STARHUB on Wednesday announced plans to grow Singapore's cyber-security ecosystem by working with industry partners and institutes of higher learning to set up a cyber-security centre of excellence.
The centre will bring together the best brains to tackle cyber threats, said the telco in a statement.
Together with its partners, it will put in S$200 million over the next five years into this project, and receive support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
To date, StarHub has five industry partners in the centre - Blue Coat, Cyberbit, EY (Ernst & Young), Fortinet and Wedge Networks.
Complementing them are four institutes of higher learning, namely, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Republic Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and Singapore University of Technology and Design.
StarHub plans to add more partners over time.
Together with StarHub, the partners will launch initiatives to strengthen Singapore's capabilities in cyber security, including focusing on talent development, innovation and industry partnerships.
The first commercial initiative of the centre is the StarHub Security Operations Centre. There, StarHub's core infrastructure is integrated with round-the-clock cyber-threat detection capabilities.
A StarHub spokesman said cyber attacks come through wired and wireless networks; StarHub's core networks are thus a strategic location from which to monitor, detect and counter potential malicious data traffic early.
In addition to this, the cyber-security solutions to protect industrial-control systems and cloud-based cyber-security solutions, now being developed, will be ready in the second half of the year, the spokesman said.
StarHub chief executive Tan Tong Hai said the centre would be a hub for the cyber-security eco-system with four key elements: innovation, industry partnership, talent development and national cyber-security defence.
"With our innovative network-centric approach, we can monitor cyber threats at the telco level. This is a first-of-its-kind approach. We are not aware of any telco in the world that provides cyber-security services before the firewall."
Noting that companies traditionally monitor cyber threats behind their firewall, he added: "This presents a challenge in keeping up with changes in malware-attack patterns and remediation. However, at the telco level, we can see Internet traffic coming into Singapore and can look for anomalies in the traffic proactively, before it enters the enterprise networks."
StarHub hopes to offer this cyber-security service in the form of a managed-security service within a few months.
Another move by StarHub is to help cyber-security professionals enhance their knowledge and hence, their career development. It plans to do this by working with leading centres for professional development in cyber security to design and offer relevant training courses.
Mr Tan said the target is to train at least 300 specialists in the various cyber-security related fields over the next five years. In this drive, it will team up with the four educational institutions and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) to draw up the training curriculum and to collaborate on research and development.
As a first step, StarHub and NYP have set up a lab in NYP's campus to provide hands-on training for students of cyber security and forensics. These students will later be offered internships to learn directly from experienced cyber-security professionals at StarHub or its industry partners.
Mr Tan said cyber security is a top national and commercial-security priority for Singapore, even as the country's "Smart Nation" vision takes shape, and will eventually touch many aspects of people's personal and business lives.
"StarHub is proud to work with top-notch partners to bolster the cyber-security sector, which is important for a sustainable digital economy. A telco plays a unique role in this ecosystem, building cyber-security capabilities in the telco infrastructure, which accelerates the development of a new generation of cyber-security solutions that can better address market needs," he said.
Speaking at the launch of the centre of excellence, S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), said that as Singapore transforms into a Smart Nation, cyber security will play a key role in securing national infrastructure and the data assets of businesses and people.
He noted that cyber security is a growth sector that the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) has been exploring: "Our vision is for Singapore to be the cyber-security hub for the region, with leadership positions in specific verticals where we have existing strengths, such as the manufacturing and finance sectors."
The minister added that the government is committed to growing the sector by fostering partnerships, catalysing innovation and developing the talent pool.
StarHub's Mr Tan added that with smart security analytics, it would be possible to develop Singapore-centric security solutions for the various industry clusters - construction, banking, healthcare, hotel and transport - so they can handle industry-specific security challenges and regulator issues.
Internationally renowned security specialist Professor Yitzhak Ben-Israel has been appointed as the advisor to the cyber-security centre of excellence; his role is to offer strategic advice. He also sits on the board of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research, (A*Star) and heads the Security Studies programme at Tel Aviv University.
David Koh, CSA's chief executive, said his organisation is working with industry partners to build local capabilities and develop advanced cyber-security capabilities.
He said: "StarHub's centre is built on the foundation of strong partnerships with leading global industry players for innovations and with local institutes of higher learning for talent development. We applaud StarHub's efforts to strengthen cyber-security capabilities, which will enable us to better secure Singapore's cyber space."
This article was first published on May 19, 2016.
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