Drie nieuwe cyberbedreigingen die je moet kennen

3 nieuwe cyberbedreigingen

Er zijn talloze cyberbedreigingen en deze veranderen voortdurend. Wat in eerste instantie een gewoon telefoontje lijkt, kan een geavanceerde social-engineering aanval zijn.

3 nieuwe cyberbedreigingen

Stel, je baas belt je en vraagt je om € 220.000 over te maken op een externe bankrekening. Doe je dat dan gewoon of controleer je toch even of het echt wel je baas was die belde?

Dat controleer je natuurlijk!

Maar als die baas je nu aanspreekt met je naam, uitlegt dat het om een zéér dringende en belangrijke zakelijke transactie gaat en wil dat het geld onmiddellijk overgemaakt wordt? Je herkent de typische ‘melodie’ van zijn stem en zijn Duitse accent.

Zou dat je twijfels wegnemen en zou je het geld nu overmaken?

Als dat zo is, dan loop je de kans een grote fout te maken.

Dit is namelijk precies wat een bedrijf in het Verenigd Koninkrijk overkwam toen een cybercrimineel er met state-of-the art deepfake audio technologie in slaagde de CEO om de tuin te leiden.

Wat kunnen we hiervan leren? Cybercriminelen maken nu ook al gebruik van opkomende technologieën om nog geloofwaardiger over te komen en mensen in de val te lokken. Wat in eerste instantie een gewoon telefoontje lijkt, kan een geavanceerde social-engineering aanval zijn die een bedrijf veel geld kan kosten.

Als eigenaar of manager wil je weten hoe je je bedrijf kunt beschermen tegen de nieuwste cyberbedreigingen. Dan moet je eerst weten hoe de cyberrisico’s van bedrijven zijn veranderd. In deze blog gaan we dieper in op het veranderende landschap van cybersecurity-risico’s en geven we een paar nuttige tips voor de beveiliging van jouw bedrijf.

cyberrisico's bedrijven 2021

  1. Deepfake: het nieuwe gezicht van social engineering

Social engineering cyberbedreigingen zijn uiteenlopende soorten cyberaanvallen die beveiligingssystemen en -protocollen omzeilen door op een slimme manier misbruik te maken van de menselijke aard. Een typisch voorbeeld hiervan is een phishingaanval via e-mail, waarin mensen verleid worden om op een schadelijke link te klikken of een bijlage te downloaden die malware bevat.

Door recente ontwikkelingen in de deepfake-technologie kunnen cybercriminelen hun social engineering aanvallen nog geloofwaardiger maken.

Deepfakes zijn nepfoto’s en audio- of video-opnamen waarmee beelden of stemmen van mensen worden nagebootst. Deze worden gemaakt met geavanceerde machine learning algoritmen waarmee tools gebruik kunnen maken van deep learning en beeldsynthese.

Wat kun je tegen deepfake bedreigingen doen?

De beste manier om deepfake social engineering aanvallen te voorkomen, is training van je medewerkers. Hieronder staan enkele best practices hiervoor.

Geef security trainingen

Social engineering aanvallen richten zich op typisch menselijk gedrag en zwakke beveiligingspraktijken. Met een goed trainingsprogramma kunnen de meeste social engineering aanvallen worden tegengehouden door mensen bewust te maken van deze werkwijzen. In deze trainingen moeten mensen leren hoe ze deepfakes kunnen herkennen (bijvoorbeeld door verschillen in de huidtint in een video of een ongewoon helder geluid via de telefoon). Ook moeten ze precies weten waar en hoe ze verdachte incidenten moeten melden.

Het is altijd verstandig om opfriscursussen te geven zodat mensen niet vergeten wat ze eerder hebben geleerd. Stuur regelmatig – liefst een keer per twee weken – een herinnering aan de best practices voor het beschermen van gevoelige informatie en het identificeren van deepfake social engineering aanvallen.

Zorg voor een bedrijfscontinuïteitsplan

Een bedrijfscontinuïteitsplan is je laatste verdedigingslinie. Zo’n plan omvat strategieën voor dataopslag, databack-ups, proces- en dataherstel, communicatieworkflows enzovoort. Een dergelijk plan maakt je activiteiten veerkrachtig, zodat het bedrijf cyberaanvallen tot op zekere hoogte kan ‘absorberen’ en schade kan herstellen.

  1. API-aanval: het nieuwe datalek

Softwareleveranciers gebruiken API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) al lang om data te kunnen delen tussen apps en apparaten. API’s zijn echter meer dan connectoren waarmee softwareleveranciers hun tools met andere producten integreren.

Veel bedrijven, zoals social media sites, mobiele app stores en zelfs postdiensten, bieden tegenwoordig openbare API’s om zakelijke partners en klanten eenvoudiger toegang te geven tot hun diensten.

Hierdoor ontstaat er een risico op API-datalekken, waarbij hackers automatische toolkits inzetten om via zwakke plekken in een API gebruikersgegevens te bemachtigen. Dat kan rampzalige financiële gevolgen hebben. Een hacker kan een datalek bijvoorbeeld omzetten in een ransomware-aanval, met name bij bedrijven die veel gevoelige informatie hebben, zoals medische en bankgegevens.

Wat kun je tegen API-bedreigingen doen?

In een Gartner-rapport over API-beveiliging worden verschillende manieren beschreven waarop organisaties API-bedreigingen kunnen aanpakken (inhoud alleen beschikbaar voor klanten van Gartner). Hier volgt een samenvatting van de hoofdpunten:

Identificeer de API’s die jouw organisatie levert of gebruikt

Als eerste stap in API-beveiliging moet je bijhouden hoe API’s in jouw bedrijf worden gebruikt. Om hier achter te komen, moet je met je IT-team, vooral de ontwikkelaars, gaan praten om inzicht te krijgen in welke API’s worden ontwikkeld of al zijn gepubliceerd. Ook moet je inventariseren welke API’s van derden in je bedrijf worden gebruikt.

Gebruik beveiligingsoplossingen die beschermen tegen API-bedreigingen

Er zijn verschillende producten die je kunnen helpen bij je API-beveiliging. API-management software, ook wel een API gateway genoemd, helpt bijvoorbeeld bij het beheren van de toegang tot back-end systemen. Ook kun je encryptiesoftware gebruiken om je databases te versleutelen en te voorkomen dat onbevoegde gebruikers toegang krijgen tot ‘data in ruste’.

En ten slotte, maar zeker niet minder belangrijk, is er IT, server en network monitoring software om te controleren op zwakke plekken in je systemen waarvan API-hackers misbruik kunnen maken.

  1. CPS- en IoT-bedreigingen: het nieuwe speelveld van cybercriminelen

Het gebruik van cyber-physical systems (CPS) en het internet of things (IoT) neemt toe. Denk hierbij bijvoorbeeld aan bouwdrones, slimme gezondheidszorgsystemen, slimme steden, autonome voertuigen, wearables en robotica.

Deze technologie wordt in bepaalde sectoren al veel toegepast, echter vaak zonder een goede beveiliging. Dit heeft te maken met de grote diversiteit aan applicaties en devices. Van die gebrekkige beveiliging in deze systemen maken cybercriminelen gretig gebruik. De media staan inmiddels vol met horrorverhalen over IoT-kwetsbaarheden en de grote financiële gevolgen van een CPS-aanval.

Wat kun je tegen CPS- en IoT-bedreigingen doen?

Om CPS- en IoT-devices te kunnen beveiligen, moeten bedrijven eerst hun huidige gebruik hiervan inventariseren. Op basis daarvan moeten ze hun investeringen in de beveiliging prioriteren. Het is belangrijk dat bedrijven deze devices en systemen voortdurend blijven monitoren om ze actief te beschermen tegen bedreigingen.

