As digital and online activity continues to intensify globally, enterprises within several industries and sectors continue to implement, adopt, and utilize technology hoping to boost their businesses across several fronts. Thus, the topic of cyber security is becoming increasingly relevant.
Given that technology and its many advancements can sometimes lead to cyber security threats such as third-party software, ransomware, and data vulnerabilities, digital safety is fast becoming an essential component to safely ensuring continued business and economic development.
In Asia specifically, the Singapore cyber insurance market has recently seen an increase in activity, as vulnerable business owners seek some form of protection from unwanted and dangerous cyber security threats.
Emerging Importance Among SMBs
Based on reports from tech website ZDNet, small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) in Singapore expressed interest in opting for cyber insurance due to an overall inability to sustain the high costs related to cyber security solutions. While having cyber insurance does not directly address the issue of digital threats, there is a better sense of business security.
For one, SMBs who do not possess the adequate tools to directly deal with these digital threats will worry less about maintenance costs related to cyber security infrastructure. Moreover, in the event of a cyber-attack, businesses with cyber insurance would also be able to reimburse losses incurred. Businesses will also have access to related services such as security assessment which ultimately help business owners better understand the current state of their enterprises’ digital safety.
Just this August, The Straits Times reported that a local eye clinic in Singapore was the victim of a ransomware attack wherein nearly 73,500 patients’ privileged data was compromised. While the report stated that no significant damage was suffered, such an attack has several worrisome implications on the affected business. Not only does a cyber-attack disrupt daily operations, but it also rattles customer confidence, which in the long term can also negatively influence future investors. Although the eye clinic was fortunate enough to escape relatively unscathed, other SMBs may not be so lucky. Within this context, the importance of cyber insurance in Singapore becomes far more evident.
While these cyberattacks are a cause of concern for domestic businesses, Singapore is taking steps to bolster the country’s cyber security infrastructure. Aside from establishing the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) in April 2015, the said agency also recently launched its fourth cyber security awareness campaign “Better Cyber Safe than Sorry” to educate its citizens on relevant issues.
Additionally, GovTech—which is Singapore’s government digital services body—currently offers three crowdsourcing initiatives to help assess the country’s current cyber security landscape: the Vulnerability Rewards Programme (VRP), the Government Bug Bounty Programme (GBBP), and the Vulnerability Disclosure Programme (VDP) are all incentivized projects wherein citizens are rewarded for helping discover cyber security flaws that government agencies failed to discover.
Perhaps most significantly though, the Singaporean government is also seeking help from international parties to further strengthen its cyber security infrastructure. Most notably, the CSA recently announced in August that the country has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States. By entering such an agreement, Singapore indicates the government’s continued desire to provide its businesses and citizens with the best cyber security possible.
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