How ethical are APAC businesses when it comes to security? The latest 2017 APAC Fraud report from assurance provider EY suggests that 47% of respondents said there is no specific policy that dictates how staff use personal devices for work-related activities, leaving organisations wide open to threats, information exposure and other risks.
49% of the 1698 respondents said they conduct business using those mobile devices - even if they may have been issued a specific mobile device for the purpose. 66% said they know there are risks associated with using personal devices for work, but 53% do so anyway.
The report also highlights the adage that humans are an organisation's weakest link, with 55% of respondents saying that careless or unaware employees had increased their risk exposure to attacks.
The danger of using personal devices at work isn't just limited to employees. 53% of respondents in senior management said they frequently conduct business using their own personal device.
“Asia-Pacific can no longer afford to be complacent when it comes to cyber-threats. Whilst companies often think of cyber attacks as external threats, they would be well advised not to ignore the very real threats posed internally," comments Rob Locke, EY Oceania managing partner of Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services.
However, 63% of respondents had undergone data security training, an 8% increase since 2015. Executives are also investing more in data security initiatives. 49% of respondents said they would spend more on training in the next year.
"Current cyber policies are inadequate in safeguarding against rogue employees and criminals who are intent on stealing data, intellectual property and even cash. Companies must design and enforce policies that help mitigate the risk of both external and internal cyber-attacks," Locke says.
Wider ethical, fraud and bribery trends found that 93% of respondents want to work for an organisation that is compliant but jargon and inconsistent policies are confusing.
Organisations must be ethical and clear about business clarity. Chris Fordham, EY's Asia Pacific Leader of Fraud Investigation and Dispute services, explains:
“Employees are demanding absolute clarity and anything short of that impacts morale, hiring, retention and overall business performance. Corporates need to simplify their compliance protocols to ensure employees follow them.”
Locke adds that CEOs, boards and senior management must not only set compliance, but also ensure that their organisation is following them.
Only 54% of APAC respondents believe their anti-bribery/anti-corruption policies are working, and 61% said they have a whistleblowing hotline in their organisation.
While that hotline may exist, employees hesitate to use it as they do not trust their organisation's protection of anonymity or follow up with a proper course of action. Instead, 28% said they would use an external law enforcement hotline and social media to report misconduct.
“It’s encouraging that more companies in Asia-Pacific now have whistleblower hotlines. But we’re concerned that employees still don’t have enough faith that their reports will be handled confidentially or that these reporting mechanisms will result in proper follow-up and punishment for the guilty parties," Locke concludes.