Analyseer je CPS- en IoT-usecases

Elke sector zet CPS en IoT op zijn eigen specifieke manier in. De gezondheidszorg gebruikt bijvoorbeeld CPS om gepersonaliseerde geneeskunde te bieden en in de productiesector worden IoT-apparaten en CPS gebruikt voor het verbeteren van zakelijke activiteiten zoals de inkoop van materiaal en de levering van producten.

Cyberrisico’s van bedrijven zijn dus branchespecifiek. Dat betekent dat je eerst goed moet gaan kijken hoe CPS en IoT bij jou worden ingezet. Je kunt ook cybersecurity professionals inschakelen om de kwetsbaarheid van jouw bedrijf te analyseren.

Blijf deze systemen en devices voortdurend monitoren

De producten die op dit moment beschikbaar zijn om CPS- en IoT-devices te controleren, staan nog in de kinderschoenen. Toch kunnen bedrijven aanvallen op deze systemen en devices monitoren en beheersen.

Ze kunnen bijvoorbeeld network monitoring tools en log management software gebruiken om het netwerkverkeer te monitoren en proactief op jacht te gaan naar bedreigingen die tot een cybersecurity-incident kunnen leiden.

Cyberrisico’s voor bedrijven veranderen, dus je cybersecurity moet mee

In deze blog hebben we enkele nieuwe bedreigingen op een rijtje gezet. Er zijn echter veel verschillende soorten cyberbedreigingen en deze veranderen voortdurend. Bedrijven moeten daarom op de hoogte blijven van de laatste ontwikkelingen op het gebied van cyberbeveiliging.

Neem een kijkje in onze cybersecurity-categorie als je op zoek bent naar een softwareoplossing. Tussen de meer dan 70 opties vind je er vast een die geschikt is voor jouw bedrijf. Selecteer de grootte van je bedrijf en het type branche. Er zijn verschillende filters om het aantal opties nog verder te beperken, bijvoorbeeld op basis van het prijsmodel, ondersteunde apparaten, locatie en integratie-opties.

En nu? Bekijk onze catalogus met cybersecurity software om de juiste tool te vinden.

How To Prepare Your Enterprise Against Common Cyber Security Threats

protect against cyber security threats

Remote work is here to stay, making cyber security an important issue for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Here are some ways to protect your business (and employees) against cyber security threats.

protect against cyber security threats

Twenty-two percent of business owners we surveyed in the UK are concerned about cyber security with employees working from home—and their concerns are valid.* The swift shift to remote work in 2020 left businesses, and their remote employees, exposed to a variety of cyber security threats. 

In a different survey, nearly two-thirds of UK companies (64%) report that most of their business has been conducted virtually since the start of the pandemic**, and because of this, one in five SMEs have fallen victim to cyber security attacks in a three-month period in late 2020.

The connection between remote work and cyber security risks is not one businesses can afford to ignore for long. 

Here are three things you can do to protect your employees and, by extension, your organisation from falling for a cyber threat. 

1. Communicate regularly with employees about best practices

All it takes is one person clicking one link, giving malicious code an opportunity to make your business vulnerable to cybercriminals. Your employees are both your number one line of defense against cyber security threats and also your weakest link (full research available to clients). 

Employees are scattered, relying on their personal internet connection and are likely sharing it with partners, roommates, students, and family members. They might be feeling pandemic-related stress and burnout from remote work. Yet, their role in protecting the organisation from cyber threats is more important than ever, making it critical for business leaders to make cyber security training for employees an ongoing priority. 

According to a Verizon report, one out of three data breach incidents involve insiders (your employees or partners) exposing confidential information.

Regularly communicating best practices can help keep cyber security at the forefront of employees’ minds, reminding them about basic dos and don’ts. Your security awareness plan may include longer workshops or regular newsletters that include cyber security tips.

Other simple best practices include avoiding unsecured public WiFi networks, practice recognizing phishing attempts, changing passwords regularly, using multifactor authentication, and using a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to the internet from a private connection.

cyber security best practices

Continuously communicating these guidelines to employees on a weekly or monthly basis can help keep the information fresh in their minds and, as a result, keep your business safe from threat actors.

2. Invest in the right security technology 

Twelve percent of UK companies reported needing new security software since the beginning of COVID-19, and it’s not too late to invest in the right tools. 

You’ll want to assess where your security strengths and vulnerabilities lie and what tools you already use, if any. This will make it easier to identify which remote tools will be most beneficial. Below, let’s take a look at some software platforms that can strengthen network security. 

Endpoint security software can help protect network servers and devices such as laptops and mobile phones. It can detect and block malware, help prevent a ransomware attack, and assess any safety files that are downloaded.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) add a layer of security for those relying on their own internet connection by encrypting data sent through web servers. Companies may require the use of a VPN if remote employees access confidential information, client information, or the company’s intranet

Most data breaches are linked to weak passwords. Password management software can help employees generate strong passwords and securely save passwords 

Software updates are important for security. Encourage employees to update immediately rather than postpone their software updates. Patch management software can help businesses manage updates and reminders to remote workers

Multifactor authentication tools add a layer of security by requiring a passcode or biometric information, in addition to passwords, in order to access business accounts.

Adding security software and technology to your cyber security arsenal can give your business’ security strategy an added layer of protection. These tools can help employees work more securely while remote.

3. Create a cyber security incident plan 

By training your employees and adopting security software to add extra layers of protection, you’re doing everything you can to mitigate cyber security risks. Even with these measures in place, however, your organisation can fall victim to a data breach. 

However, only 37% of businesses have a cyber attack response plan, according to Gartner (full research available to clients). 

If an attack happens, there needs to be a plan for how to handle it. For example, if an employee clicks on a phishing email mistakenly, who should he or she contact in the business? Then, what should that point of contact do to inform the larger company and minimize the impact on your business and its data?

When creating your cyber security crisis management plan, be sure to keep it as simple as possible; incorporate existing and emerging threats, consider critical infrastructure, and test the plan regularly to make sure it runs smoothly. 

Within the plan, be sure to form a response team, define what type of incident will trigger the plan, and create a crisis management flowchart that shows what actions should be taken and when. 

crisis management flowchart

You should also create crisis communication templates that you can use to save time when crisis hits and clearly define roles and responsibilities in the plan for each member of the response team. 

Be sure to also communicate this plan to all employees by letting them know who they should contact should they accidentally click on a phishing email or malicious link. 

A holistic cyber security strategy can protect your business 

Protecting your business against cyber security threats means fortifying your business on all fronts. 

This means taking all of the above steps to ensure that you are fully prepared to both prevent and handle cyber incidents. Train your employees on cyber security best practices, so they know what a phishing email looks like and what to do when they receive one. Add security software tools for that extra layer of protection for your sensitive data. 

And lastly, while all of these above steps are great ways of mitigating cyber attacks, a crisis management plan is the last line of defense. If the worst happens, everyone knows what their role is to fix the problem. 

All of these together create a secure environment that you can continue to operate within, feeling comfortable and confident.

Looking for cyber security software? Check out our catalogue.

Methodology 

*Data for the GetApp New Business Model Survey was collected in November 2020. The sample comes from an online survey of 1,851 respondents that live in the UK. The survey data used for this article comes from 539 participants who have qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants. The criteria for participants is: Owner, founder, or another head role, C-suite executive (e.g., CEO, CIO), or president or vice president. 

**Data for this study was collected in December 2020 from an online survey of 541 respondents that live in the UK. To participate on the survey, respondents had to be employed full-time in one of the following roles: Owner, founder or other head of an organisation, C-suite executive e.g., CEO, CIO, president or vice president, director, manager, working for a company of up to 250 people, and/or working at the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations, obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

Online meeting software is the most popular tool among South African SMEs

business benefits of software implementation during pandemic

As we enter 2021, South African citizens have been alerted of a possible third wave of the pandemic. Businesses are now being forced to adapt to the new ways of working to ensure long term businesses continuity.

