SINGAPORE — In most offices across the island, it is a common sight to see employees not taking fire drills as seriously as they should, with some even lamenting that these are a waste of time as they take their time to leave their desks and go to the assembly areas.
This, despite the fact that fires are a very real threat and could have disastrous consequences in high-rise office buildings.
The same could be said for cyber security and all the training and policies that companies try to put in place, said Mr Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), who used the analogy to explain the challenges that firms face in getting their staff to take cyber security seriously.
“People will think: ‘Why do we have fire drills when we never encounter fires? It’s the same for cyber security. People will always feel it will never happen to them, or it will never happen to their company.”
While Singapore has one of the best infrastructure, technologies and legislation in place to deal with cyber threats, it is no coincidence that the human factor — long seen as the weakest link in the chain, or the first line of defence — had contributed to some of the recent data breaches which made headlines here.
Recognising the need for individuals to play their part in response to the growing cyber threats, a new “digital defence” pillar was added to Singapore’s Total Defence framework on Feb 15.
As Singapore shores up its cyber defences, all the best hardware and software that money can buy will not be able to fend off cyber attacks if the “peopleware” is lacking, experts pointed out.
Digital forensics specialist Ali Fazeli said: “The public and private sectors are heavily invested in the staff handling cyber security, information technology (IT), and technical matters by updating their knowledge. However, it’s the normal users who are the weakest link.”
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