Security Series (II): Securing Singapore

Posted on 23/03/2017 by Jay Banghar


Following on from our last blog, an interview with an industry expert addressing the Future of Cloud Security and the challenges faced in the employment market caused by this technical evolution, this week, we consider the Security challenges faced by the Singapore Government.



Our industry expert identified three key areas that were of great importance; Early Warning Capabilities, Predictive Vulnerability and Securing the Smart Nation.

Early Warning Capability

The Singapore Government has long recognised the need “to build robust information and intelligence sharing channels” (Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs 2014).

With ever more sophisticated methods of attacks emerging, the ability of the Public Sector to collaborate with the Private Sector to identify vulnerabilities and create tailored solutions has never been more important. The capability to achieve this goal is diminished by the shortage of Cyber Security skills within the Public Sector. Thankfully, this has been recognised and the threat posed by an overreliance on the Private Sector to deliver Security Solutions is being addressed. This is evidenced by the recent announcement to “double the existing pool of cybersecurity professionals in Singapore to 600 over the next few years”.

Predictive Vulnerability

The key to maintaining Singapore’s status at the summit of the The Global Information Technology Report, is the need to predict the next generation of Security vulnerabilities.  The new breed of Threat Intelligence Vendors and availability of Predictive Analytics techniques bolstered by Machine Learning based tools, seeks to harness the power of the cloud without compromising Security.

However, with the Singapore Government’s conservative approach to cloud adoption, there is a need to take a two-tiered approach to tackle future vulnerabilities, concurrent with addressing the exposure of existing systems that are fast approaching legacy status. Again, it is clear that the Singapore Government, through the Cyber Security Agency (CSA), are tackling this approach firstly through the launch of Singapore’s first Cyber Ranges and secondly by implementing a policy of ‘air gapping’ to protect critical infrastructure.

Securing the Smart Nation

We previously explored the concerns of IoT Security. Let us now consider what actions the Singapore Government is taking to maintain the safe environment that we all enjoy.

Our expert contends that a policy of network isolation, whilst arguably a necessity, could have a counter-productive impact on Singapore’s vision to become a truly connected Smart Nation.  So, how can we realise the economic benefits of being a Smart Nation when the solutions to the Security issues raised by connecting ‘Everything’ from CCTV, street lights, rail signals to bicycles, are still being developed?  The answer is not a simple one. As there are no international standards or protocols for wireless technology and oftentimes obsolete automated, PLC / SCADA systems are easily compromised; the need to create effective Governance, Risk Management and Compliance policy, combined with state-of-the-art engineering is undeniable. Indeed, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information, highlighted this at the recent Smart Nation IoT Security Conference. 

@govsingapore taking clear steps toward their #smart #nation vision & #digitalisation | | via @e27co | @GovTechSG

— SearchElect (@SearchElect) March 22, 2017

This type of knowledge sharing event, commitment to training the next generation of elite Security experts and a perceptive approach to the solutions offered by the Private Sector, will be key to ensuring Singapore’s vision is actualised.

I would love to learn your thoughts on Security in the Public sector and am actively seeking to partner with companies and talented professionals who are helping the Government to stay Secure.

Please get in touch to discuss further!

Jay Banghar

+65 6589 8787