Survey reveals huge gap in APAC SMEs’ cyber awareness and preparedness

Small and medium firms overestimate their capabilities to deal with breaches, insurer study finds

Survey reveals huge gap in APAC SMEs’ cyber awareness and preparedness


By Gabriel Olano

Chubb has released a survey of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in three major Asia-Pacific markets that has revealed a significant perception gap between cyber risk and how well these businesses are prepared to deal with it.

The survey, titled ‘Too small to fail?’, gathered data from 1,000 SMEs across Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia, revealed that most respondents believe they are in a better position than their larger competitors to manage a cyber incident (63% in Singapore, 60% in Australia, and 52% in Hong Kong).

However, the majority of SMEs have experienced a cyber incident in the last 12 months (71% in Hong Kong, 60% in Australia, and 56% in Singapore); and the majority of cyber incidents resulted from internal factors such as system breakdowns and human error. According to Chubb, this signifies that despite their feelings of security, SMEs have a relatively larger exposure, due to facing the same risks as larger businesses, but do not have the same means to implement comprehensive protection, leaving significant risk uncovered.

“The survey results are consistent across the three markets,” said Andrew Taylor, cyber underwriting manager, Chubb Asia-Pacific. “Many SMEs believe they are too small to be targeted by cyber criminals or that any internal issues will not greatly impact them. In effect, they think they are ‘too small to fail’. However, our own claims data highlights numerous small business compromises and ransomware events that are decimating the cashflow of small businesses.”

According to the survey, 62% of respondents believe they are not aware of all the cyber threats they face, while 28% of SMEs who experienced cyber incidents did not know which data files were affected.

It also revealed the lack of understanding of cyber insurance, with around 57% of SMEs in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia not fully understanding the insurance solutions available, while 61% have never purchased cyber insurance.

“Clearly, there is a need for more education about the value of cyber insurance,” said Tim Stapleton, senior vice president, cyber & technology, Chubb Overseas General. “At Chubb, our value proposition is more than just the traditional ‘promise to pay’ – we offer enterprise-wide support solutions for the benefit of our insured. That’s why we place emphasis on our preventive advice as well as our response support.”

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