During the first wave of the pandemic, working from home was mandatory during lockdown, and people were confined to their homes unless they were performing essential services. Software has played a vital role in ensuring that businesses transform successfully in response to the pandemic.

We surveyed over 600 SME business leaders about their experiences in the implementation of new tools and the business benefits. The results show that although the implementation of software has been very satisfying with a positive impact in the survival of businesses during the pandemic, more changes will need to be implemented as businesses evolve to fully embrace digital technologies.

business benefits of software implementation during pandemic

South African businesses (still) need to protect themselves against cyberattacks

The results of the survey revealed that 48% of South African businesses purchase online meeting tools in response to social distancing requirements and the implementation of remote work policies. Going virtual has sparked rapid rise in cybercrime, which has become a major threat to the South African business landscape. This threat has now positioned the country at the third highest number of cybercrime victims worldwide, losing about R2.2 billion a year to cyber-attacks.

In addition, 40% of respondents state having invested in e-commerce software and 38% in Virtual Private Network to protect their systems’ vulnerability against cyberattacks. 37% of business leaders indicated that they bought website software, endpoint protection software and 38% project management software, possibly as a strategy to operate efficiently.

tools purchased during pandemic

Half of South African SMEs are satisfied with their software implementation

53% of respondents indicated being very satisfied with the software they have implemented. 46% of leaders have reported that software tools purchases have had a positive impact in helping their business survive the pandemic and a further 42% of respondents reported that these purchases have had a very positive impact. Whilst performance and efficiency still play a vital factor in all things digital, 53% of the surveyed respondents indicated that they are very satisfied with the software they are using, while 40% is somewhat satisfied.

The number of solutions acquired by business leaders have had a different impact across the company, enabling them to deliver results in different parts of the business such as allowing staff to work remotely, increase sales and improve the marketing strategy among other business benefits.

top 3 business benefits of software purchases

Despite the business benefits that software implementation has brough to South African SMEs since the beginning of the crisis, over a third of SME owners (37%) feel they will need to replace or eliminate at least one software programme in the next 12 months, as it may not be suiting the evolving business model at the time.

16% of respondents would eliminate at least one software programme due to financial constraints, while 28% indicated that they are reliant on all the software programmes they currently have, as such, a replacement or elimination phase would not be an option for them.

business areas South Afircan SMEs will invest in digitisation

Emerging technologies and employee training are key for the future

The current technological revolution has fundamentally altered the way we live, relate, and operate; steadily pushing more and more businesses towards the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). 4IR is being proclaimed as the answer to everything, from backlogs in education and skills development to companies cutting costs and serving their customers better.

It is critical to keep tabs on the key trends of emerging technologies to allow business to become more dynamic and responsive. According to World Economic Forum, emerging technologies have a potential to assist organisations in striving through the pandemic and also accelerating the economy if well implemented. Some of the emerging technologies are already in use while some become available in trading for different fields.

For instance, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have also become vital to enabling people to work from home and its biggest strengths is the ability to make those at a distance feel like they’re physically near each other. There’s a great number of VR companies betting that virtual reality office environments, remote collaboration, and working from home in VR are going to be the future of work.

Therefore, looking ahead is important for businesses to investigate how these emerging technologies will fit into their business models and start upskilling and retraining their employees in the necessary fields.

Looking to optimise your digital transformation strategy? Check out our catalogue.

Survey methodology

Data for this study was collected in December 2020 from an online survey of 649 respondents that live in South Africa.

To participate on the survey, respondents had to be:

  • Employed full-time in one of the following roles:
    • Owner, founder or other head of an organisation
    • C-Suite executive e.g. CEO, CIO
    • President of Vice-president
    • Director
    • Manager
  • Working for a company of up to 250 people
  • Working at the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Almost half of Kiwi SMEs chose to invest in eCommerce software since the pandemic

Digital transformation of New Zealand SMEs

Digital transformation of New Zealand SMEs

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak last year most organisations have introduced to protect their bottom lines. In the process, businesses were likely to shift their focus to short-term sustainability rather than investing into digital innovation and transformation.

SMEs in New Zealand have also followed this trend by showing readiness and positivity when it comes to accelerating digital investments and going virtual with the help of collaboration and communication tools during the pandemic.

We surveyed over 600 business leaders of Kiwi SMEs gain insights into their digital priorities and decisions since the start of the pandemic, and to understand their business strategies and investments. (the full methodology is available at the bottom of the article)

The findings reveal that even through the instabilities caused by the pandemic, businesses have continued to invest in their digital infrastructure. And while most Kiwi businesses are satisfied with their digitisation investments, many are also considering further overhauling their IT infrastructure by replacing or eliminating legacy and inefficient technology platforms to set them up for longer term success.

eCommerce software was the most popular business investment

The survey analysed businesses’ categories since the coronavirus outbreak and found that eCommerce software was the most purchased software solution investments in a range of software by 49% of respondents.  Online meeting software (48%) ranked a close second, closely followed by website software with 47% of the organisations purchasing the software to use either on a temporary or permanent basis.

Software that businesses considered or purchased

94% of kiwi businesses are satisfied with their new software investments

Organisations are investing more in technology infrastructure as the digital maturity of New Zealand’s economy continues to rise. 54% of ANZ CIOs report that the funding for digital innovation in their organisation increased in 2020 due to the pandemic, and two-thirds expect it to further rise this year, according to a Gartner research.

94% of respondents are either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their new software. Only 6% expressed dissatisfaction. Crucially, 80% say their investments has helped them to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked to share the top three positive impacts resulting from the new software purchases, most respondents ranked the top three as enabling businesses to operate remotely (53%), improving engagement with customers (50%), and increasing productivity (48%).

positive impact of newly bought software

Investment in sales and promotions is on top of the digitisation agenda for 2021

The survey looked at some key software investments by organisations in New Zealand over the last year, in terms of eliminating or replacing the old ones. It also looked at the areas of the businesses where they plan to invest the most on digitisation.

When it comes to the software renewal decisions, 48% of respondents intend to replace at least one of software solutions due to a failure to meet their current needs. Another 24% cite an inability to keep up with evolving business models as the primary reason for replacing software. Almost a third (2%) will eliminate old software for the same reason, while 7% of respondents plan to retire at least one software programme due to financial constraints.

software to replace or eliminate

The areas of business where decision-makers plan to invest this year are very diverse. The results of the survey show that most businesses are keen to invest on digitisation of their sales, amplification and promotions arm (63%).

most investments in sales and promotion

Kiwi businesses anticipate benefits from adopting emerging technologies

New Zealand’s government is encouraging the adoption of a digital approach to modernise and transform the public system, putting citizens and businesses at the centre of government services. This has set high standards and motivation for kiwi organisations at large to become digitally mature, making the country a consistent top performer of the Digital Intelligence Index.

More than half of the respondents (58%) anticipated big data analysis to be the most valuable emerging technology for their businesses.

Most valuable emerging tech for New Zealand SMEs:

  • Big data analytics (58%)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (52%)
  • Internet of things (IoT) connectivity (41%)
  • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (36%)
  • Cloud-based data storage (36%)
  • Blockchain (3%)

The recent COVID-19 crisis has prompted transformation across the country, and organisations will now have to integrate the ability to innovate into their core. The growing culture of innovation is fuelling business resilience and economic recovery in New Zealand. Continuing to develop digital infrastructure will ensure businesses can go on to create more jobs and deliver effective services to optimise the economy.

Looking to optimise your digital transformation strategy? Check out our catalogue.

