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Spotlight on Japan: Digital Transformation Initiatives Heighten Risk Levels 

As Japanese organizations roll out digital transformation initiatives and expand remote workforces, security teams need to address new risks in the new world of work.

The rapid transition to remote work and an intense focus on meeting customer demands through digital transformation initiatives have exposed Japanese organizations to business-impacting* cyberattacks over the past 12 months. The vast majority of these targeted remote workers (72%) and third-party software vendors (72%), underscoring the need for greater visibility into the expanding attack surface, improved management of user privileges and continuous monitoring of the software supply chain.

The self-reported data is drawn from a commissioned study of more than 1,300 security leaders, business executives and remote employees worldwide, including 65 respondents in Japan. The study, Beyond Boundaries: The Future of Cybersecurity in the New World of Work, was conducted in April 2021 by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Tenable.

Remote work heightened risk

While many aspects of the pandemic response are certainly unprecedented, the remote-work experiment in Japan accelerated trends that already existed in the world of IT. With a workforce more distributed than ever and devices connecting to new home networks, the cyberattack surface expanded, opening the door to new attack vectors.

Unsurprisingly, in the past year, a staggering 93% of Japanese organizations experienced a business-impacting cyberattack, with 64% suffering an attack that resulted from vulnerabilities in systems put in place in response to the pandemic. 



Despite this elevated risk, it's looking more certain than ever before that the work-from-home model is not going away, even as organizations emerge from crisis mode and begin planning their workforce strategies. More than two thirds (67%) of Japanese organizations plan to have employees working from home at least once a week in the next 12-24 months.

Remote work priorities continue to scale

As enterprise security and business leaders turn their eyes forward and continue to plan for the new work order, it's important to ensure that all CIOs and CISOs are equipped with the necessary tools and resources needed to enable large-scale remote work. Over the next two years, Japanese organizations will continue to focus on enhancing existing digital platforms (78%), moving non-business-critical functions to the cloud (63%) and expanding software supply chains (55%).

But, security doesn't appear to be as dynamic as the workplace itself, highlighting an incongruence between future priorities and the reality of securing those plans. An alarming 44% of security and business leaders believe their organizations are only somewhat or not prepared at all to secure their remote workforce.

To prevent history from repeating itself, it's clear that organizations need to eliminate blindspots by shoring up their defenses to support the next phase of their workforce model.



Securing the new reality


Remote work isn't a novelty but a norm and organizations need to ensure that their people, processes and technology are able to function securely with minimal interruption. Therefore, security teams need to revisit their security policies and redesign their digital infrastructure to accommodate the remote workforce of tomorrow.

Organizations cannot rely on yesterday's tools to secure this new reality. This starts with adopting a never trust, always verify approach throughout the organization. It calls for viewing trust as a vulnerability and posits that any notion of trust be removed from digital systems entirely. Organizations also need a modern, comprehensive strategy to quickly and accurately identify vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in their dynamic infrastructures, one which delivers clear guidance and recommendations on how to prioritize and remediate any risks.

If cybersecurity strategy fails to keep pace with business changes, today's risk could become tomorrow's reality.

*A business-impacting cyberattack is one which results in one or more of the following outcomes: loss of customer, employee, or other confidential data; interruption of day-to-day operations; ransomware payout; financial loss or theft; and/or theft of intellectual property.

View more study highlights here

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