Digital Risks in Developing Countries: Strategies and Challenges, Part 2

To face digital challenges and risks, a fundamental step is the establishment of a robust Cybersecurity Framework.

In the first section, the risks and digital threats faced by developing countries are outlined, presenting significant challenges to economic growth and business continuity amid an uncertain and volatile digital landscape. Companies in these countries must prioritize digital risk management to address cyberattacks, data breaches, and privacy violations, all of which can lead to financial losses, reputational damage, and operational disruptions. The challenges are compounded by the need to comply with stringent regulations, resource limitations, uncertainty in investments, and potential disruptions to the supply chain. In response to these conditions, it is crucial for companies in developing countries to allocate investments in robust cybersecurity measures and devise effective and comprehensive risk mitigation and management strategies.

Given the inevitability of digital risks in an increasingly deep digitalization era and reliance on digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI), a careful and comprehensive strategy is necessary to address the challenges and risks. This is not just about protecting company assets and operations, but also about ensuring business sustainability and long-term growth.

Robust Cybersecurity Framework

To face digital challenges and risks, a fundamental step is the establishment of a robust Cybersecurity Framework. This includes investing in security solutions such as firewalls, antivirus software, encryption, intrusion detection, as well as updating systems and secure data backup and recovery procedures. It is also vital to educate employees about the dangers of phishing schemes, social engineering techniques, safe password practices, and recognizing suspicious activities.

Further, developing a proactive Incident Response Plan is crucial in responding to cyberattacks. This plan should include isolation steps, reporting, data recovery, and effective communication with stakeholders. In the context of Compliance and Governance, there needs to be an alignment of data protection policies with local regulations. In Indonesia, the full implementation of the Personal Data Protection Act (UU PDP), enacted in 2022, will be effective in 2024, providing a two-year transition period for companies to comply.

Internationally, various countries have adopted Personal Data Protection Laws with varying scopes and maturity levels. Countries like South Africa and Brazil have successfully implemented comprehensive laws, while others like Vietnam and Serbia are in the early stages of implementation. It’s important to note that many other developing countries are in the process of formulating and/or implementing similar regulations. This underscores the importance of a comprehensive digital risk mitigation and management strategy that not only anticipates current threats but also adapts to upcoming regulatory changes.

Compliance and Governance

Regular security audits and compliance assessments with regulations are crucial steps in digital risk management. This process involves a systematic evaluation of the company’s IT infrastructure and security policies, based on international standards like ISO/IEC 27001 and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. The importance of this process lies in its ability to identify vulnerabilities, analyze associated risks, and develop effective mitigation strategies.

In terms of regulations, companies must ensure compliance with various laws, both local and international, such as the Personal Data Protection Act in Indonesia effective in 2024, the General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in Brazil, and Law on Cyber Security (LCS) in Vietnam. These assessments help identify security weaknesses and formulate action plans to address them, including policy updates and employee training, to improve the company’s security posture.

Through structured audits and assessments, companies can not only maintain high security standards but also meet regulatory compliance demands, while building trust with customers, partners, and regulators. This ongoing process affirms the company’s commitment to data security and privacy.

Risk Transfer and Insurance

In managing digital risks, one strategy that companies can consider is transferring risk to third parties, such as through cyber insurance. Cyber insurance provides financial protection against various types of losses that may arise from data breaches, cyberattacks, and the necessary recovery costs following an attack. It’s crucial for companies to carefully evaluate the coverage of cyber insurance policies and compare available options to ensure they obtain protection that matches their specific needs and risks faced.

Cyber insurance becomes particularly important in situations where the potential financial losses from a cyberattack are significant, for example, for companies that store massive volumes of customer data or for companies whose operations heavily depend on IT systems. This insurance can act as a financial safety net, providing recovery funds and helping companies to quickly recover without significantly disrupting business operations.

Before choosing cyber insurance, companies should consider factors such as the value of digital assets owned, the company’s cybersecurity history, and the potential risk of attacks they might face. This evaluation will assist in determining the needed coverage level and identifying insurance providers with the best offers that match the company’s risk profile. In-depth discussions with insurance providers are also necessary to understand in detail what the insurance policy covers and any specific conditions that apply.

Integrating cyber insurance as part of a digital risk management strategy offers an additional layer of protection for companies. With this protection, companies can operate more confidently, knowing that the financial impact of potential cybersecurity incidents can be minimized. However, it’s important to remember that cyber insurance is not a substitute for implementing solid cybersecurity practices but rather a complement to a company’s overall risk management framework.

