Malaysia's digital economy clinches top-notch global security expertise

Malaysia's digital economy clinches top-notch global security expertise
MDEC CEO, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood (R) signing the MOU with PGI CEO Barry Roche at PGI Cyber Academy in Bristol, UK. - Photo by Astro AWANI/Kamarul Ariffin
LONDON: Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) on Monday formalised a strategic partnership with the Protection Group International (PGI), the top United Kingdom cybersecurity company with proven pioneering world class expertise.

MDEC, known as an outfit to spearhead the country’s digital economy partnership with the UK on multiple fronts is adamant that the joint-venture will not only secure the rapidly growing Malaysian digital economy from increasing cyber threats but also as the hub for managed security services for the Asia Pacific region.
“This is where the immediate need right now. They need better, more comprehensive, holistic capability building and that is why PGI -- in the next six months -- will have PGI’s courses and consultants who will be in Malaysia to serve the immediate needs of these companies.

"By the virtue of signing the MOU today, there's a discussion about a more sustainable footprint of PGI to serve long-term digital requirements in Malaysia.
"Digital economy is growing in Malaysia and in the region. It is of absolute critical hygiene factor and a lot of times this is something that does not get that kind of visibility but if you don’t have a robust and solid cyber security know how and expertise in the country, it will have a limiting factor in ensuring the growth of digital economy,” said MDEC chief executive officer, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

Yasmin was speaking to reporters after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between MDEC and PGI at the PGI Cyber Academy Campus in Bristol here today.

PGI has evolved rapidly from a startup company providing maritime security services to an established group of companies in 2013 with the acquisition of nine companies specialising in cyberintelligence, cybersecurity, protective security training and international capacity building. It is now poised to work towards not only sharing the expertise and skills but also setting up the PGI Cyber Academy in Malaysia.

PGI CEO, Barry Roche said the move is streamlined to enable the transfer of knowledge and creating a legacy within Malaysia that can serve the country for the future.

"Initially we come over and we assess the needs and we bring our skills and knowledge. Then it is about transferring that knowledge to Malaysians for Malaysia to build a capability that will see (them) many years into the successful future.”

Strategically, Malaysia is positioned to address the alarming shortage in the global cybersecurity industry.

According to a survey conducted by the Intel Security and Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), it is estimated that by 2019, between one to two million cyber security positions will be left unfilled and 33 per cent of respondents believed their organisation was a target for hackers who knew their cybersecurity was not strong enough. 

“There probably is no more exciting or more fundamentally wealth generating activity that you could be in apart from cyber security. Cyber security is a growing industry. It will be with us for many many years to come and the earning opportunity for young people in Malaysia coming into cyber security I think will be exceptional,” said Roche.

The MDEC-PGI partnership will also empower Malaysia to leverage its capability as an increasingly lucrative worldwide cybersecurity market. The latter was alued at more than USD75 billion in 2015 out of which the fastest future growth is targeted to be in Asia-Pacific with an estimated value of USD32.95 billion by 2019 according to Cyber Security Exchange Asia.

Acccording to Yasmin, MDEC is poised at inking more lucrative partnerships in the UK, a move made possible by an MOU signing between MDEC and Department of International Trade UK in June, this year.

Malaysia as a fast developing nation in digital economy has shown significant maturity and as  digital economy pioneers like the UK in advancing boundaries of innovation not only in Cyber Security as proven today but also in Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud computing, Big Data Analytics (BDA), e-Commerce, financial technology and artificial intelligence.