RMIT Vietnam NewsSecuring information in the Cyber Age

Securing information in the Cyber Age

Friday, April 6, 2018 - 15:54

At the cyber security symposia Cyber Security: Who is master? hosted this week by RMIT Vietnam, international experts grappled with some of the most pressing cyber security issues in the world today, and examined how those threats can be overcome in order to keep our information safe.

(From left to right) Associate Professor Jerry Watkins (RMIT Vietnam Director of the Centre of Digital Excellence), Professor Matthew Warren (Deputy Director of the Centre for Cyber Security Research, Deakin University), and Associate Professor Mathews Nkhoma (Head of the School of Business & Management, RMIT Vietnam) at the symposia Cyber Security: Who is master?

While the discussions touched on numerous topics, two key themes emerged: the urgency and importance of addressing cyber security, and the role of human resources in doing so.

According to RMIT Vietnam Head of School of Business & Management Associate Professor Mathews Nkhoma, rapidly growing connectivity and an accelerating pace of digital transformation make Asia – and particularly Vietnam – vulnerable to cyber exploitation.

“According to a report about cyber risk in the Asia Pacific, conducted by Marsh & McLennan Companies in 2017, Asian organisations take 1.7 times longer than the global median to discover a breach, and 78 per cent of internet users in Asia have not received any education on cyber security,” Associate Professor Nkhoma said.

He emphasised that Vietnam was in the top ten countries with the most targeted attacks from 2015 to 2017, and in 2017 lost U$542.8 million to cyberattacks.

Professor Matthew Warren, Deputy Director of Deakin University’s Centre for Cyber Security Research and the keynote speaker at the event, added that strong cyber security is a fundamental element of a country’s growth and prosperity in a global economy, and is vital for national security.

Professor Matthew Warren, keynote speaker at the event, showed the audience the complexity of the current threat landscape.

“Global security threats and vulnerabilities now impact all corporations and their customers,” Professor Warren said.

“The complexity of cyber security is making it harder for corporations to understand the threats and therefore [to] manage cyber security.”

Professor Warren highlighted the link between human resources and the complexity of maintaining security. Human capital can fail – from a security perspective – through inexperience, improper training, and incorrect assumptions. It is therefore critical for organisations to invest in cyber skill development, as well as recruit and maintain cyber security staff.

“There is currently a global shortage of one million cyber security professionals,” he said, adding that the shortfall is projected to increase to 1.5 million in 2019. 

In terms of the skills needed by future cyber security professionals, Professor Warren said they will need the technical expertise to operate core security technologies, organisational skills to navigate policy and risk, human relation skills to work with others, and soft skills to communicate.

Similarly, Associate Professor Nkhoma discussed the importance of human resources in managing cyber security. He urged the transition from business analytics to people analytics. 

“Organisations can shift from using data to understand every part of a business operation, to using data to understand employee behaviours,” he explained.

“By applying people analytics, we can capture information security knowledge sharing and influence in an organisation, identify the influencers and influencing factors, and then approach the influencers to implement information security practice.”

In an organisation, the people who often give out security and technology-related advice are the ones who have the greatest influence on security behaviours.

“Once we identify those influencers, we can develop strategies and work with them and improve the whole organisation’s security,” he concluded.

The symposia were held at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South and Hanoi campuses on the 4th and 6th of April 2018 respectively, and co-hosted by RMIT Vietnam Centre of Digital Excellence and the School of Business & Management. The events were supported by the Australian Embassy Aus4Innovation program.