Cyber security firms welcome to set up base in Singapore: Teo Chee Hean

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean at the opening ceremony for Ensign InfoSecurity's new global headquarters in Kallang on Sept 16, 2019. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Global cyber security firms, large and small, that set up base in Singapore to grow their businesses and capabilities can tap the Republic's technical prowess, skilled manpower and networks, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Monday (Sept 16).

Mr Teo, who is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security, added that these companies can use Singapore's global networks for cross-border collaboration, which is crucial for cyber security, given how it is an international field.

He was speaking at the opening of the global headquarters of Ensign InfoSecurity, the cyber security company formed last year by local telco StarHub and Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings.

He said: "We welcome foreign cyber security players to offer their services in Singapore or use Singapore as a base to service the region. There is potential to work together by tapping our human capital, technical expertise, networks and understanding of our region."

Mr Teo held up Ensign as an example of a company that has seized such opportunities.

In particular, he noted that the company is currently tapping Temasek's networks to collaborate with several global cyber security companies such as Sygnia, Claroty and IronNet, to develop cutting-edge cyber security solutions.

"People, innovation and collaboration are crucial to building world-class cyber security capabilities that we need here in Singapore and can become new business here. I am glad that Ensign has made efforts on these three fronts," he said.

In a release on Monday, Ensign, which offers online security solutions to companies and governments worldwide, announced plans to increase its staff strength by 100 by next year.

The company had set up a Singapore-focused Security Operations Centre (SOC) for its employees to detect and neutralise cyber threats here faster and more accurately.

Ensign said the new hires will complement its 500 workers, allowing it to deepen its capabilities to look out for threats online and gather knowledge about these threats.

Ensign chairman Lee Fook Sun said: "We want to build a company to deliver security solutions, services and outcomes for our stakeholders in Singapore and the region through investments to develop world-class cyber security expertise and innovative technologies together with our partners."

The new centre Ensign opened on Monday will use big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to churn out Singapore-focused insights on imminent and emerging online threats here.

Foreign cyber security firms have set up offices here in recent years.

In June, Group-IB, a cyber security company specialising in investigating and preventing cybercrime, moved its headquarters from Moscow to Singapore.

Another firm, the Switzerland-based Acronis, has its international headquarters here, and some firms like the Russia-based Kaspersky have regional offices in Singapore.

On Monday, Mr Teo said with the increasing dangers that cyber threats pose, Singapore needs private cyber security companies to help it bolster its online defences and seize new opportunities offered by digital technologies.

"We need players like Ensign to help Singapore build world-class capabilities," he said.

"We welcome local and foreign companies, large and small, who are able to offer cutting edge solutions to locate and grow their capabilities and businesses in Singapore."

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