Survey methodology

Data for this study was collected in December 2020 from an online survey of 608 respondents that live in New Zealand.

To participate in the survey, respondents had to be:

  • Employed full-time in one of the following roles:
    • Owner, founder or other head of an organisation
    • C-Suite executive e.g. CEO, CIO
    • President of Vice-president
    • Director
    • Manager
  • Working for a company of up to 250 people
  • Working at the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.

Almost half of Singapore’s SMEs plan to replace online meeting software in 2021

Singapore SME digital transformation

Despite 2020 being a challenging year for businesses, the Singapore Business Federation recently reported that many companies are confident about sustaining their business in 2021. The positive outlook stems from the fact that 8 in 10 businesses have accelerated their digital transformation by an average of 2 years, due to the pandemic.

When it comes to digital transformation, speed is a key factor that will determine a company’s ability to overcome the impact of the pandemic and ensure business continuity in another year facing COVID-19. Hence, we’ve asked over 500 SME business leaders about their experiences incorporating new technologies at work throughout the pandemic.

The results revealed that most Singapore SMEs have been successful in integrating digital tools into their business last year and they are keen on doing more in 2021 to optimise their IT strategies.

Singapore SME digital transformation

Online meeting software and e-commerce software most purchased by Singapore SMEs since the beginning of COVID-19

When we asked about the technology investments across eight software categories, business leaders reported that online meeting (49%) and e-commerce (%) tools were the most purchased solution.

Meanwhile, the next most popular purchase (47%) was website software, which could be a result of brands seeking to establish their digital presence and provide customers with better virtual experience. The same number of businesses (47%) also invested project management software for project planning to improve time management, resource allocation and progress tracking.

software Singapore SMEs considred or purchased in resonse to Covid-19

84% of Singapore businesses reported a positive impact from their software investments during 2020

Digital technology has been a critical tool to help businesses respond to the coronavirus crisis. When we asked business leaders which tools were most important in their digital acceleration, more than half (58%) said online meeting software was the most important tool, followed by collaboration software (38%) and VPN software (38%).

critical software tools in digitisation

Fortunately, majority of the businesses (84%) reported positive impact from their software purchases that enabled them to adapt and survive in the current business climate. One-third (30%) indicated very positive impact from technology, meanwhile 54% reported that the impact has been somewhat positive.

When asked about satisfaction with the overall performance, 91% are satisfied with their software purchases – 35% indicated “very satisfied” while 56% indicated “somewhat satisfied”.

In a deeper dive into the benefits of technology investments, the survey revealed that businesses have had a broad impact across various operations that achieved a wide range of commercial goals:

top 3 positive impacts of software on business

37% of Singapore’s SMEs plan to eliminate VPN software this year

While the results from the digital investments have been promising, many business leaders believe more work needs to be done before their IT operations are considered optimised. In fact, a significant number of respondents have expressed interest to replace or eliminate at least one software within the next 12 months.

As many as 41% of organisations are planning to replace software due to legacy systems that fails to keep up with business needs. More than a quarter (27%) intend to eliminate outdated software that no longer suits their evolving business model, while 24% will replace their software for the same reason.

replace or eliminate software

In 2021, businesses will continue to improve operations and explore areas to digitise. Leaders have ranked sales and promotion as the top priority (65%), followed by logistics and supply chain (55%) and data mining and analytics (51%).

Emerging technologies that will change the future of Singapore SMEs

Beyond the pandemic, digital transformation will continue to be a key driver of change for businesses across different sectors. Organisations are already thinking about transformational technologies and the value it can bring to business:

emerging technologies that are most valued by singapore businesses

Leaders in Singapore are becoming more aware of the value of data; big data analytics help organisations harness their available data to identify new opportunities that could result in improved operations, better customer experiences and larger profits in the long run.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already transforming the world we live in, whereby OCBC recently announced the company’s plan to deploy AI-powered analytics to improve compliance, customer experience and sales performance. This is in-line with the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy’s vision to turn Singapore into a leader in developing and deploying AI solutions by 2030.

Keeping up with emerging technologies may not be simplest of task, but it could be the key to help organisations rethink their business models and make impactful changes that will result into increased productivity, new opportunities, and long-term success.

Looking to optimise your digital transformation strategy? Check out our catalogue.

Survey methodology

Data for this study was collected in December 2020 from an online survey of 538 respondents that live in Singapore.

To participate on the survey, respondents had to be:

  • Employed full-time in one of the following roles:
    • Owner, founder or other head of an organisation
    • C-Suite executive e.g. CEO, CIO
    • President of Vice-president
    • Director
    • Manager
  • Working for a company of up to 250 people
  • Working at the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic

La creciente importancia del software en la nube hace vital tener prácticas de seguridad sobre su uso

Hábitos de seguridad de software en la nube son más importantes que nunca

Hábitos de seguridad de software en la nube son más importantes que nunca

Retos de seguridad en la nube

GetApp ha realizado una encuesta sobre el uso e importancia del software en la nube en las pymes, una tecnología que cada día se implementa más en las organizaciones como muestran los datos del estudio. En el primer artículo, propietarios, directivos y managers indican que esta herramienta mejora los procesos de negocio y que ha resultado muy útil para afrontar los retos surgidos a raíz de la pandemia.

Principales ventajas de software en la nube sobre software de instalación local

  • Se puede acceder a él de manera remota desde distintos dispositivos.
  • La información compartida por el equipo y/o clientes se encuentra actualizada en tiempo real.
  • Permite que el negocio pueda operar a distancia.

A pesar de los beneficios que conlleva, esta tecnología también supone nuevos desafíos, como la seguridad. Por ejemplo, los participantes del estudio señalan que una preocupación es que este tipo de software tiene más probabilidad de ser atacado por hackers

En este segundo reporte del estudio, se analizan los hábitos de las pymes en la seguridad de software en la nube. Ve al final del artículo para leer la metodología completa de la encuesta.

El software en la nube es considerado más útil en seguridad y TI, el área dónde más han invertido las pymes

Las herramientas en la nube cubren distintas necesidades de las organizaciones y su oferta de categorías de productos es muy amplia. Las áreas en las que más utilidad tiene esta tecnología, señaladas en la encuesta, son las siguientes:

Principales áreas donde es útil el software en la nube

Como se puede observar, las empresas consideran esencialmente útiles las plataformas para la seguridad y TI, programas para gestión de proyectos, y herramientas de almacenamiento y transferencia de datos. Estas mismas áreas son en las que más se ha invertido en esta tecnología, antes y después de la crisis causada por el coronavirus.

A su vez, el estudio indica que un 65 % de las empresas que tiene implementada esta tecnología utiliza de 1 a 5 productos en la nube, el 29 % utiliza de 6 a 15 software y el resto más de 15 herramientas. 

Todos estos productos en la nube suponen acceso a información del negocio, ya sea de la organización misma o de sus clientes, confidenciales y no confidenciales. Proteger estos datos debe ser una prioridad ya que siempre están expuestos a distintos riesgos, métodos de robo o ataque de cibercriminales. Es responsabilidad tanto del proveedor como de la empresa el cuidar el acceso y uso correcto de estas plataformas.

Hábitos de seguridad de software en la nube en las pymes

Transferencia de datos mediante encriptación y conocimiento de las herramientas adecuadas para ello

Una de las principales funciones del software en la nube es el almacenamiento y transferencia de datos, por lo tanto es indispensable conocer y utilizar las herramientas correctas para esta actividad, especialmente cuando se gestionan datos privados y confidenciales ya sean personales o corporativos. 

El informe observa los siguientes hábitos en las pymes en cuanto a un intercambio de datos seguro:

Principales hábitos en seguridad de software en la nube

Saber qué plataformas son seguras o no para transferir datos sensibles es esencial. El uso de software de encriptación es el principal método utilizado para proteger los datos que se transfieren. Esta herramienta cifra la información y evita que una persona no autorizada acceda a ella.

