Singapore businesses focus on tech as cyberattack fears rise

Photo by Tech Daily

Fears of cyberattacks have risen sharply in Singapore as small businesses ramp up their use of technology. That’s one of several important findings from a survey by global professional accounting body CPA Australia.

The annual Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey found nearly half (45.2 per cent) of all small businesses in Singapore believe a cyberattack on their business is possible this year. This figure compares to 29 per cent in the previous year.

In response to the threat, more than 50 per cent of small businesses reviewed their cybersecurity in the past six months. That figure rose from just over a third in 2021. It’s also the third highest result of the 11 Asia-Pacific markets surveyed by CPA Australia.

CPA Australia Digital Committee Chair and PwC Singapore Digital Business and Risk Services Leader Greg Unsworth said there are significant opportunities for longer-term growth if small businesses focus on technology.

“Small businesses must keep up with new technology to succeed in today’s digital economy. However, this investment in digital tools comes with increased cybersecurity risk.”

Cybercrime in Singapore hit an all-time high of 33,669 reported cases in 2022. This represents a 25.2 per cent jump from the previous year, the latest Singapore Police Force data shows.

“Small businesses need to be alert to cyberattacks but it shouldn’t stop them from embracing digital opportunities.

“Investing in relevant digital tools, embracing new payment technologies and expanding their online presence can help them to streamline operations, tap into new markets, improve customer experience and build brand loyalty. These strategies open up ways to grow their business that have previously been unimaginable,” Unsworth said.

Funding and incentives to boost Singapore’s cyber defences may have encouraged small businesses to increase their cybersecurity in 2022.

The survey found that small businesses in Singapore used more technology in 2022 compared with the year before.

There was a leap in e-commerce activity. Some 68 per cent of small businesses made at least 10 per cent of their sales online last year, up from 42 per cent in 2021.

More than 70 per cent of small businesses generated at least 10 per cent of their sales through digital payment technologies, such as PayPal, Apple Pay and GrabPay. This was an increase of more than 13 percentage points from 2021.

Singapore’s small businesses are increasingly embracing social media. Last year, 13 per cent said they did not use social media, a big improvement from 27 per cent the year before.

The survey results show a strong connection between innovation and small business growth. 21 per cent of local businesses said they intend to introduce a new product, process or service in 2023.

CPA Australia Singapore Divisional President Cheung Pui Yuen and CEO of Deloitte Singapore said innovation is necessary for small businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

“Innovation is crucial for all businesses, and it is especially important for small businesses. By innovating and finding new ways to bridge the gaps and meet customers’ needs, small businesses will be more equipped to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace,” Cheung said.