Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (sixth from left), with Mr David Koh, CE of CSA (sixth from right), and the winners of Singapore's inaugural Cybersecurity Awards.
By Jo-Ann Huang
The Cybersecurity Awards was organised by the Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP) and supported by the CSA, as well as seven major professional and industry associations.
Singapore’s cybersecurity sector has the potential to grow to $1 billion by 2020. But in order to realise this potential, the city-state needs to attract the best and brightest cybersecurity talent.
One way to do this is to recognise and reward exceptional people and developments in the industry – and this was exactly what took place at Singapore’s inaugural Cybersecurity Awards and Gala Dinner held on 23 February at Suntec City Convention Centre.
Six awards were given out in three main categories – Professionals, Enterprises and Students. Some of the night’s winners included Mr Jeremy Heng (Student Award), Professor Yu Chien Siang (Hall of Fame Award), and Dr Lim Woo Lip (Leader Award). Mr Emil Tan, an associate consultant with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), bagged the Professional Award.
Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) Chief Executive David Koh said the awards are a great way to recognise industry peers who have contributed greatly to the cybersecurity field. “We hope that it will serve to inspire the future generations to similarly come forward and contribute to the cybersecurity ecosystem.”
The event was organised by the Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP) and supported by the CSA, as well as seven major professional and industry associations – the Singapore Computer Society, SGTech, ISC (Singapore Chapter), ISACA Singapore Chapter, Cloud Security Alliance, itSMF Singapore Chapter and the Law Society of Singapore.
Mr Emil Tan, an associate consultant with IMDA, receiving the Professional Award from Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.
The awards come at a crucial time for Singapore, as it transforms into a digital economy and becomes increasingly connected.
“Singapore is digitalising in many areas to improve lives, but this also means that we are becoming ever more interconnected and vulnerable to cyberattacks on a wide range of targets,” said guest of honour Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information.
But with the passing of the Cybersecurity Bill in Parliament earlier in February, Dr Ibrahim said more emphasis is now placed on the proactive protection of Critical Information Infrastructure against cyberattacks.
The Bill also opens up opportunities for collaboration between the government and industry to co-develop capabilities and services.
“Singapore’s strong international reputation as a trusted and credible partner can also open many doors for cybersecurity businesses based in Singapore, making this a good place to pilot and launch cybersecurity initiatives.” Dr Yaacob added.
“So with all these opportunities, this is a very exciting time to be in the industry.”
Securing our future
As people are key to the growth of the cybersecurity sector, Dr Yaacob noted that the government is stepping up its collaborative efforts with industry players to boost the skill sets of cybersecurity professionals.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim: Strong cybersecurity is a key building block for Singapore’s digital transformation, so it is important to build up our cybersecurity capabilities by developing our talent and raising industry standards.
One example is the Cybersecurity Associates and Technologists (CSAT) programme – a joint effort by the Ministry of Communications and Information, CSA and IMDA. The programme helps fresh and mid-career ICT professionals enter the cybersecurity field.
Seven companies are already on board the programme, boasting several success stories.
Dr Yaacob shared the example of Accel (a subsidiary of StarHub), which has trained and converted ICT professionals under the CSAT programme and strengthened its cybersecurity capabilities in the areas of access and identity management, advanced analytics, active response and adaptive defence.
More recently on 6 March, IMDA and CSA launched Singapore’s first cybersecurity-focused accelerator programme, in partnership with the National University of Singapore and Singtel’s Innov8 venture capital fund. The programme – called the Innovation Cybersecurity Ecosystem at Block 71 (ICE71) – aims to nurture and help young start-ups in Singapore build cybersecurity products and services.
These government and private-sector efforts can only mean one thing – there is a strong demand for people to protect citizens and organisations through cybersecurity. Dr Yaacob put it this way: “Strong cybersecurity is a key building block for Singapore’s digital transformation, so it is important to build up our cybersecurity capabilities by developing our talent and raising industry standards.”
Read another story featuring three of the winners of the inaugural Cybersecurity Awards.