Collaboration and Awareness

Collaboration and awareness are vital components in strengthening cybersecurity in the digital era. Good collaboration mechanisms between the government and the private sector, and active participation in industry groups or threat intelligence networks, allow companies to stay informed about the latest threats and effective prevention strategies. One best practice in this collaboration is establishing a national cybersecurity coordination center serving as a hub for exchanging information about cyber threats between the government and the private sector.

For example, Singapore has implemented the Cyber Security Agency (CSA), which actively protects the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats by bringing together stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The CSA coordinates national cybersecurity efforts, provides security guidelines, and encourages the exchange of information on cyber threats. Models like this highlight the importance of strategic partnerships between the government and the private sector in building a robust cybersecurity ecosystem.

Countries like the United States and the European Union have developed frameworks to facilitate cybersecurity information exchange through programs like Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) and the Networks and Information Security Directive (NIS Directive). These programs not only raise awareness of cyber threats but also strengthen response capacities to security incidents across various critical sectors.

Best practices in collaboration mechanisms involve establishing common standards and protocols that facilitate efficient and secure cybersecurity information exchange. This requires commitment from both parties to actively participate and share relevant insights, as well as investments in technology and human resources to support joint cybersecurity initiatives. Through effective and sustained collaboration, developing countries can strengthen their defense against cyber threats, protect digital assets, and ensure business continuity in an increasingly uncertain environment.

Investment in Skills and Talent

Investing in skills and talent is key to strengthening the cybersecurity foundation within companies, especially in developing countries. Supporting training and certification programs can help build a locally competent cybersecurity workforce. As a practical step, companies can send their employees to attend online training organized by accredited institutions or digital learning platforms offering cybersecurity courses. Such training not only enhances employees’ knowledge and skills in identifying and responding to cyber threats but also prepares them with industry-recognized certifications.

For small businesses that may have limitations in terms of financial and technical resources, utilizing managed security service providers (MSSPs) can be an efficient alternative. MSSPs offer services for monitoring, detecting, and responding to cybersecurity incidents, allowing businesses to have strong cyber defenses without the need for significant investment in internal infrastructure. Thus, companies can remain focused on their core operations while ensuring information security.

A concrete initiative in Indonesia is the establishment of the Cyber Security Hub by the Solo city government in Solo Techno Park. This initiative aims to consolidate resources, knowledge, and skills in cybersecurity, as well as increase awareness and response capabilities to cyber threats among businesses and the community. Programs like the Cyber Security Hub provide opportunities for the development of local talent and strengthen the overall cybersecurity ecosystem.

These steps highlight the importance of collaborative efforts among the government, the private sector, and educational institutions in building cybersecurity capacity. Through targeted investment in skills and talent, as well as leveraging existing resources like MSSPs, companies can enhance their resilience to cyber threats, ensuring business sustainability in an increasingly uncertain digital era.

Resilience by Design

Building resilience against digital risks requires a structured and proactive approach, with the concept of Zero Trust Architecture playing a key role in security system design. This architecture is based on the principle that security should not rely on trust assumptions about elements within the network, considering breaches as inevitable. By implementing network segmentation, strict access control, and multi-factor authentication, the system can minimize risks and limit potential damage from attacks. Access to system resources is scrutinized based on clear need, with identity verification and access rights being strictly and dynamically enforced.

Supply Chain Scrutiny is another critical aspect in building resilience. Collaborating with supply chain partners to ensure they adhere to established security standards is essential in mitigating security risks that may arise from third parties. This includes regular security evaluations, using service level agreements (SLAs) that include security aspects, and conducting security audits. Having alternative suppliers is also a vital part of contingency planning strategy, ensuring business operations continue even if there is a disruption with a primary supplier.

Implementing Zero Trust Architecture and rigorous scrutiny of the supply chain creates a comprehensive layer of defense, allowing companies to be more resilient against cyber threats. This strategy not only reduces vulnerabilities to external attacks but also prepares companies with well-developed plans to respond to incidents quickly and effectively. Through an integrated and layered approach, companies can ensure that security aspects are an intrinsic part of business operations, maintaining customer trust and minimizing the financial impact of security incidents.


In implementing these strategies, companies in developing countries must conduct a cost-benefit analysis to ensure cybersecurity investments are balanced with available resources. Support and commitment from senior management are crucial for the success of digital risk management strategies. With evolving cyber threats, companies need to adopt ongoing processes of risk assessment, mitigation, and adaptation.

Tuhu Nugraha
Tuhu Nugraha
Digital Business & Metaverse Expert Principal of Indonesia Applied Economy & Regulatory Network (IADERN)