No intercambiar información confidencial a través de herramientas que no cifran los datos es el segundo hábito en las pymes. Por ejemplo, el software de colaboración y comunicación basado en la nube es uno de los más utilizados actualmente debido a que los equipos y clientes están trabajando a distancia, pero no siempre tiene la función de encriptar los datos. 

La elección de productos que tengan los servidores en el país es una manera de asegurarse que el proveedor está obligado a cumplir con la legislación nacional sobre el almacenamiento y protección de datos. Un 72 % de los participantes indica que es importante o muy importante que el proveedor de software en la nube tenga oficina en el país dónde se encuentra la empresa. Otra herramienta aconsejable para añadir una capa de seguridad en la conexión entre servidor y ordenadores son las soluciones VPN

La formación de trabajadores sobre transferencia e intercambio de datos seguros es una práctica adoptada por una cuarta parte de los encuestados. Esta estrategia puede reducir riesgos básicos. Existen muchas maneras de formar a los empleados en un software. Actualmente realizarlo a distancia y en directo es la más común:

  • Un 47 % indica que la formación remota en directo corre a cargo de un empleado de la empresa que previamente ha sido formado o ya conocía el funcionamiento del software.
  • Un 38 % dice que la formación remota en directo es facilitada por el proveedor del servicio en la nube.
  • Un 33 % señala que la formación es online a través de tutoriales proporcionados por el proveedor. 

El estudio indica un conocimiento de los distintos factores de seguridad que deben influir en la elección y uso de una herramienta correcta, aun así es conveniente que las organizaciones dediquen más recursos para seguir formando a los empleados y managers y que estos hábitos sean más comunes.

Control de acceso y distintas credenciales para cada empleado

Gestionar el acceso a las herramientas es otra práctica recomendable. No todos los empleados deberían tener permiso a información delicada o a ciertas funciones del software.

El estudio muestra que las pymes realizan el control de acceso de la siguiente forma:

Cómo se gestiona el acceso al software en la nube

Cuatro de cada diez pymes (42 %) administran ellas mismas los accesos a la información o características de la herramienta. Mientras que un 30 % opta por regular los permisos en base a lo que el proveedor propone ya sea por su política de uso o por el coste de plan. Cualquiera de estas dos opciones es una práctica que mantiene un control y agrega una capa de seguridad ya que reduce el riesgo de que alguien no autorizado acceda, manipule, elimine, secuestre o robe los datos.

Por su parte, un 25 % de las organizaciones indica que los trabajadores tienen acceso absoluto. Este es un hábito riesgoso en caso de que se esté almacenando/intercambiando información privada y/o confidencial. Así como también es peligroso el caso de las empresas que no vigilan el acceso (3 %). En ambas situaciones se recomienda que realicen un mayor control y registro de los usuarios a fin de aumentar la seguridad de los datos en el software en la nube.

Las credenciales de acceso es otro factor que se debe controlar lo máximo posible. Es probable que por razones de presupuesto no siempre se pueda tener una credencial de acceso por empleado para cada herramienta, pero es recomendable que sea de esta forma siempre que se pueda.

La encuesta reporta los siguientes hábitos en uso de credenciales en las pymes:

  • En el 69 % de las pymes, cada persona tiene su propia credencial.
  • En el 26 % de las pymes, una misma credencial se comparte por un grupo de personas.
  • En el 5 % de las pymes, una única credencial se comparte por el equipo entero

En cualquiera de las situaciones mencionadas también se aconseja el uso de herramientas de gestión de contraseñas para generar y/o administrar las contraseñas de los distintos productos. 

Conocimiento y uso de computación confidencial
La
computación confidencial encripta los datos mientras están en uso en el software en la nube, no sólo cuando se intercambian. Esta tecnología ya es utilizada por un 19 % de los encuestados, mientras que un 42 % no la utiliza pero conoce el término y le interesa. 

Es más importante que nunca tener hábitos en seguridad de software en la nube

Las herramientas en la nube han demostrado ser muy útiles para operar el negocio a distancia. Las empresas que utilizan esta tecnología las implementan en sus áreas clave: seguridad, gestión de proyectos, finanzas, almacenamiento y transferencia de datos.

La información que se almacena y transfiere por estas plataformas es crítica y por lo tanto debe ser cuidada y protegida al máximo, ya que tiene la misma importancia que la información que se guarda localmente. El utilizar software en la nube supone nuevos riesgos y puertas para los cibercriminales a estos datos.

El estudio indica las prácticas de seguridad más habituales en las pymes que tienen implementado software en la nube:

  • Elección del software adecuado para transferir datos: se distingue entre una herramienta que cifra los datos y otra que no.
  • Elección de proveedor adecuado con sede en el país: se entiende la importancia de cumplir con la legislación vigente sobre protección y uso de datos.
  • Gestión de permisos: se controla que empleado tiene acceso a qué datos y/o a qué funciones del software.

Aun así estos procedimientos deberían incrementar conforme más se utiliza esta tecnología ya que entre más interconectados estén los negocios mayor riesgo supone ser víctima de un ataque. El software en la nube se está convirtiendo en un estándar operativo, como indican los resultados de nuestra encuesta, y por lo tanto debe ser una prioridad que todo su entorno (usuarios, uso, herramientas, servidores, etc.) sea lo más seguro posible.

Infografía hábitos de pymes en seguridad de software en la nube

¿Quieres saber más? Consulta nuestro catálogo de software de seguridad en la nube.

Metodología de la encuesta
Para recopilar los datos de este informe hemos llevado a cabo una encuesta online durante diciembre de 2020. Las respuestas provienen de una muestra del mercado español. La encuesta se envió a 1479 propietarios y empleados de pequeñas y medianas empresas, entre los que se seleccionaron 616 para participar. El criterio de selección de los participantes es:
  • Debe ser residente en España.
  • Debe trabajar a jornada completa o parcial en una pequeña o mediana empresa.
  • Debe tener alguno de los siguientes puestos en la empresa:
    • Propietario o CEO
    • Directivo 
    • Gestor de varios departamentos
    • Gestión intermedia 
  • Debe estar involucrado o al tanto del proceso de selección y compra de software en la empresa.
Los participantes provienen de diferentes sectores de la industria.

Veilig bestanden versturen via internet – 3 eenvoudige oplossingen

Versturen jouw medewerkers gevoelige documenten veilig via internet? Bestanden veilig delen terwijl je vanuit huis werkt, kan een uitdaging zijn. Bekijk drie typen softwareoplossingen waarmee je bedrijfsdata kunt beschermen tegen toegang door onbevoegden.

  1. Bestandsdeling software
  2. Encryptie software
  3. VPN-software

Veilig bestanden versturen via internet

Veilig bestanden versturen

Er is nog nooit zoveel vraag geweest naar tools om data veilig te delen terwijl mensen samenwerken via internet. In de VS zijn grote bedrijven zoals Facebook en Twitter door corona al van plan om ook in de toekomst vanuit huis te blijven werken. In Nederland lijkt deze trend eveneens door te zetten.

Sommige bedrijven zijn er echter nog maar net aan gewend dat hun mensen thuiswerken. Dan is het belangrijk om je cybersecurity te versterken en gevoelige documenten die online gedeeld moeten worden, goed te beschermen. Er is inmiddels een breed scala aan IT-beveiligingsoplossingen op de markt. Kijk daarom eens naar specifieke softwaretypen en de functies die aansluiten bij jouw zakelijke behoeften.

