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Singapore's financial institutions spending more on cybersecurity: Survey

Three-fifths of banks here are increasing their expenditure on IT security this year, above the global average of 50 per cent, according to a study by recruitment firm Robert Half.

SINGAPORE: Banks and financial services companies in Singapore are increasing their spending on cyber-security to keep IT systems safe from attacks, with 60 per cent indicating they will up such expenditure this year compared to 2013, according to recruitment firm Robert Half.

Singapore's average of 60 per cent of financial institutions indicating increased IT security spending in 2014 was the highest percentage of the six markets surveyed, well above the global average of 50 per cent, it added.

The survey findings released on Wednesday (June 4) showed that IT security is more likely to get increased funding than other key banking functions such as regulatory reform and compliance, product development or digital initiatives such as online banking.

The survey was conducted among 725 senior financial services leaders, including 150 from Singapore. The other five markets polled include Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

HIRINGS ALSO ON THE RISE

Beyond spending on IT systems, 93 per cent of companies in Singapore said they are planning to hire more staff to manage their online security. About 39 per cent are hiring more permanent staff, while another 54 per cent will be recruiting temporary staff, according to the survey.

Robert Half Managing Director Stella Tang said banks here are responding to guidance issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to heighten cybersecurity and safeguard their systems.

"Banks and financial services companies that are not increasing their IT investment are instead hiring additional staff to bring their IT security functions in-house," 

"Having a strong security team, comprised of key permanent staff and highly-skilled interim security professionals can help companies ensure they take the necessarily precautionary measures to avoid a costly and often debilitating security breach."

Salaries for IT security experts are also on the rise, with an average 10 per cent increase this year compared to 2013, she noted.

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