Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important. Cybersecurity was identified as an emerging growth sector as it is projected to grow at 9.3% CAGR to S$900million, which will potentially create over 5,000 additional job openings by 2020.
Speaking at the Committee of Supply Debate on March 6, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications & Information, said, “As Singapore transitions into a digital economy, more and more aspects of everyday life will be made digital. In today’s landscape, we recognise that cyber-threats have been increasing in frequency, scale and sophistication as governments, businesses and consumers have become more reliant on information systems. No one is immune. And the Government is aware that it is a potential target.”
Thus, Singapore’s Cybersecurity Strategy coordinates efforts to build a resilient and trusted cyber environment. The Government has also taken necessary steps within the public service to strengthen the systems.
The Internet Surfing Separation policy is introduced to protect government systems and citizens’ data by removing one avenue which cyber-attackers can use to steal information. Besides setting up necessary infrastructure to ensure officers can still easily access the Internet for work, the government is adjusting and adapting its work processes, while introducing productivity solutions and tools to help maintain an efficient and productive public service.
There has been no impact to the public service delivery. Members of the public are still able to send and receive e-mails from government officers. Government digital services and transactions by the public and businesses have also been unaffected.
Dr. Ibrahim added, “We are working to ensure a smooth transition for public officers to meet the target of May 2017 implementation date. This separation is necessary and we will continue to review and calibrate our security measures to ensure our systems remain resilient and trusted.”
“Protecting Singapore’s cyberspace and Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) remains a core mandate of CSA. Cyber defence is now part of Total Defence, so the NS cyber vocation announcement by MINDEF is timely. It is an important part of the overall national strategy to build up a skilled workforce, with NSFs being deployed to CSA to augment capacities in protecting CIIs,” Dr Ibrahim added.
The nation is already growing its talent pipeline through up-skilling and re-skilling programmes under TeSA and the Cyber Security Associates and Technologists (CSAT) programme. Armed with NS cybersecurity experience, some NSFs might choose to take up careers in government agencies such as CSA, MINDEF, and GovTech, while others will enter the industry.
This will not only strengthen the wider cybersecurity ecosystem, but also become future cybersecurity entrepreneurs – creating jobs and economic growth.
To complement Singapore’s manpower development efforts in the cybersecurity space, the Government will introduce a Cybersecurity Professional Scheme to attract, develop and retain cybersecurity practitioners in the public sector.
Centrally managed by the CSA, the scheme will develop a core of cybersecurity specialists to be deployed across agencies to support Singapore’s cyber defences.
As part of the ongoing efforts to professionalise the wider cyber workforce, the scheme will also provide a framework to catalyse growth and uplift the overall industry.
Singtel for instance, is reaching out to students through an interactive online portal called the Cyber Security Experience (CSX). This portal will be launched soon and hopefully such efforts, will interest students to explore cybersecurity further and eventually join this exciting field.