World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF), through its WIEF Education Trust (WET) recently organised the 10th WIEF Global Discourse on Cybersecurity for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, themed Risks, Adversity & Trust on 15 December 2020 at 2:30pm (GMT +8:00), via Zoom platform.
Speakers for this year’s discourse were Dato’ Ts. Dr. Haji Amirudin Bin Abdul Wahab, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CyberSecurity Malaysia, Rieva Lesonsky, President and CEO of GrowBiz Media, United States of America, Bobby Varanasi, Chairman & CEO of Matryzel Consulting Inc., United States of America, and Nordin Abdullah, Managing Director of Glenreagh Sdn Bhd Malaysia, as moderator.
Nordin started the one-hour session with an opening by Amirudin. ‘A study was done by Cisco on digitisation shows that small medium enterprises (SME) are expected to contribute from RM75 billion to RM99 billion to the GDP by year 2024. That shows how much the SMEs are moving towards digitalisation.’ He added, ‘in Malaysia, 98.5 per cent of all business are SMEs and they contributed 38.3 per cent of the GDP of Malaysia.’ Amirudin explained that information and awareness about cyber security is still lacking amongst SMEs. Investing in it is deemed unnecessary, as they think that cyber attackers are more interested in larger companies.
Rieva shared her personal experience on being hacked seven years ago. Her then very small company in the United States, was down for two weeks and they spent four months to restore their website after the attack. They are still, to this day, unclear why they were attacked and what information was the attacker after. ‘A lot of businesses in the US and Canada are not protected because they think they are too small and they don’t own valuable information to be a victim of cyber-attack. The matter of fact is, micro and small businesses are easiest to attack because they have no security in place.’ Rieva said.
When asked about the Malaysian government initiatives in curbing the issue, Amirudin highlighted about the Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy for 2020 to 2024, which covers five strategic pillars:
- To enhance the governance of the management of the country’s cyber security
- To strengthen the existing laws and regulations as well as enforcement
- To empower a world-class innovation and technology cyberspace, research and development by local industries
- To enhance the capacity and capabilities of the experts besides promoting cyber security awareness in the community
- To strengthen international cooperation.
Realising the increased vulnerability, data governance by policy makers play an important role. Bobby explained, ‘on data governance, one of the things that we’ve not seen, is policy catching up with industry, the elimination of silos with policymakers or policymaking institutions. And this is true of almost everywhere in the world. So, there are regulators for each different industrial sector and they work in their own little bubble, being in complete control of whether it’s the Securities Commission, central banks or telecommunications agency.’
‘For users, their data flows through all the industries. The day you buy a Ford, it goes through a banking provider by way of your payment data and gives your details to all the Walmarts and other retailers of the world. You know you’re crossing telecommunications networks. So, your data is fungible. This brings back the point of people being the weakest link because the ones who can create strength, which are the regulators, don’t collaborate. Collaboration between regulators is the new reality, and creating frameworks where information and knowledge is cross-pollinated so that users’ data remains safe. This is the biggest picture of data governance.’ Bobby explained.
‘SMEs really need to understand that end point security should not be taken lightly, your small company might be an entry point to a bigger organisation. Cyber attackers will always find the easiest route to their main victim and one of your company might be it. It is not impossible for an attacker to get access to a larger organisation or banks, from an SME who they’re dealing with directly.’ Bobby warned. ‘Digital asset security is not just about protecting your own business, but also your role in the economy. You might be an unwitting actor to a crime you never thought would commit but are involved in involuntarily, because of your lack of protection.’ He added.
‘Hacking of businesses is very common nowadays, that this week alone, five government agencies in the US were hacked. One of the bigger companies were also hacked, which was Home Depot. This incident has probably shaken their customers’ confidence in them. This goes to show that cyber-attacks have become more robust and advanced, we need to always keep abreast on cyber security to stay safe.’ Rieva mentioned. ‘It is really important to be transparent with your customers when you’re being hacked. Your reputation will hurt more if you try to cover up. All you need to do is be honest with your customers about the incident and assure them that you are doing all you can to sort things out.’ She said, ending the session.
For more information, contact Faizah Jaafar at +6019 399 7746 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow WIEF Foundation on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter for regular updates on future events and happenings. Visit us at www.wief.org.
