Security is the foundation of Singapore’s Smart Nation
Tay Bee Kheng
Managing Director, Singapore and Brunei
Vision & Strategy, Innovation, Thought Leadership, Digitization, Smart and Connected Communities
This week, we are participating in the Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) 2017, the region’s leading platform for the cybersecurity community to come together. With the theme “Building a Secure and Resilient Digital Future through Partnership”, this year’s SICW emphasises the importance of forging partnerships in securing the use of cyberspace, especially as Singapore brings the Smart Nation vision to reality.
Through our participation at the GovWare Conference, our exhibition booth and various closed-door events, SICW gives us the opportunity to review the progress already made in securing Singapore’s Smart Nation, and set our sights firmly on the next steps.
Security is fundamental to businesses in the Smart Nation
Great strides have been made by the Government since setting out the Smart Nation vision three years ago. Besides the launch of SICW and the formation of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, research is proceeding into self-driving vehicles, assistive technology to provide support for an aging population, and urban transport planning among others. Soon, Singaporeans will be able to enjoy the convenience of contactless payments as we morph into a cashless society.
To further build on such technologies, it is critical that businesses have the right infrastructure to protect citizens’ safety and drive digital agility. Here, global technology players like Cisco have a critical role in sharing our innovation, technology and expertise to ensure cybersecurity is at the heart of our country’s digitisation plan.
Cisco’s partnership with ST Electronics Info-Security (STEE) to address the growing threat of cyber breaches and crime in Singapore is one such example. Together, the two organisations will provide an integrated platform to deliver full-time, proactive, systematic threat monitoring and management to Singapore Government Agencies and businesses. With a platform to keep critical networks optimized, the authorities and businesses can focus on supporting new technology initiatives that innovate to bring the Smart Nation vision to reality.
Cybersecurity drives Smart Nation innovation and growth opportunities
Cybersecurity is a strategic advantage that not only protects Singapore but unlocks new potential for Smart Nation technologies, not just as a way to stop threats. One of the biggest downsides to cybersecurity weakness is how it inhibits innovation. New business models are only sustainable if it is secure and citizens have confidence in that security.
Organizations – or countries – that make cybersecurity a vital foundation of their digital growth strategies are uniquely positioned to take advantage of new innovations and growth opportunities.
Closing the security talent gap
Singapore’s severe shortage of cyber security skills has long been discussed, and is only getting more pressing. In particular, there is a gap in cognitive and analytical skills needed to protect the infrastructure in Singapore.
Research indicates there will be a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019 – that’s just two years away; and a recent report found that nearly 85% of organizations believe half or fewer applicants for open security jobs are qualified, and over 50% of organizations experience delays of up to 6 months to find qualified security candidates. What these facts and figures say is clear – the race to find and keep top security talent is upon us and becoming more difficult than ever to win.
To address this, part of the national cybersecurity strategy is to boost the cybersecurity profession in a number of ways. This includes instituting clear career pathways, promoting certification, and working with the industry and institutes of higher learning to attract new graduates and convert existing professionals from related fields.
Cisco’s Networking Academy offer programs that allow students to learn how to protect themselves online and in social media while discovering careers in cybersecurity. Cisco’s experience, expertise and innovative capabilities in cybersecurity technology, together with our initiatives to help overcome the human talent shortfall, put us in a strong position to collaborate with the public sector in ensuring that cybersecurity will not only protect our existing assets but also unleash the full potential of the Smart Nation.