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Research from BAE Systems reveals C-suite and IT Decision Makers in Singapore at odds in their approach to cyber defence

IT Decision Makers and boardroom directors believe the other is responsible in the event of a breach. Boardroom directors in Singapore predict cost of cyber-attack to their business to be S$16.5m (US$19.1m) less than their IT colleagues. Significant majority of respondents expect both the number and severity of attacks to increase over the coming year.
New research reveals business disconnect in preparing against cyber attacks
New research published today by cyber defence experts, BAE Systems, reveals boardroom executives and IT Decision Makers are at odds in their approach to defending against cyber threats.
The research shows board directors and IT leaders believe each other are responsible for managing the response to a cyber-attack, and that board level directors estimate the cost of a successful attack to be dramatically lower than their IT colleagues – with a disparity of S$16.5m in Singapore.
These latest findings reveal that cyber-security is the most significant business challenge to over three quarters (76%) of C-Suite respondents in Singapore. Additionally, 77% of IT Decision Makers anticipate they will be targeted by a cyber-attack in the next 12 months, with the majority of both groups reporting they expect the frequency and severity of attacks to increase (67% C-Suite and 78% ITDM).
Therefore, it has never been more important for businesses to understand the nature of the threat and how to combat it. In line with this, half (48%) of boardroom respondents plan to devote more time and resource to cyber security.
Alex Taverner, BAE Systems Commercial Head of Cyber in the Asia-Pacific, said:
“This research confirms the importance that business leaders place on cyber security in their organisations. However, it also shows an interesting disparity between the views of C-Suite respondents and those of IT Decision Makers. Each group’s understanding of the nature of cyber threats, and of the way they translate into business and technological risks, can be very different.
“With successful cyber-attacks regularly making headline news, our findings make it clear that boardrooms and IT teams recognise the risks but need to concentrate on bridging the intelligence gap to build a robust defence against this growing threat.
“The disconnect in opinions between board level respondents and IT Decision Makers when it comes to potential threats, accountability and responsibility creates gaps for attackers to exploit. While the Singapore government is stepping up its efforts to create a resilient and trusted cyber environment with the launch of the Cybersecurity Strategy, organisations still need to plan ahead for successful incidents and ensure that the boardroom and IT teams are working collaboratively to narrow gaps in understanding, intelligence and responsibility.”
Key Singapore findings include:
  • 66% of C-Suite respondents say their IT teams and staff more broadly are responsible in the event of a breach, whereas 39% of ITDMs think this is the case. Similarly, over half of ITDMs (57%) think senior management and leaders should shoulder the blame, compared to less than a quarter (24%) of C-Suite respondents.
  • Singaporean IT Decision Makers believe the cost of a successful cyber attack on their business to be around S$27.1m compared to an estimation of just S$10.6m from board level directors in the same country.
  • In Singapore, between 11 and 13 per cent of a company’s IT budget is spent on cyber security and defence (C-Suite 11% and ITDM 13%).
  • And around half of respondents plan to increase their allocation of time and resources on cyber security in the coming year (48% C-Suite and 45% ITDM)
  • Both groups believe the number and severity of attacks will increase over the coming year with 81% of board respondents and 80% of IT teams predicting an increase in the number of attacks, and 67% and 78% respectively predicting an increase in the severity of attacks.
  • And yet, 67% of Board members and 76% of IT teams are confident they are well-equipped to defend against a cyber attack.
  • While 81% of IT teams report that their spend on cyber security is part of a comprehensive strategy, only one-third of the board (29%) believe this to be the case – the lowest among all countries – with 48% believing the investment is more ad hoc.
  • Twice as many C-Suite executives think that human error will enable a cyber attack than ITDMs (62% vs 30%), indicating the C-Suite have lower confidence in the cyber savviness of their people.
Gundeep Sandhu, Asia-Pacific Head of Cyber Solutions in the Asia-Pacific, said:
“Perhaps most worryingly for Singapore, only two per cent of IT Decision makers are confident their company has the skills they need to deal with a cyber attack.
“This is an area where industry and Government must work together to close the skills gap and lift Singapore’s cyber security capability and capacity. There is an opportunity for Singapore to take a leadership role in the region in this respect, and last year’s Memorandum of Collaboration signing between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and BAE Systems was one step towards that.”
The full report can be found at:
For further information, please contact:
Edelman Public Relations Worldwide
Sheryl Tham
BAE Systems

Felicity Walker
Head of Communications, JAPAC
M: +65 8698 4059
Notes for Editors
About BAE Systems
At BAE Systems, we provide some of the world’s most advanced technology defence, aerospace and security solutions. We employ a skilled workforce of 82,500 people in over 40 countries. Working with customers and local partners, our products and services deliver military capability, protect people and national security, and keep critical information and infrastructure secure.
At BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, we help nations, governments and businesses around the world defend themselves against cybercrime, reduce their risk in the connected world, comply with regulation, and transform their operations.
We do this using our unique set of solutions, systems, experience and processes - often collecting and analysing huge volumes of data. These, combined with our Cyber Special forces - some of the most skilled people in the world, enable us to defend against cyber-attacks, fraud and financial crime, enable intelligence-led policing and solve complex data problems.
We employ over 4,200 people across 18 countries in the Americas, APAC, UK and EMEA. The Singapore office is host to nearly 100 employees who service a portfolio of clients comprising 70 per cent of the top global banks. Our presence in Singapore extends to a S$2.5 million research partnership with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore, as well as a recent Memorandum of Collaboration with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) to develop national capabilities in capabilities-building and incident response.
For further information about BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, please visit
Report methodology
BAE Systems commissioned strategic insight analysts, Opinium to undertake a global survey of business leaders in Australia, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, UK and the USA. A total of 221 C-suite at Fortune 500 companies and 984 IT Decision Makers were polled to understand their concerns and perceptions of preparedness when it comes to their own cyber security. The Singapore sample reflects input from 30 C-Suite executives and 120 IT decision makers. Data was collected between 17 October to 21 November 2016.
About Opinium
Opinium is an award-winning strategic insight agency built on the belief that in a world of uncertainty and complexity, success depends on the ability to stay on the pulse of what people think, feel and do. Creative and inquisitive, we are passionate about empowering our clients with the data to make the decisions that matter. We work with organisations to define and overcome strategic challenges – helping them to get to grips with the world in which they operate. We use the right approach and methodology to deliver robust insights, strategic counsel and targeted recommendations that generate change and positive outcomes.
Issued by:
BAE Systems plc
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