About World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation
World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation was established in 2006. It is the organising body of the annual World Islamic Economic Forum. The Forum serves as a focal point where country leaders, captains of industry, emerging entrepreneurs, academics and other stakeholders from the Muslim World and beyond, meet to build bridges through business. The Foundation also undertakes various capacity building programmes under the WIEF initiatives of the Businesswomen Network (WBN), Young Leaders Network (WYN), Education Trust (WET) and Roundtable Series (WRT). For more information, visit www.wief.org
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About WIEF Education Trust (WET)
WET believes that education is the key to progress for entire communities and societies. Launched in 2006 at the 2nd WIEF in Islamabad, Pakistan, its goal is to garner support and resources from the Muslim world to encourage education opportunities. Since then, WET has gone beyond its initial objectives.
Some of the programmes and activities pursued by WET included the WIEF Global Discourse, WIEF Occasional Papers, WIEF Initiative on regenerative medicine, Awqaf Exchange @ WIEF, WIEF Young Graduates Entrepreneurship Workshop, Workshop on financial inclusion, and WIEF Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.
About WIEF Global Discourse
The WIEF Global Discourse Series provides an opportunity to discuss and exchange new ideas on current issues relating to science and technology between experts, academicians, researchers, professionals, industrialists and students. Last year’s Global Discourse was on 4th Industrial Revolution held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 30 October 2019.
Dato’ Ts Dr Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab
Chief Executive Officer
Dato’ Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab is CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia. He has 30 years’ experience in the telecom and IT sectors. He has spearheaded and served various national and international cyber security platforms including as co-chair of the cyber security working group for CSCAP since 2015. He was a Canadian-based POLCYB non-executive Board of Directors until 2018, an OIC Task Force Member on ICT and cyber security, and a Fellow at Malaysian Institute of Management.
Dato’ Dr Amirudin was appointed as Vice-Chair of OIC Science and Technology Committee and Executive Committee Member of Annual Coordination Meeting of OIC Institutions. He was ratified by APEC ECSG as an Expert Member and appointed as Advisory Board Member of The Economist Intelligence Unit on Asia Smart City Program 2016. He serves as board member of Technology Park Malaysia and Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) as well as Chairman of National ICT Standard Committee.
Founding Chairman and CEO @Matryzel Consulting Inc.
Bobby Varanasi is Founding Chairman and CEO of Matryzel Consulting Inc, USA, an independent advisory firm. He has over two decades of experience in consulting and management across technology, business services and building global operations. He advises federal governments across North and South America, Middle East, North Africa, Asia-Pacific and Australia on ICT sector development. He also advises Fortune 500 customer organisations and emerging market entrepreneurs on various aspects including strategy and inter-party trust ecosystems. Bobby is a board member for IAOP as well as Global Sourcing Council, and an Exco member of Malaysia-Australia Business Council. He is Co-founder of ThynkBlynk, an Executive Director for Sigmax-e and external advisor for Angstrohm Technologies. He mentors various tech startups in Malaysia. He is a Certified Outsourcing Professionals (COP), a certified Core Banking Professional (HSBC) and an ISO 9000 and CMMi Quality Systems Auditor.
President and CEO @GrowBiz Media
Rieva Lesonsky is President and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship as well as the blog SmallBizDaily.com. She is a nationally-known speaker, bestselling author, and authority on entrepreneurship and has covered the industry for more than 40 years. Prior to starting GrowBiz Media, she was the long time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur magazine. She wrote the bestselling Start Your Own Business. Her newest book is Small Business Hacks: 100 Shortcuts to Success. Rieva regularly writes about small business and entrepreneurship for print and digital media outlets. She also consults with, and produces, content for corporations about entrepreneurs as well as small business owners. She is a member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.
Glenreagh Sdn Bhd
Dato’ Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab is CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia. He has 30 years’ experience in the telecom and IT sectors. He has spearheaded and served various national and international cyber security platforms including as co-chair of the cyber security working group for CSCAP since 2015. He was a Canadian-based POLCYB non-executive Board of Directors until 2018, an OIC Task Force Member on ICT and cyber security, and a Fellow at Malaysian Institute of Management. Dato’ Dr Amirudin was appointed as Vice-Chair of OIC Science and Technology Committee and Executive Committee Member of Annual Coordination Meeting of OIC Institutions. He was ratified by APEC ECSG as an Expert Member and appointed as Advisory Board Member of The Economist Intelligence Unit on Asia Smart City Program 2016. He serves as board member of Technology Park Malaysia and Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) as well as Chairman of National ICT Standard Committee.