In dit artikel nemen we drie typen software onder de loep waarmee jouw medewerkers vanaf een extern of thuisnetwerk veilig toegang krijgen tot data, en bestanden veilig kunnen delen. Met behulp van deze oplossingen kunnen bedrijven kostbare fouten op het gebied van cybersecurity proactief voorkomen. Veilig bestanden versturen, encryptie en VPN-functionaliteit zijn de drie belangrijkste facetten die we bekijken. Ook geven we aan hoe elk type oplossing de data van jouw bedrijf kan beschermen tegen ongeoorloofde toegang.

Oplossing 1: software voor het delen van bestanden

File-sharing software (bestandsdeling software) biedt tools voor samenwerking waarmee teams snel en veilig informatie kunnen delen. Deze oplossingen zijn erop gericht om alle belanghebbenden vanaf elke locatie en elk device met een internetverbinding veilig toegang te verlenen.

De meeste bevatten features voor documentbeheer, toegangsbeheer en -bevoegdheden, chattools en data-encryptie. Hieronder kijken we naar twee algemene functies in file-sharing software.

Documenten monitoren met activiteitenstromen

Met realtime activiteitenstromen van gedeelde mappen kunnen bedrijven ervoor zorgen dat hun teams documenten op de juiste wijze beheren. Met deze functie kunnen wijzigingen in documenten en nieuwe uploads worden bijgehouden. Managers kunnen aan de hand daarvan proactief verdachte activiteiten opsporen, zoals een onbevoegde gebruiker die onverwachte wijzigingen aanbrengt in een document of bestanden met anderen deelt.

De activiteitenstroom in de afbeelding hieronder houdt bij welke wijzigingen er zijn aangebracht in documenten, door wie en wanneer. Dit is een nuttige functie voor managers die aan het hoofd staan van een groot team van medewerkers die gevoelige documenten moeten delen wanneer ze samenwerken aan projecten.

bestanden veilig delen met bestandsdeling software
Gedeelde documentmappen en realtime activiteitsstroom in Egnyte (bron)

Toegang tot documenten beheren met aangepaste opties voor delen

Veel oplossingen voor bestandsdeling bieden opties zoals aanpasbare bevoegdheden voor mappen, downloadbeperkingen en vervaldata voor toegang. In de afbeelding hieronder zie je opties voor delen en machtigingen, inclusief einddatums.

Bedrijven kunnen hiermee het risico op onbevoegde toegang verkleinen door de toegang tot gegevens proactief te beperken tot bepaalde teams en specifieke tijden. Als iemand bijvoorbeeld voor een onderzoeksproject een week lang toegang moet hebben tot een gevoelig document, kan de eigenaar van het document een vervaldatum instellen voor dat bestand.

toegang tot bestanden bepalen
Bevoegdheden en opties voor het delen van documenten in FileCloud (bron)

Oplossing 2: encryptiesoftware

De tweede oplossing voor het veilig delen van bestanden dat we nader bekijken is encryptiesoftware. Encryptie-oplossingen zijn beveiligingsprogramma’s die ongeoorloofde toegang tot content, bestanden, netwerken of applicaties voorkomen. Deze oplossingen versleutelen, converteren of verbergen data en helpen je bedrijf op die manier om gevoelige gegevens te beschermen terwijl deze via internet door verschillende teams worden gedeeld.

Encryptietools zijn vooral nuttig voor bedrijven die veel gevoelige klantgegevens via het internet delen. Deze tools bieden over het algemeen functies voor compliancebeheer, netwerkbewaking, wachtwoordbeheer en veilige dataopslag. Hieronder gaan we wat dieper in op enkele belangrijke functies.

Documenten beschermen met cybersecurity tools

Veel encryptie-oplossingen beschikken over tools die gegevens monitoren en beschermen terwijl deze online worden gedeeld, bijvoorbeeld via e-mail en documentlezers. In de afbeelding hieronder zie je een platform voor netwerkbescherming met verschillende tools, onder andere voor het volgen van netwerkactiviteit, statistieken van bedreigingen en spam, en het opruimen van malware.

Encryptie-oplossingen zijn dus bedoeld om bedrijven te helpen proactief datalekken te voorkomen en doelgerichte aanvallen te blokkeren.

endpoint security voor veilig bestanden delen online
Ingebouwde beveiligingstools in ESET Endpoint Security (bron)

Inloggegevens geheimhouden met wachtwoordbescherming

Om gevoelige data nog beter te beschermen, kan encryptiesoftware ook functionaliteit bieden voor het beveiligen van inloggegevens, zoals wachtwoorden van klanten. Wachtwoordbescherming is cruciaal, zeker wanneer medewerkers op afstand werken en verschillende netwerken en applicaties gebruiken om te communiceren met andere teams, partners en klanten.

In de afbeelding hieronder zie je verschillende beschermingsopties voor inloggegevens, zoals voor het aanmaken, regelmatig veranderen en resetten van wachtwoorden. Deze opties zijn geschikt voor managed service providers (MSP’s) en IT-teams die support bieden aan klanten of andere teams en daarbij de besturing van hun devices tijdelijk moeten overnemen. Hiermee zorg je ervoor dat wachtwoorden vertrouwelijk blijven en verklein je de cybersecurity-risico’s wanneer technici toegang nodig hebben tot verschillende soorten informatie.

wachtwoordbescherming
Beheer van wachtwoorden en inloggegevens in SolarWinds Passportal (bron)

Oplossing 3: VPN-software

Het laatste type oplossing dat we bekijken is VPN-software (Virtual Private Network). Met deze oplossingen worden versleutelde verbindingen tot stand gebracht waarmee mensen die op afstand werken, veilig toegang krijgen tot bedrijfsnetwerken.

Met VPN-software kunnen bedrijven effectief data beschermen en veilig bestanden versturen. Ze zorgen voor een beveiligde verbinding tussen de apparaten van medewerkers en een webserver, ongeacht de locatie. Deze software biedt over het algemeen functies voor anoniem browsen, dataversleuteling, beveiliging tegen DNS-lekken en een kill switch. De twee VPN-functies hieronder zijn bijzonder nuttig.

Het risico verkleinen met beveiligde netwerktoegang

Bedrijfsdata lopen risico wanneer medewerkers vanuit huis of een openbaar of niet-beveiligd netwerk gevoelige documenten openen en versturen. Door een VPN te implementeren om verbinding te maken met internet, kunnen bedrijven ervoor zorgen dat gegevens veilig via internet worden gedeeld door collega’s.

Naast veilige netwerktoegang bieden VPN-oplossingen vaak ook beveiligingsanalytics, bescherming tegen bedreigingen, multi-factor authenticatie, uitgebreide roamingbescherming en andere cybersecurity-tools. In de afbeelding hieronder zie je een voorbeeld van een VPN-oplossing.

vpn oplossing
Veilige netwerktoegang voor ondernemingen met Cisco AnyConnect op een laptop (bron)

Data beschermen met een kill switch als het VPN uitvalt

Sommige VPN-software heeft een zogenaamde kill switch, een virtuele noodknop. Wanneer een VPN-verbinding plotseling wordt verbroken, kan de kill switch internetverkeer blokkeren totdat er weer een veilige verbinding tot stand is gebracht.

Dit voegt een extra beveiligingslaag toe voor medewerkers die met een VPN werken en die vaak gevoelige informatie via internet moeten verzenden. Beheerders kunnen de werking van de kill switch aan de specifieke behoeften van hun bedrijf aanpassen door voorkeuren in te stellen, zoals in de afbeelding hieronder.

network lock vpn
Voorkeuren voor de kill switch-functie Network Lock van ExpressVPN  (bron)
Bekijk hier verschillende VPN-softwareoplossingen

Volgende stappen voor een sterkere cybersecurity

Thuiswerken was al in opkomst voordat de coronapandemie in volle hevigheid toesloeg. In het afgelopen jaar zagen veel bedrijven over de hele wereld zich echter gedwongen om op die manier te gaan werken, ook bedrijven die hierop nog niet voorbereid waren.

