Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regional economies in the world. Catalysed by the pandemic, the region’s digital economy is currently serving an estimated 440 million people online. By 2030, Southeast Asia’s internet economy is projected to grow to US$1 trillion.
However, the gains in the digital economy has seen corresponding growth in risks and challenges posed by cybercriminals. In particular, perpetrators are taking advantage of how digital adoption has outpaced digital literacy and cyber-awareness amongst users. Post-pandemic, Southeast Asia will continue to be a target for cyber-attacks, as the region seeks economic cooperation through digital trade and connectivity.
To address this concern, building cyber resilience in Southeast Asia is key to maximising the benefits of digitalisation.
The Cyber Resilience Framework is a reconceptualisation of existing cyber governance frameworks, with the aim of highlighting the adaptability component.
The framework provides a nuanced approach in understanding cyber capabilities focusing on two key pillars: the capability to lower the likelihood of an attack, and the capability to reduce the impact of an attack. The framework is composed of 4 key domains: 1) protect, 2) identify and detect, 3) respond and recover, and 4) adapt.
This is in line with the value of resilience in general, in which continual development in people, process and technology increases capacity to cope with uncertainty. Amidst the growing and evolving cyber threats, economies need to invest in cyber resiliency in a holistic manner, so as to sustainably protect digital networks.
- Increasing regional cooperation amongst agencies responsible for national data protection;
- Facilitating coordination within and beyond national borders of computer security incident response teams;
- Nurturing cybersecurity expertise; and
- Building a culture of cyber resilience across the whole of society, through awareness and competency development from the very young to elderly.
The publication of this paper is an invitation to a conversation. We hope that this paper will be used as a starting point to shape important discussions on how the region can formulate actionable policies and move towards making Southeast Asia’s digital economy safe, secure and resilient.