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Will Singapore’s public debt hamper its cyber security readiness?

Zafar Anjum | June 5, 2014
It might, and not just for Singapore, according to a future study by Microsoft, Cyberspace 2025: Today’s Decisions, Tomorrow’s Terrain

Technology giant Microsoft has come out with a report, Cyberspace 2025: Today's Decisions, Tomorrow's Terrain, which projects changes in the online world and the resulting opportunities for collaboration and innovation, as well as risks of isolation and misplaced regulation.

The report has been compiled by four authors: David Burt, Aaron Kleiner, J. Paul Nicholas, and Kevin Sullivan.

Predicting the future is always fraught with risk and hence the authors present three scenarios of the future: Plateau, Peak and Canyon.

Among the factors that will influence the shape of the things to come is the number of connected users, the level of broadband penetration, and the number of annual  science and technology graduates and where do they come from.

According to Paul Nicholas, one of the factors that will affect cyber security is how will the world manage growing public debt? "National debt as a percentage of GDP will average just over 10 percent worldwide but some countries/regions will carry greater debt," the report says.

The report shows a graph that provides predicted increase in debt by 2025. These countries are Japan (291% of GDP), Greece (172%), Italy (142), Portugal (132%) and Singapore (128%).

What does it mean for a country like Singapore? And what exactly is the connection between public debt and cyber security?

"Cybersecurity will be influenced by more than just technical factors," Nicholas told Computerworld Singapore on 4 June. "The terrain of cyberspace will be shaped by a number of catalysts, including demographics, education, immigration, regulation, technology, collaboration, trade and even public debt."

"Increased public debt creates a number of drivers (positive and negative)," he further explained. "First it limits resources and investments, which is generally negative especially for infrastructure modernization. Lack of investments here can saddle a country with outdated systems and  increase exposure to attacks. Second, it means that limited resources must be invested carefully, at times this can help governments realize the benefits investments into telemedicine to reduce healthcare costs and scale services to growing senior populations.  The key is to recognize that public debt is a driver and understand how to mitigate its impact on cybersecurity."



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