Cybersecurity shortcomings hamper digital drive in Singapore

Digital transformation is revving up among firms in Singapore, but 65% say their progress is hindered by cyber risks, a survey by Frost & Sullivan shows.

The study covered 400 respondent organisations across the Asia-Pacific region, including 100 each from Australia, Hong Kong, India and Singapore.

Close to four in every five (78%) Singapore organisations don’t think about cybersecurity before embarking on digital transformation projects.

Less than half (47%) of the companies surveyed conducted regular breach assessments, and more than a third (37%) of firms in Singapore have encountered a data breach.

The study reveals that cloud is a key component of digital transformation (75% of respondents have adopted cloud) but many organisations think cybersecurity is the responsibility of their cloud service provider.

“It’s clear from this study that many Singapore firms are on the back foot when it comes to enterprise cybersecurity in the borderless organisation,” said Kenny Yeo, industry principal for APAC ICT at Frost & Sullivan.

“Security leaders need to look beyond perimeter security, leverage automation, and adopt a human-centric security approach that focuses on understanding users’ behavior on the network and within applications to effectively curb attacks,” Yeo said.

Results show that a big push for digital transformation among Singapore organisations, with 94% of respondents having embarked on a digital transformation journey, adopting emerging technologies including cloud computing, mobility, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

However, most organisations acknowledged that they are seriously hampered in the execution of their digital transformation projects due to rising cyberattacks.

One of the key reasons for this is Singapore business leaders’ less mature approach of not involving cyber security when designing digital transformation projects. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents did not consider cybersecurity until after their digital transformation projects had begun.

The study reveals the impact digital transformation is having on each organisation’s risk posture. As more digital technologies like cloud and mobility are built into businesses, it is opening each organisation up to more threats.

Data corruption, denial of service attacks, data exfiltration, general malware infection and insider threats emerged as the top security blind spots for Singapore organisations rolling out digital transformation. These five incident types have high levels of business impact and long recovery times.