As more employees are working from home due Covid-19, Singaporean firms are spending more on IT with greater emphasis on cyber-security measures and the use of remote collaboration tools.
A study by Acronis found that out of 200 Singapore company representatives polled, more than 85 per cent saw increased IT costs due to disruptions arising from the coronavirus pandemic, compared with an average of 72 percent globally. Only 8 percent said their IT costs were unchanged, compared with the global average of 20 percent.
Acronis’ chief information security officer Kevin Reed told The Straits Times that the bigger bill that Singapore firms are footing is likely due to higher standards that companies and employees have for remote communication. “In other countries, employees are satisfied with built-in laptop cameras, whereas in Singapore, residents prefer an HD camera, one from a trusted brand,” he said, adding that the costs of IT hardware, like dedicated webcams, have soared since the pandemic started due to supply constraints.
Besides new devices, Mr Reed noted that firms here could also be spending more on infrastructure upgrades like VPN gateways, which allow employees to access company networks remotely, and bolster the less secure home Wi-Fi networks of employees.
But as they spend more on IT, firms here are also more likely to prioritise cyber-security safeguards compared with their overseas counterparts, with 40 per cent of Singapore companies polled indicating that they made sure to scan for potential vulnerabilities and to patch loopholes in their systems. Worldwide, this was only at 26 percent.
This means companies here would be better protected against bad actors attempting to launch phishing attacks on employees to steal their data or hack into their systems.
The study also found that employees here were more eager to use workplace collaboration tools now that they have been working from home. More than 80 percent have started using such tools, which include video conferencing platforms Zoom and Webex, compared with 69 percent worldwide.
Singapore has one of the highest levels of adoption of such tools, the study found, which Mr Reed attributed to the Republic’s high Internet penetration rate.