Why China Is A Corporate Cybersecurity Nightmare

China Cybersecurity

Protecting corporate data is hard, no matter where you are. But in China, companies face even more cybersecurity challenges than elsewhere. Here’s why — and what to do about it:

  1. China’s workforce is young and inexperienced. In a recent labour market survey by the German Chamber of Commerce, more than 64% of companies said they considered insufficient work experience a problem when hiring local staff. Lack of work experience doesn’t just mean a lack of regular office tasks, but also a lack of experience handling corporate data and protecting it against hackers and nosey competitors. Even in countries with a mature workforce, compliance and data protection are major challenges — in China, it’s a cybersecurity nightmare.

  2. China’s workforce keeps quitting their job. Businesses in the PRC are dealing with an average staff turnover of 10-13 percent per year. Every single staff departure is a risk of loosing valuable information to a competitor. Moreeover, the newcomers hired to replace those who left are even more likely to cause a data breach until they are fully trained.

  3. China’s workforce loves technology. While a love for innovative tech is a great asset, the enthusiastic use of Wechat, Baidu Cloud, QQ, and similar products for business creates a whole new range of cybersecurity risks for employers. Personal devices are difficult to secure, easy to loose, and impossible to control when an employee leaves the company and takes valuable contacts and content with them.

  4. China runs more outdated software than most other countries. About one in five computers in China is still running Windows XP, a version that has not received regular security updates for years. That’s 19 percent of all personal computers, according to an assessment by Baidu, compared to a global average of 7 percent. This vast amount of outdated software is one reason why China suffered particularly badly from recent ransomware attacks. For companies, every machine running outdated software is a potential source of cyberattacks. Computers running outdated software that employees use at home are easy targets to obtain access to company accounts. And if staff brings personal devices with known vulnerabilities to the office, they make it easier for hackers to penetrate the corporate network.

All four of these challenges have one thing in common: They can’t be fixed by technology alone. The missing piece to effectively protect corporate information from targeted attacks is to invest in your staff — helping your teams do the right thing, knowing not to click that malicious link, not open that ransomware attachment, not loose that laptop full of sensitive files, not share that crucial document on their personal account, and definitely not keep company files at home after leaving the team. Most data breaches happen because insufficiently trained employees inadvertently help hackers break into corporate computers. In China’s particularly challenging security landscape, every RMB spent to harden the human defense parameter around your network counts quadruple.

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