Do more to help SMEs fight cyber threats

A cyber attack is arguably one of the more severe threats facing Singapore, which relies heavily on technology for day-to-day operations.

But while there has been a concerted effort to guard the nation's information technology infrastructure and services (S'pore rolls out high-level cyber security strategy; Oct 11, 2016), the Government should not neglect the protection of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) against cyber threats.

After all, SMEs make up 99 per cent of the total number of enterprises in Singapore, based on the data published by the Department of Statistics.

Compared with larger corporations, SMEs may not have the resources to adopt adequate and appropriate cyber security solutions.

While there are indeed several low-cost tech solutions in the market, cash-strapped SMEs would still consider extra security a luxury.

A more holistic approach would be to mandate the adoption of cyber security solutions, coupled with relevant courses to improve the cyber security posture of SMEs.

To help with the cost of protection, the Government could provide partial subsidies to SMEs that are truly in need of them.

This is an area where a public-private partnership would be helpful.

In the light of the cyber security climate, it would be prudent to take a proactive step to secure the digital assets used by SMEs here.

Yong Jun Jie

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2017, with the headline 'Do more to help SMEs fight cyber threats'. Print Edition | Subscribe