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The Importance of Cybersecurity for Digital Transformation

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NUS-ISS

In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital transformation, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. As organizations embrace digital technologies to enhance their operations, innovate, and connect with customers in new and dynamic ways, they simultaneously become more vulnerable to cyber threats. This talk will discuss the importance of having a well thought through approach in dealing with cybersecurity in the form of a strategy that lays out the various programmes and initiatives that will underpin a secure and resilient digital transformation journey. Not surprisingly, having a pool of well-trained cybersecurity personnel is one of the key ingredient in a cyber strategy as exemplified in Singapore's own national cybersecurity strategy.

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The Importance of
Cybersecurity for
Digital Transformation
Martin Khoo
Principal Lecturer & Consultant
markhoob@nus.edu.sg
Copyright National University of Singapore 2
Overview of Cyber Threat Landscape
for Asia (2022-2023) Target for Cybercriminals
Asia has a rapidly evolving digital economy
and technology which also makes it a target
for cybercriminal activities
Most Attacked Region
APAC was the most attacked region in
2022: it accounted for 31% of attacks
globally.
Victims
Most frequent victims of cyberattacks were
government agencies (22% of total attacks on
organizations), industrial companies (9%), IT
companies (8%), and financial institutions (7%).
Major Threat
Ransomware poses a major threat to
businesses in the region. Its main victims were
industrial companies, which accounted for
34% of successful attacks.
Source: Cybersecurity threatscape of Asia: 2022–2023 (ptsecurity.com)
Copyright National University of Singapore 3
The Need for Stepped-Up Attention on
Cybersecurity
Source: Cybersecurity threatscape of Asia: 2022–2023 (ptsecurity.com)
Copyright National University of Singapore 4
What is Cybersecurity ? Why Bother?
• Encompasses many aspects that are needed to protect the underlying fabric of the digital transformation journey
• Digital transformation will result in the generation, processing and storage of sensitive data. E.g. customer’s
Personally Identifiable Information (PII), financial information and so forth.
• Data confidentiality, integrity and availability are the key tenets for cybersecurity
Cloud
Security
Data
Security
Copyright National University of Singapore 5
Samples of Cybersecurity Considerations for
Digital Transformation (1)
C-Suite & Board Involvement
Cybersecurity is a top-down priority with
involvement from the executive leadership
and board of directors to set tone and provide resources
Risk Assessment & Strategy Devt
Comprehensive risk assessment . Develop
cybersecurity strategy that aligns with the
organization's overall goals and objectives
Data Protection & Privacy
Implement strong data protection measures to
safeguard sensitive data. Ensure compliance
with relevant regulations
Copyright National University of Singapore 6
Samples of Cybersecurity Considerations for
Digital Transformation (2)
Vendor and 3rd Party Risk Mgmt
Assess the security practices of third-
party vendors and partners
Incident Response and Recovery
Develop a comprehensive incident
response plan and test it regularly
Continuous Monitoring & Testing
To detect and respond to security threats in
real time. Regular VAPT to identify weakness

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The Importance of Cybersecurity for Digital Transformation