Je hebt nu gezien dat er verschillende typen software zijn die uiteenlopende functies bieden om bedrijfsgegevens te beveiligen terwijl medewerkers documenten delen via internet. Om ongeoorloofde toegang of andere cybersecurity-bedreigingen te voorkomen, moeten bedrijven softwareoplossingen implementeren of blijven gebruiken die aansluiten bij hun specifieke behoeften.

Wil je meer weten? Bekijk dan onze online catalogus met een uitgebreid aanbod aan oplossingen voor bestandsdelingencryptie en VPN.

Online meeting platforms are the most purchased software solution since the start of COVID-19

software solution UK business invested most in

software solution UK business invested most in

Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned the UK is a “long, long, long way” away from lockdown restrictions being lifted, maintaining pressure on businesses as they continue to adapt to COVID-19.

In 2020, many organisations assumed that pandemic-driven changes to operations would be temporary. However, the ongoing nature of the crisis is bringing home the reality that they may need to be retained in the medium- to long-term, particularly the use of collaboration and communication solutions to enable remote working.

With digital tools playing such a critical role in helping businesses respond to the coronavirus, we asked over 500 SME business leaders about their experiences introducing new technologies throughout the pandemic.

The findings indicate that while most organisations have seen success in driving effective digital transformation, there is still work to be done in 2021 to optimise IT strategies.

43% of businesses purchased online meeting software since the start of the COVID-19 crisis

The analysis of technology investments across eight software categories found that online meeting tools are the most purchased solution since the introduction of social distancing requirements. 43% of organisations have bought products from this category to use on either a temporary or permanent basis.

The next most popular purchase (28%) was website software, possibly a result of brands seeking to improve experiences for an increasingly virtual customer base. The same number of businesses also ramped up efforts to protect their digital assets by investing in endpoint protection software.

Further, over a quarter of respondents confirmed they had bought CRM (28%), project management (28%) or Virtual Private Network (26%) software.

online meeting most purchased software solution

91% of organisations satisfied with the performance of their 2020 software investments

Overall, the UK’s investments in technology appear to have paid off, addressing both the immediate challenge of coronavirus and driving overall satisfaction.

Almost three in four businesses (74%) report that their software purchases have helped them to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19. A quarter state (25%) that new technology has had a very positive impact, while a further 49% say it has been somewhat positive.

When it comes to satisfaction with overall performance, this trend is more pronounced. 39% indicate they are very satisfied with the software they have acquired, while 52% are somewhat satisfied – 91% in total.

Taking a closer look at the specific benefits of technology investments, it appears the solutions purchased have had a broad impact across business operations, helping companies to achieve a wide range of key commercial goals:

main benefits software solutions

Sales and promotion are the top technology priorities for 2021

While most businesses are clearly happy with the results of their investments in digital, many feel more work is required before they can consider their IT fully optimised. Indeed, a significant number believe they need to replace or eliminate at least one software programme in the next 12 months.

31% of organisations intend to replace software due to legacy systems failing to meet business needs. Similarly, almost a quarter (24%) plan to eliminate outdated software as it is incompatible with their evolving business model. 21% plan to replace software for the same reason.

software solutions to be replaced or eliminated

Given the broad range of solutions businesses plan to replace or eliminate, it is unsurprising that the top areas they intend to invest in are similarly diverse. Sales and promotion ranked as the top tech priority for 2021 with 71%, followed by production and service delivery (57%) and logistics and supply chain (45%).

areas to invest in digitisation

Businesses already anticipating the impact of emerging technologies

Whether planning to invest big in technology this year or not, businesses would be well advised to closely monitor digital developments in the coming months. Across both the UK and EU, digital technologies are at the forefront of policy initiatives designed to drive the economic recovery post-pandemic.

From the UK’s National Data Strategy to the European Commission’s Digital Decade, data and technology will be central to efforts to inspire innovation and generate growth. Moreover, it is important to a number of emerging technologies are rapidly maturing and likely to become commercially viable in an increasing array of industries:

most valuable emerging technologies

Next-generation 5G connectivity, for example, combined with Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), is set to enable a new age of intelligent automation opportunities via edge computing. Meanwhile, advancements in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are providing compelling new ways to engage with remote audiences.

Many businesses are already thinking about how these innovations could fit into their operations so monitoring developments will be important for keeping up with the competition.

Looking to optimise your digital transformation strategy? Check out our catalogue.

Survey methodology

Data for this study was collected in December 2020 from an online survey of 541 respondents that live in the UK.

To participate on the survey, respondents had to be:

  • Employed full-time in one of the following roles:
    • Owner, founder or other head of an organisation
    • C-Suite executive e.g. CEO, CIO
    • President of Vice-president
    • Director
    • Manager
  • Working for a company of up to 250 people
  • Working at the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Speed of virtualisation – 52% Aussie organisations conduct most or all of their business online

Fast virtualisation of Australian smes

Since the global COVID-19 outbreak began in 2020, much discussion regarding the importance of technology has focused on the enablement of remote working. In a contactless or socially distanced world, the majority of interactions with colleagues, partners, and customers take place virtually by way of collaboration and communication tools. However, it is important to note this digital acceleration and virtualisation isn’t new, it has just been brought into sharp focus by the pandemic.

Fast virtualisation of Australian smes

Speed of virtualisation

Dramatic increases in the use of online meeting software may provide the more obvious example of this virtualisation trend at the moment—Zoom reported surpassing 300 million daily virtual meeting participants by April 2020. Additionally, businesses are also showing interest in emerging technologies and more sophisticated tools.

Today, digitalisation touches almost every part of a business’ operations, from marketing and sales to logistics and customer service. GetApp recently surveyed 493 Australian business leaders about their digital acceleration journey since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

The results show businesses have been transitioning to digital models in increasing numbers, taking advantage of new hybrid ways of working and even enjoying a wider customer reach. However, the survey shows that organisations need to take a more strategic approach when implementing their digitalisation initiatives to achieve long-term business benefits post-pandemic (the full methodology is available at the bottom of the article).

The drastic surge in the number of businesses going virtual in some capacity. Over the course of the last year, there has been a drastic surge in the number of businesses going virtual in some capacity. 52% of Aussie organisations surveyed are now conducting all or most of their business online, compared to just 3% that were fully virtual pre-COVID.

Businesses are increasingly relying on digital platforms for customer engagement

As a result of this transition to virtual platforms, 21% of organisations have seen a major increase in customer engagement and online traffic to their websites, with a further 38% reporting a minor increase.  

Surge in virtualisation

Prospective customers from new and different regions are now able to engage with companies digitally where previously they were unable to connect via traditional channels. 64% of Aussie businesses are receiving half or more of their new online traffic from regions or countries where they hadn’t previously operated. This opens up new doors of opportunities for organisations to widen their net for clientele while improving their brand recognition and reach.

website traffic from new regions during pandemic

Increasing cash flow and retaining customers are the main priorities for the coming year

With digitalisation delivering clear business benefits beyond just facilitating remote working, technology will become increasingly critical to broader competitiveness. As Australia climbs towards economic recovery, the government has started providing support in the form of technical assistance.

However, in addition to ensuring that digital investments deliver beyond COVID-19, businesses also need to be resilient and agile in the current times of rapid change, which depends on more than just addressing technical issues. It starts with understanding and aligning initiatives with wider business goals.

Our research shows most businesses are fairly consistent when it comes to their short and long-term goals for 2021. Across the year, customer retention, employee retention, cost-cutting, increasing cash flow, and finding new customers, comprise Australian companies’ top five business goals.

