Singapore

Cyber security threats rise as more work from home: Poll

Businesses in Singapore have seen a significant increase in cyber security challenges as more people work from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey commissioned by American tech giant Cisco has revealed.

Of the nearly 3,200 companies from 21 countries polled in the survey from June 16 to Sept 4, Singapore made the largest shift to remote working in the Asia-Pacific region.

About six in 10 organisations here said they have experienced at least a 25 per cent increase in cyber threats since the pandemic started.

These threats included connections to malicious sites on the Internet and phishing attacks.

However, less than half, or 42 per cent of companies, said they were "very prepared" to cope with these threats and transition to working remotely.

Around half, or 54 per cent of companies, indicated they were "somewhat prepared", while three per cent said they were "not prepared" for the transition.

The survey, conducted by local public opinion and data company YouGov, gathered data from 3,196 companies across 21 countries including the United States, China and Germany.

Singapore made the largest shift to remote working in the Asia-Pacific, with a 59 per cent increase in the number of organisations here having more than half of their employees working remotely, compared with before the pandemic.

This increase is the second-highest globally, after Britain, showing that more people are connecting to their corporate network from outside traditional offices.

As a result of this shift, 58 per cent said maintaining control of security devices and policies emerged as the top cyber security challenge.

Ensuring secure access - which is the ability to verify the identity of the worker regardless of where or when he logs in to the network - was cited as the second-biggest challenge by 56 per cent of companies.

Other challenges included a lack of employee awareness on cyber security protocols and adapting to a change in company culture.

Hybrid workplaces, where employees move between working remotely and in the office, are becoming more popular.

With more companies gearing up for more flexible work arrangements, 89 per cent said cyber security is their top corporate priority.

Around three in four companies, or 76 per cent, plan to increase their investment in cyber security policies to support remote working.

Technology