  • 1. The Importance of Cybersecurity for Digital Transformation Martin Khoo Principal Lecturer & Consultant markhoob@nus.edu.sg
  • 2. Copyright National University of Singapore 2 Overview of Cyber Threat Landscape for Asia (2022-2023) Target for Cybercriminals Asia has a rapidly evolving digital economy and technology which also makes it a target for cybercriminal activities Most Attacked Region APAC was the most attacked region in 2022: it accounted for 31% of attacks globally. Victims Most frequent victims of cyberattacks were government agencies (22% of total attacks on organizations), industrial companies (9%), IT companies (8%), and financial institutions (7%). Major Threat Ransomware poses a major threat to businesses in the region. Its main victims were industrial companies, which accounted for 34% of successful attacks. Source: Cybersecurity threatscape of Asia: 2022–2023 (ptsecurity.com)
  • 3. Copyright National University of Singapore 3 The Need for Stepped-Up Attention on Cybersecurity Source: Cybersecurity threatscape of Asia: 2022–2023 (ptsecurity.com)
  • 4. Copyright National University of Singapore 4 What is Cybersecurity ? Why Bother? • Encompasses many aspects that are needed to protect the underlying fabric of the digital transformation journey • Digital transformation will result in the generation, processing and storage of sensitive data. E.g. customer’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII), financial information and so forth. • Data confidentiality, integrity and availability are the key tenets for cybersecurity Cloud Security Data Security
  • 5. Copyright National University of Singapore 5 Samples of Cybersecurity Considerations for Digital Transformation (1) C-Suite & Board Involvement Cybersecurity is a top-down priority with involvement from the executive leadership and board of directors to set tone and provide resources Risk Assessment & Strategy Devt Comprehensive risk assessment . Develop cybersecurity strategy that aligns with the organization's overall goals and objectives Data Protection & Privacy Implement strong data protection measures to safeguard sensitive data. Ensure compliance with relevant regulations
  • 6. Copyright National University of Singapore 6 Samples of Cybersecurity Considerations for Digital Transformation (2) Vendor and 3rd Party Risk Mgmt Assess the security practices of third- party vendors and partners Incident Response and Recovery Develop a comprehensive incident response plan and test it regularly Continuous Monitoring & Testing To detect and respond to security threats in real time. Regular VAPT to identify weakness
  • 8. Copyright National University of Singapore 8 What is a Cybersecurity Strategy? Cybersecurity Strategy 1 2 3 4 A plan of actions designed to improve the security and resilience of an organization's infrastructures and services to support digital transformation Technology agnostic and covers a time horizon of 3 to 5 years. Review annually as cyberthreat landscape changes rapidly and the strategy needs to adapt and pivot where necessary 5 Position as a key decision item for the Board for endorsement and to provide the requisite budget A high-level top-down approach to cybersecurity that establishes a range of organizational cybersecurity strategic outcomes
  • 9. Copyright National University of Singapore 9 Hierarchy for Cybersecurity Strategy Architecture Programs “What” & “Why” - Aligned with the organization’s business goals and priorities and endorsed by management “How” – secure design of systems, networks and applications, governance instruments such as policies, standards and best practices (e.g. open source frameworks) “Who”, “When”, “How Much” – implementation of specific initiatives, technologies, products with timelines, roles and responsibilities
  • 10. Copyright National University of Singapore 10 Example of Cyber Strategy Mission/Vision (Defining the Desired Outcomes in support of Biz goals) 1 Achieve the best in breed cybersecurity programs in support of business outcomes 2 Protect the organization’s assets from cyberattacks 3 Mitigate cyber risks to desired levels in accordance with the company risk appetite and tolerance Provide exceptional cybersecurity protection to our clients and business partners Align cybersecurity strategies across the enterprise 4 5
  • 11. Copyright National University of Singapore 11 Examples of Cybersecurity Strategic Objectives (Supporting the cyber mission/vision) 1 2 3 4 Adopt a risk-based asset protection regime Architect multi-layered security protection Integrate “security by design” into the operational & development process Increase cybersecurity awareness across the organisation 5 Determine future initiatives based on risk, threats, gaps, and performance Protect the organization’s assets from cyberattacks
  • 12. Copyright National University of Singapore 12 Examples of Cyber Strategy Principles (Use in the design of the architecture & development of programmes) CIA Triad Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability Rapid Adaptability To address emerging threats, new technologies, and business models Defense in Depth Implement multilayered security mechanisms Diversity Use different products in the defensive layers Source: www.securereading.com
  • 13. Copyright National University of Singapore 13 Linking Strategy to Programme and Initiative (Example) Programme Implement a “Detection & Monitoring” program covering critical systems, networks and applications Initiative Deploy a SOC Setup a 24x7 Security Operations Centre (SOC) 1 Strategic Outcome Ability to monitor and be forewarn of impending attacks 2 3 3a 3b Perform Threat Analysis & Hunting Using the logs from the various security controls and end points that are sent to the SOC
