April 06, 2020

Singapore’s $1b Budget to Improve Data Security

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr. Heng Swee Keat announced that $1b would be directed to bolstering the country’s cybersecurity capabilities over the next three years1.
This comes in the wake of the increasing number of attempted cyber attacks on organisations. Some of them were successful, such as the attack on SingHealth. This is Singapore’s worst data breach to date. Human error is often a major factor allowing these breaches to occur.
In 2019, The Straits Times reported on a study by private cybersecurity firm, Carbon Black, which found that 96 per cent of companies here have been attacked before. More than half had been attacked or experienced a cyber error in 2018 alone. Over 90 per cent of them also reported an increase in attacks as well as their sophistry over time2.

Singapore's continued commitment in data protection

Singapore’s commitment towards building its cyber and data security since then can be seen by the various measures and initiatives being put in place.
One example is the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) that regularly brings companies in violation of data protection provisions to task. This is carried out by the PDPC, which regularly publishes decisions related to these companies3.
This serves to promote accountability on the company’s end, as well as a reminder to companies of their obligations to data protection based on the Personal Data Protection Act.

The important role everyone plays in Data Protection

While the government’s allocation at Budget 2020 demonstrates their clear commitment to data security, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Some companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), mistakenly believe that they are less vulnerable to cyberattacks than larger companies which they perceive as more attractive targets compared to themselves4.
This raises concerns that SMEs are not taking the right steps to towards a holistic approach to secure the personal data they have on hand, as they continue to falsely operate under the belief that they won’t be the target of an attack4.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the company itself to ensure that they are actively safeguarding personal data by not neglecting their physical and data security measures, as well as sufficiently training their employees on the latest threats and updates on data protection.

Protect Your Data Today

With the government already shoring up its defenses, it is time for all enterprises to step up and do the same, on both the physical and cyber front.
An organisation that integrates a holistic approach to data protection into its business processes can reduce any data breach risk as well as financial and other sanctions. Learn more about how Shred-it can get you started on data protection and disposal by contacting us for a free quote and security risk assessment.

This article is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should not take, or refrain from taking, actions based upon the content of this article. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. Please seek professional legal advice. [1] Singapore Business Review. 2020. Singapore Budget 2020 Full Coverage: COVID-hit sectors to get $4b and GST hike moved to 2025. [ONLINE] Available at: https://sbr.com.sg/economy/in-focus/singapore-budget-2020-full-coverage-covid-hit-sectors-get-4b-and-gst-hike-moved-202. [Accessed 24 March 2020]
[2] The Straits Times. 2019. Nearly all organisations in Singapore have suffered close to 4 cyber attacks in past year: Survey. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.straitstimes.com/tech/nearly-all-organisations-in-singapore-have-suffered-close-to-4-cyber-attacks-in-past-year.
[3] Personal Data Protection Commission Singapore. 2020. Data Protection Enforcement Cases. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.pdpc.gov.sg/Commissions-Decisions/Data-Protection-Enforcement-Cases [Accessed 24 March 2020]
[4] The Business Times. 2019. Over half of SMEs in Singapore have experienced a cyber error or attack last year: poll. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sme/over-half-of-smes-in-singapore-have-experienced-a-cyber-error-or-attack-last-year-poll [Accessed 24 March 2020]