Remote working raised Singapore firms’ productivity but weakened cybersecurity

More than half of Singapore businesses (51%) suffered at least one data breach or cybersecurity incident since moving to work remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to a new study by Barracuda.

Commissioned by Barracuda and conducted by Censuswide last July, the study covered 1,055 responses from business and IT decision makers across several industries in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and India, and Singapore (204 respondents).

Results show that COVID-19 has accelerated the introduction of remote working by at least five years for 67% of organisations in Singapore.

Also, 61% of leaders reported increased productivity since shifting to a remote workforce, and 81% planning to retain remote working for employee productivity and business continuity once the pandemic is over.

According to the study, COVID-19 has also been the catalyst for 83% of organisations in Singapore to accelerate digital transformation plans in the next six months to ease the burdens placed on the traditional business model by remote working.

A key component of this transformation is cloud computing. On average, 78% of Singapore businesses have fast-tracked plans to move all data to a cloud-based model, with 79% believing that this shift will help reduce overall IT costs to support business growth.

However, a large number of organisations in Singapore (48%) do not have up-to-date cybersecurity strategies or solutions in place to cover all of the vulnerabilities posed by full-time remote working. This is made more difficult by 53% of organisations allowing employees to use personal email addresses and personal devices to conduct company work.

Among respondents,  48% said they expect an incident to occur in the next month and 64% are concerned about unknown threats that could cause business disruption in the next six months. Businesses also reported an increase in email phishing attacks over the same period (51%).