  • 14. Copyright National University of Singapore 14 NIST Cyber Security Framework • A well regarded and commonly referenced framework that addresses cybersecurity concerns. Well suited as a valuable resource in the development of a cybersecurity strategy 5 cores, 23 categories, 108 sub-categories Version 2.0 is planned for release in early 2024. Will add “Governance” as a core capability amongst other improvements Programmes Source: https://csf.tools/reference/nist-cybersecurity-framework/v1-1/
  • 16. Copyright National University of Singapore 16 General Risk Management Process (1) Gather Information Open source info, commercial threat intel, expert opinions. Construct risk scenarios Evaluate and Analyse Risks Evaluate the likelihood (probability) and severity of the potential consequences/impact of each identified risk Risk Prioritisation Rank the risks based on their impact and likelihood 01 02 03 04 Identify Threats Potential to cause harm, disrupt operations, or negatively impact the organization. 05 Risk Response Determine how to address the risks i.e. which ones to accept, avoid, transfer or mitigate by comparing with organization’s risk appetite and tolerance
  • 17. Copyright National University of Singapore 17 General Risk Management Process (2) Implement Mitigation Strategies Making operational changes, updating procedures, investing in safety equipment, or training personnel. Monitor and Review Data collection, tracking incidents; comparing the actual outcomes with the predicted outcomes from the risk assessment. Update and Improve Continuously review and update your risk assessment as new information becomes available or as conditions change. 06 07 08 09 Develop Mitigation Strategies Include preventive, detective controls, risk transfer thru’ insurance etc 10 Communicate and Document Share the results of your risk assessment with relevant stakeholders. Proper documentation (using a risk register) is essential for transparency, accountability, and regulatory compliance. Addressing cyber risks through a Cybersecurity Strategy
  • 18. Copyright National University of Singapore 18 Examples of Relevant Risks at Different Stages of Digital Transformation
  • 19. Copyright National University of Singapore 19 Initiation Phase Financial Risk Budget Constraints: Inadequate funding can hinder the planning and initial stages. Strategic Risk Lack of Clear Strategy: Not having a well- defined digital transformation strategy can lead to directionless initiatives. 01 02 Organisation Risk Resistance to Change: Employees and stakeholders may resist changes, impacting adoption. 03
  • 20. Copyright National University of Singapore 20 Implementation Phase Cybersecurity Risk Data Security: As more data is digitized, the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks increases. 01 Technology Risk Technology Integration: Challenges in integrating new technologies with existing systems can disrupt operations 02 Project Risk Project Delays: Implementation delays can result from technical issues or unforeseen complexities. 03 Capability Risk Skills Gap: Insufficient staff expertise can hinder successful implementation. 04 Cybersecurity Risk - other then Data Security, other cybersecurity risks to consider will include, systems, networks and applications. All of the cyber risks need to be addressed in the cybersecurity strategy
  • 21. Copyright National University of Singapore 21 Steady State Phase Technology Risk Changing Technology Landscape: Rapid technological advancements can render current solutions obsolete. Scalability Risk Scalability Issues: As the organization grows, the digital infrastructure may struggle to scale effectively. Adoption Risk User Adoption: Sustaining user enthusiasm and adoption of new digital tools can be challenging. 01 02 03 04 Maintenance Risk Maintenance and Upkeep: Keeping newly implemented systems up to date and secure requires ongoing effort.
  • 23. Copyright National University of Singapore 23 National Level Cyber Strategy Foundational Enabler 1: Develop a Vibrant Cybersecurity Ecosystem Foundational Enabler 2: Grow a Robust Cyber Talent Pipeline Strategic Pillar 1 Build Resilient Infrastructure Strategic Pillar 2 Enable a Safer Cyberspace Strategic Pillar 3 Enhance International Cyber Cooperation CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY Singapore’s Cybersecurity Strategy: Launched in 2016, updated in 2021 Pillar 1 Defend critical infrastructure Shape market forces to drive security and resilience CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY Pillar 2 Disrupt and dismantle threat actors Pillar 3 Pillar 4 Invest in a resilient future Pillar 5 Forge international partnerships USA’s Cybersecurity Strategy: Launched in Mar 2023 Source: The Singapore Cybersecurity Strategy 2021 (csa.gov.sg) Source: National-Cybersecurity- Strategy-2023.pdf (whitehouse.gov)
  • 24. Copyright National University of Singapore 24 The Urgent Need for Cyber Security Professionals • The US and Singapore governments in their respective national cybersecurity strategies have rightly identified the need to boost the pool of cybersecurity trained personnel • NUS-ISS, as a premier training institution, working with our partners, fully supports the government’s drive to uplift the cybersecurity workforce of Singapore through the various cybersecurity courses and certifications that we have on offer. Extract from Singapore’s Cybersecurity Strategy Extract from USA’s Cybersecurity Strategy SG Initiative: Talent Devt Fund (NUS- CSA) build pipeline of cybersecurity talent
  • 25. Copyright National University of Singapore 25 Rounding Up …. Symbiotic relationship between cybersecurity and digital transformation is a paramount factor in shaping the future of our digital organizations. Cybersecurity is not merely a safeguard; it is an enabler of innovation, a protector of trust, and a guarantor of continuity. To implement cybersecurity effectively entails the implementation of a cybersecurity strategy to address risks Potential benefits of digital transformation are vast, but they come with an inherent set of risks that demand our constant attention and cybersecurity provides the oversight to address cyber risks