Palo Alto Networks 2023 State of Cybersecurity ASEANNews

Palo Alto Networks: SMEs worry over security challenges of hybrid work

While the hybrid work setup offers many advantages, it has become a security challenge for organizations, regardless of their size. Palo Alto Networks’ recent report reveals that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines expressed uncertainties about the strength of their cybersecurity strategies within this work arrangement.

Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity solutions provider, has identified SMEs’ primary cybersecurity concerns, which include password attacks (63%), malware attacks (56%), and account takeovers (53%).

With hybrid work setup, 41% of companies heavily rely on cloud infrastructure. Within this statistic, 63% are apprehensive about password attacks, 56% fear vulnerabilities to malware attacks, and 53% are concerned about potential account takeovers.

Palo Alto Networks: PH records surge in cyber attacks
Ransomware attacks in PH surge by 60% — Palo Alto Networks

“It is crucial to remember that SMEs, just like larger organizations, hold valuable data sought after by cyber attackers for financial gain,” Steven Scheurmann, vice president for ASEAN at Palo Alto Networks.


In their efforts to digitalize, SMEs have moved their operations to the cloud, with some opting for the hybrid work model.

“However, hybrid work continues to pose challenges for SMEs in securing their cloud applications and services due to risks associated with unsecured home networks and personal devices,” Palo Alto Networks said.

While the report indicates that 90% of organizations in the Philippines are confident in their security measures, smaller businesses expressed less confidence in dealing with cybersecurity challenges. This is primarily attributed to limited cybersecurity budgets and a shortage of in-house cybersecurity expertise.

Aside from the risks of hybrid work, organizations in the country face three main cybersecurity challenges:

  1. Increasing digital transactions leading to greater exposure to cyber-risks (50%)
  2. Risks from personal devices or home networks accessing corporate networks (49%)
  3. Need to procure a wider array of cybersecurity solutions (44%)

Palo Alto Networks recommends that SMEs adopt a robust cybersecurity strategy, which may involve Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). This approach restricts access to critical data and systems to only authorized personnel. Businesses can also consider using AI-driven firewalls with machine learning to analyze network traffic, predict threats, and prevent cyberattacks.

“Even small-sized and resource-constrained businesses can establish a formidable security posture, rendering it challenging for attackers to breach, provided a strong cybersecurity hygiene culture prevails within the company,” Scheurmann said. “Holistic visibility, a zero-trust approach, and AI integration will help ensure that SMEs can scale up their cloud security to protect against both current and future threats, no matter where they choose to work.”