Technological developments have come thick and fast in the kingdom, with mobile phone penetration reaching 25.05 million according to a report by We Are Social and Hootsuite. The 2019 Digital Cambodia report highlighted an 8.9 percent growth in the number of mobile subscriptions owned and a 56 percent growth in internet users compared to 2018.
Clearly Cambodia is catching up and with the Kingdom playing host to one of the largest regional cybersecurity conferences in November this year, the ambitious push towards digital transformation and Industry 4.0 are starting to look more realistic.
“It is difficult to speak of all Asia as a single whole, as the situation is not the same in different countries,” says Doron Sivan – CEO of Israeli tech firm, Cronus Cyber Security Technologies and a guest speaker at the Cyber Security Asia 2019 conference in Phnom Penh on Nov 4.
“However, the feeling is that there is a gap of several years, compared to Western Europe and the United States. The market is less mature, and it seems that countries will have to make a rapid leap, as the threats today are global,” Mr Sivan notes.
The Isreali CEO acknowledges that numerous countries across Asia have set about creating the regulatory framework within which cybersecurity can operate, but this, he says, is just the beginning.
“We have strategically chosen to focus on the Asian market because we have identified this gap, and we believe that we can allow companies and organisations to shorten the gap in a relatively short time,” he explains.
While for many, the looming threat of global, borderless cybercrime serves to highlight the inadequacies in Asia’s digital security, others see this as a chance for countries like Cambodia to leapfrog stages of cyber development and learn from other more digitally developed nations.
In 2017, the Center for Long-term Cybersecurity published a report entitled ‘Asian Cybersecurity Futures’ that “Unlike internet expansion in the West, where access and speed were the first priorities and security was largely an afterthought, Asia can shape its cybersecurity at an earlier stage in its internet growth.”
It goes on to urge Asian policymakers and private sector leaders to take cybersecurity seriously and embody it into all future developments regarding digital economies.
“At this stage in Asia’s internet expansion and economic growth, strategic planning and analysis can have a profound impact on Asia’s cybersecurity and economic future,” it reads.
“Rather than adopt a piecemeal approach, strategic planners can look across opportunities and risks to shape the future. Effective strategies can help strengthen relationships across sectors, prepare for cyberattacks of significant consequence, and identify gaps in developing cybersecurity capabilities.”