When Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the country’s cyber security strategy in October 2016, it marked a new chapter in the cyber security readiness roadmap of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Lee said Singapore’s cyber security strategy comprised of four pillars: building a resilient infrastructure, creating a safer cyber space, developing a vibrant cyber security ecosystem and strengthening international partnerships.
The developing a vibrant cyber security ecosystem pillar envisages developing companies and nurturing local startups. It also encourages fostering of closer partnerships between academia and industry to harness cyber security research and development (R&D).
It was in this context that BAE Systems – a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company with headquarters in London – announced the signing of a memorandum of collaboration (MOC) with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). This is to develop national capabilities through collaboration in capabilities-building and incident response.
The CSA was established in 2016 to combat cyber threats against Singapore. It is the national body overseeing cyber security strategy, education and outreach, and industry development. It is part of the Prime Minister’s Office and is managed by the Ministry of Communications and Information.
BAE Systems is among the world’s largest defence contractors and has global operations. In Southeast Asia, it has offices in Singapore and Malaysia.
“BAE Systems recognises the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in promoting cyber awareness using threat intelligence, boosting Singapore’s ecosystem to uplift homegrown cyber skills, and in opening up cross-industry collaboration with local companies,” said Boye Vanell, BAE Systems regional director ofAsia.
Glen Francis, president at CIO Academy Asia, Singapore, said: “It’s great that Singapore is partnering with established global organisation to strengthen the robustness of our technical capabilities. We can only be safer if industries and government collaborate globally. It is a warfare that cannot be fought alone.”
Read more about cyber security in the Asean region
- SMEs in the Asean region will be gateways to large enterprises for cyber criminals, unless they improve their security.
- Asean countries need legislation to motivate organisations to step up their cyber security activities.
- Security is a rising concern in the Asean region, with fears fuelled by events such as the recent hacking incident in Manila.
According to BAE Systems, alongside CSA, it explore ways to take security steps in three key areas: grow the cyber ecosystem to create job opportunities and improve skills for Singaporeans; increase capabilities and technologies for the Smart Nation; and ensure protection of the citizens.
BAE Systems will create job opportunities and improve skills for Singaporeans through partnerships forged with local organisations to engage in joint R&D to develop cyber technologies unique to the Singaporean landscape.
It will also support industry incubator and accelerator programs for cyber security startups, and has pledged continuous contribution to national manpower, development and education frameworks on cyber security.
The collaboration to enhance capabilities and technologies for the Smart Nation project will include efforts in areas such as critical information infrastructure (CII), the internet of things (IoT) and national operational capabilities.
The third area of collaboration, protection of the people, will see BAE Systems help create a framework for national incidence response and supporting the growth of the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCert) to best serve citizens.
The SingCert is the national security incident response that disseminates timely information and alerts on the latest violation security issues to the general public.
“BAE systems is definitely a good choice for the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore to partner with,” said Cathy Huang, senior research manager at IDC’s Asia-Pacific cloud and services research group.
“It will enhance the ecosystem that CSA is building. Other than the enterprise offerings which are common to other security technology and services providers, BAE systems is specialised in industrialised security, particular for industries such as aviation and military. Such collaboration means a potential uplift on the security standards in Singapore and the region.”