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Partnerships key for a more secure ASEAN: Dr Yaacob

Nurdianah Md Nur | Sept. 19, 2017
Collaborations between the private and public sectors, as well as within ASEAN member states, will raise the region's cybersecurity capacity.

SICW ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) 2017
Credit: Dr Yaacob Ibrahim's Facebook.

In order for ASEAN to reap the full benefits of the digital economy, the region has to improve its cybersecurity capabilities, and this can be achieved through partnerships.

This was Singapore's Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim's message at the opening ceremony of ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity yesterday (18 September 2017).

For instance, joint collaborations between the government and companies, professional bodies and associations can attract advanced cybersecurity companies with highly skilled practitioners to a country. This thus helps alleviate the pressing issue of shortage of cybersecurity professionals.

In line with that, he shared that the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) will be collaborating with the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) to "enhance the pool of competent professionals" in the republic.

In addition to that, CSA and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) have gotten PwC Singapore and PCS Security on board their Cyber Security Associates and Technologists (CSAT) programme.  

Under the programme, private sector companies that are CSAT training partners will train and upskill fresh ICT professionals (ie. diploma and degree holders with 0 to 3 years' of working experience) and mid-career professionals (ie. those with more than three years' of working experience) for cybersecurity roles. Trainees will undergo on-the-job training programmes and participate in local and overseas attachments identified by CSAT training partners.

Dr Yaacob also shared that besides Singapore, other ASEAN countries have also stepped up their efforts to nurture a vibrant cybersecurity ecosystem.

For example, Malaysia has jointly launched a cybersecurity academy with the UK's Protection Group International (PGI). "[Called the UK-APAC Centre of Security Excellence,] the academy will introduce UK GCHQ-accredited cybersecurity courses that will help build a Malaysian cybersecurity workforce with the expertise to operate at a high international standard," he explained. 


More cooperation needed to improve ASEAN's cybersecurity posture

Dr Yaacob also called for ASEAN members to "work together to minimise cyber risks by raising the level of regional capacity and cooperation in cybersecurity."

To support this, Singapore will set aside S$1.5 million of the S$10 million ASEAN Cyber Capacity Building Programme, which was announced last year, to build technical capability among incident responders and operators in the region, he added.

Additionally, Singapore will partner the industry to conduct an ASEAN Cybersecurity Industrial Attachment Programme, which will train up to 18 candidates from ASEAN member states.

"The training will focus on security operations centre (SOC) operations and management, and other relevant technical areas of cybersecurity. Through this programme, participants will be able to advance their technical capabilities in effectively monitoring and responding to cyber threats," Dr Yaacob explained.


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