Top 5 business goals for 2021 australia

Most businesses say that they have successfully engaged with customers in digital environments, interacting with them via social media or their websites. Of those surveyed, 32% say that they have been “very successful” while 51% say they have been “somewhat successful” in establishing such customer engagements. Though this transition from in-person to online hasn’t been without challenges.

The majority (73%) faced some obstacles when attempting to convert face-to-face services into online equivalents. Similarly, 68% of organisations faced difficulties in shifting in-person meetings online and keeping customers informed about changes relating to digitalisation.

challenges in conducting business virtually

Over half of respondents say digital investments won’t deliver in the medium- to long-term

As COVID-driven digitalisation continues to be the norm, there is increasing pressure on Aussie businesses to keep investing in technology to remain relevant and competitive.

The GetApp survey reveals 52% of organisations say their business would have failed without a pandemic-driven investment in digital technology, and 70% say they need to continually invest in digital infrastructure to keep up with competitors.

While most businesses accept, they need to keep pace with digital developments, 52% of organisations are worried that the technology they’ve invested in won’t deliver a return in the medium to long-term.

One of the primary reasons for this is the lack of digital skillsets organisations anticipate needing in the next six months. Of particular concern for most businesses is insufficient cybersecurity skills.

lack in skills

The offline and online battle won’t have a binary outcome. The companies should aim to use the best of both worlds to deliver a seamless, convenient, and meaningful experience.

Looking to optimise your digital transformation strategy? Check out our catalogue.

Survey methodology

Data for this study were collected in December 2020 from an online survey of 493 respondents that live in Australia.

To participate in the survey, respondents had to be:

  • Employed full-time in one of the following roles:
    • Owner, founder or other head of an organisation
    • C-Suite executive e.g. CEO, CIO
    • President of Vice-president
    • Director
    • Manager
  • Working for a company of up to 250 people
  • Working at the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Digitalisation in Singapore – 76% of businesses are now operating virtually since COVID-19

digitalisation singapore

Small and medium business in Singapore are embracing digital tools as a means to cope during the pandemic, but there is also a need for a long-term plan for business continuity.

In Singapore, the coronavirus crisis has accelerated digitalisation and digital transformation in many aspects of our lives, from our lifestyle and hobbies to work. However, the pandemic had a much bigger impact on how businesses leverage technology to ensure continuity – from the way businesses connect with employees and customers to running administrative tasks and internal processes.

In March last year, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) rolled out a “Stay Healthy, Go Digital” initiative to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) implement safe distancing and business continuity measures by building their digital capabilities such as collaboration tools, online meeting software tools, queue management systems and temperature screening solutions. The initiative helped businesses adapt and become more resilient to economic disruptions.

The state of digitalisation in Singapore small and medium businesses

As we enter 2021, businesses need to shift from using digital tools for disaster recovery to a more strategic use of technology that will drive better business outcomes in a post-pandemic world. Hence, we’ve asked over 500 local SMEs in Singapore about their digital transformation initiatives to date to better understand how they can ensure their technology deployments are delivering business value.

While the survey findings reveal that organisations have shown great adoption of digital tools, they will also need to focus on planning for the long-term and working with technology partners that can help them achieve their business goals.

93% businesses are seeing increase in traffic from Singapore and overseas

In Singapore, many organisations (76%) have seen a boost in digital engagements from customers and prospects since the COVID-19 outbreak last March. 32% report a major rise in traffic to websites, while 44% have experienced minor increases.

Furthermore, 92% of businesses are seeing heavier traffic originating from regions or countries where they had not previously operated in:

website traffic from new regions due to digitalisation

Apart from increased digital customer and prospect engagements, most companies in Singapore (76%) state that they have been conducting the bulk of their business virtually since the start of the pandemic:

surge in digitalisation of singapore organisations

73% of respondents reported that they are using their online channels to drive promotions and sales of their products and services. Businesses are also communicating with customers on product reviews, providing updates and addressing queries – all of which suggests reactive and short-term usage of online channels.

use of digital networks for engagement

While Singapore has been able to successfully transition to Phase 3 of COVID-19 reopening in December last year, it is clear that digital will continue to play a significant role in facilitating businesses in 2021.

Globally, we saw organisations from various industries rapidly accelerating their digital transformation to survive. Today, the way we used to do business has changed for good and businesses’ competitive advantage is now based on how well they adopt these digital tools.

While businesses have been able to engage customers digitally, challenges of digitalisation remain

A successful digitalisation plan starts with understanding the business objectives. For many of our survey respondents, across both the first financial quarter and 2021 as a whole, they’ve identified these priorities: retaining existing customers, shifting business operations digitally/remotely, cutting costs and increasing cash flow.

Businesses are also thinking ahead, where finding new customers and improving brand image ranked high in priority for respondents in the long run.

business priorities 2021

According to the findings, 29% ‘very successful’ and 55% ‘somewhat successful’ of the business leaders surveyed believe they were successful at engaging customers in digital environments, including company websites and social media accounts. But their success may not last forever as they are continuously facing challenges that could affect their business performance in an increasingly digitalised economy.

Over a third (35%) of organisations are finding several key areas of digitalisation considerably challenging, such as the process of enabling online checkout and payments and the shift to socially distanced operational processes, such as contactless delivery.

Challenges of digitalisation

Furthermore, organisations are also encountering issues trying to digitalise internal procedures. Most of the business leaders surveyed experienced moderate or considerable challenges in maintaining team and cross-team collaboration (76%), shifting business processes online (80%), and training employees to use new software (78%).

The key to optimising an organisation’s digitalisation strategy is the need to improve software acquisition and implementation. More than a third (34% and 32% respectively) reported that they are facing considerable challenges in both areas.

40% of businesses will need social media marketing skills in the next six months

For a holistic digital transformation, organisations also need to upskill their workers and equip them with digital skills to gain competitive edge and remain relevant in the digital landscape.

The survey respondents reported they would need these digital skills the most in the next six months: social media marketing, cybersecurity, business intelligence/data analytics and website and app development.

challenges of digital transformation

Seeing that hybrid work formats and digital business models are likely here to stay, one of the findings that was quite concerning revealed that a significant number of companies are deploying new technologies on a temporary basis only.

We asked respondents whether COVID-19 had led them to consider shifting marketing efforts online, 40% reported that they had implemented or planned to implement temporarily. Likewise, when it came to expanding the use of digital selling platforms (e.g. Facebook Shops, Qoo10, Carousell, Shopee, Lazada) 36% were also doing so temporarily.

These temporary solutions could be attributed to how businesses are leveraging their digital environments for short-term goals on sales, promotion, updates and addressing queries. This suggests great potential for businesses to maximise their digital channels to build long-term engagement, reputation, affinity and loyalty.

To survive and thrive in today’s digital age, businesses need to adopt a long-term view on their digital investments from choosing the right tools to deploying them. With over a third (34% “finding the right software” and 32% “software implementation”) of the respondents finding these areas challenging, it is even more crucial to work with the right technology partner.

Business leaders must ensure their choice of vendors and service providers are adept at helping them create a cohesive digital strategy that addresses today’s roadblocks, while anticipating and mitigating future challenges. Partners who can also train and upskill employees are also worth the long-term investment to help businesses derive maximum value from their technology.

Looking to optimise your digital transformation strategy? Check out our catalogue.

Survey methodology

Data for this digitalisation study was collected in December 2020 from an online survey of 538 respondents that live in Singapore.

To participate on the survey, respondents had to be:

  • Employed full-time in one of the following roles:
    • Owner, founder or other head of an organisation
    • C-Suite executive e.g. CEO, CIO
    • President of Vice-president
    • Director
    • Manager
  • Working for a company of up to 250 people
  • Working at the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic