StarHub sets up cybersecurity monitoring facility

New centre is part of a S$200 million joint initiative with industry players to drive Singapore's cybersecurity ecosystem, with services to be commercially available in second-half 2016.

StarHub has announced plans to partner several industry players with the goal to drive Singapore's cybersecurity, jointly investing S$200 million (US$145.86 million) over five years to do so.

The initiative was unveiled Wednesday at the launch of the telco's Cyber Security Centre of Excellence, which would serve as a hub to support the new initiative.

According to StarHub, an initial group of five industry players and four local tertiary institutions had joined the centre, including Blue Coat, Fortinet, and Wedge Networks, as well as Republic Polytechnic and Singapore University of Technology and Design. These partners would be involved in various initiatives aimed at boosting Singapore's cybersecurity capabilities, specifically, in skills development and industry collaboration.

StarHub said it was targeting to train more than 300 professionals with relevant skillsets in over the next five years, and would work on research and development projects with the four educational institutions and Singapore's Cyber Security Agency.

The telco also set up a lab on the campus of Nanyang Polytechnic to provide hands-on training for students studying cybersecurity and forensics at the school.

StarHub said it would continue to sign up other industry players and institutes of higher learning into the centre.

The Singapore telco also launched a security operations centre (SOC), integrated with its core infrastructure, to provide 24 by 7 cybersecurity monitoring and threat detection. The facility also would offer managed security services aimed at safeguarding industrial control systems, StarHub said, adding that the first offering would be commercially available to customers in the second half of this year. The telco was currently running service trials with some customers.

"Cybersecurity is a top national and commercial security priority for Singapore as our smart nation vision takes shape, touching many aspects of our personal and business lives," StarHub CEO Tan Tong Hai said, adding that telcos played "a unique role" in cybersecurity, having developed such capabilities on their infrastructure that could support new generation of tools.

Because it was able to view online traffic entering the country, for instance, StarHub's SOC would be able to detect and address threats at the source, before they even reached an organisation's own security system or network. This would enable the telco to more proactively identify unusual network patterns, according to StarHub.

Speaking at the launch, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said cyberattacks had become a global threat for both governments and enterprises, with those targeting critical public infrastructure such as a power plant in Ukrain causing concerns that attacks were increasingly complex and frequent.

He added that partnerships between cybersecurity vendors and end-users would play a critical role in driving the country's ecosystem and government agencies would continue to support such collaborations.