not imply that they are all ready to manage these underlying cyber risks as the majority of the organizations are adopting a standards-based approach. Eighty nine percent of the organizations admit they don’t have a cybersecurity function in place that meets their needs.[1] And just 36% of their boards have sufficient cybersecurity knowledge to effectively manage cyber risks[2].

Richard Watson, EY Asia-Pacific Cybersecurity Risk Advisory Leader, comments: “Adopting a risk-based approach is key as organizations simply cannot protect everything to the same degree. Priorities matter.”

“Contemporary cybersecurity extends beyond protecting sensitive information and systems from malicious external attack, into guarding identities, data privacy and vulnerability management on a vast scale. A robust and holistic threat approach focused on risk will not only allow organizations to strike a balance between protect and react, but also win and maintain the trust of customers.”

Below are the top five questions that Asia-Pacific businesses should ask when mapping out risk-focused cybersecurity strategies in the coming era of 5G:

  1. How should we evolve cyber risk governance to match with the broad trends and new regulations?
  2. What are the organization’s cyber risk appetite?
  3. How will we respond to cyber incidents?
  4. How will we know when the organization is attacked?
  5. Are we proactively looking for cyberattacks?

As the promise of 5G increases data flows, the risk landscape is intensifying. Trust is now a key differentiator for organizations, especially to those in the telecom industry, and they should position security at the heart of business strategy and ensure their cybersecurity strategies keep current with the evolving landscape.

Richard Watson, EY Asia-Pacific Cybersecurity Risk Advisory Leader, is available to brief on the shifting cyber landscape and corresponding digital measures to safeguard cybersecurity.

For any queries, please contact Roanna Leung (T: 2837 4786 / E: Roanna.Leung@edelman.com) or Vikki Tang (T: 3756 8641 / E: Vikki.Tang@edelman.com )


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