KUALA LUMPUR – Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia was keen on pushing SMEs to be digitally-enabled and technologically equipped to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world and was set to achieve these goals by the year 2022. According to SME Corp, digitalisation was to come, given that all SMEs will shift to cashless payment.
Fast forward to now, 5,634 applications from SMEs have been received for the SME Business Digitalization Grant initiative, of which 90% of the applications have been approved as of the end of last year. SMEs in Malaysia are harnessing the power of technology to survive. However, the increased online activities also open loopholes for cybercriminals.
According to Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), 767,000 business users in Malaysia were almost infected with Internet-borne malware in 2020. 269,533 phishing attempts were targeted against Malaysian SMEs in H1 2020, 56% more than the previous year. 238,780 crypto-mining attempts were targeted against SMEs in H1 2020, an almost twofold uptick compared with the previous year.
On average, a single data breach can cost as much as RM400,000 to an SME in Southeast Asia (SEA). During the virtual media session with the Malaysian media, Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky shared that as the Malaysian SMEs continue to digitalise, cybersecurity should be on top of their mind regardless of the size of their business.
“Across the Southeast Asia region, SMBs bear the brunt of the pandemic. More than 8-in-10 SMBs from the region expected a decreased revenue for 2020 as early as May last year. While governments and financial organisations are quick to offer grants and schemes to help this crucial segment stay afloat, our experience showed that technology is the key for SMBs to survive.
We fully understand that investment cuts are being done by business owners but it’s worth noting that cybercriminals are also lurking online. Digitalisation with cybersecurity in mind will always be the best step towards protecting and keeping your cash flow,” comments Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.
Speaking at the virtual media event, Datuk William Ng, Central Region Chairman at Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia (SAMENTA) says, “The value of making investments in the business’ during an economic slump, not after. If you look at post-recession recoveries in the past, what companies choose to invest into their businesses has played a big role in how weak or strong they fared after a crisis. We are working with our members to tap on the allocations as announced by the government to open up fresh opportunities.”