Digital transformations in Australia are moving at a snail’s pace relative to regional neighbours, according to research by French technology multinational Thales.

The company surveyed more than 500 executives in the region for its latest Data Threat Report, finding a rush to leverage digital technologies is causing security and complexity headaches for APAC organisations.

But the data — collected before COVID-19 struck — also suggests very few Australia and New Zealand companies are approaching digital maturity.

Just eight per cent of ANZ organisations say they are either aggressively disrupting the markets they participate in or embedding digital capabilities that enable enterprise agility. The report’s authors suggest the poor showing compared to regional neighbours — which were all 20 per cent or more — is due to a fragmented local market made up predominantly of SMBs.

“Australia is a fragmented market, with construction, services, retail, agriculture, accommodation, and food services representing a majority of the business counts,” the report states.

“Digitalisation in Asia Pacific has mostly been an enterprise-centric theme and many of these large organisations have made good progress.”

Australia has spent up big on security, compared to others in the region, as workers migrated to remote work, according to the Thales report. Australian organisations blew out their 2020 security budgets by 47 per cent, rivalled only by China at 50 per cent.

Brian Grant, ANZ Regional Director of Data Security solutions at Thales, says with more sensitive data moving to the Cloud it is critical that local organisations make sure that security spend is going to the right places. 

 “While some organisations are talking a good story, with privacy, data protection and compliance often discussed at the board level, predicted spending shows that most have the wrong focus. Our research found that next year data protection will fall below the rate of attention, to an average of only 14 per cent of IT security budgets. 

“This laissez faire attitude to data protection is leaving organisations across the region vulnerable to attack, with the potential to stifle innovation and business agility for years to come as a consequence of the loss in customer confidence, and impact on the bottom line from digital initiative failures or data breach remediation costs.”

The Thales report found only 52 per cent of of sensitive data stored in the Cloud is encrypted.

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