QBE Blog: Singapore SMEs primed to enhance digital capabilities, including cybersecurity

QBE Blog: Singapore SMEs primed to enhance digital capabilities, including cybersecurity

QBE Blog: Singapore SMEs primed to enhance digital capabilities, including cybersecurity 

2023 is a great opportunity for Singapore’s SMEs to further improve their digital operations and enhance their cybersecurity.

It is great to see that Singapore’s SMEs are continuing to believe and invest in digital technologies. However, not all SMEs are tapping into the government support available to them, and some aren’t supplementing their digitalisation strategies with adequate protection measures. 

As Singapore’s businesses look to adapt to changing customer needs, QBE’s recent SME survey* found that around two thirds (66%) of SMEs have digitalised further over the past year. Encouragingly, 34% of SMEs believe that digital capabilities can help them reach more customers, 32% say going digital can help grow their business, and 32% say it will make their business more productive.

 However, SMEs have also reported several barriers in the way of their digital ambitions, including the high cost of investment (29%), a lack of available financing (27%) and a lack of digital skills (24%). In addition, 23% of SMEs are concerned around possible disruption to their business during implementation, 21% are worried about data security and 21% say they find digital technologies too complicated.  

 Help is out there. 89% of SMEs are aware of government support available to help businesses digitalise, although only 50% applied for it in 2022. The government is offering enterprise development programmes, financial support, and digitalisation workshops.

 Coming out of the pandemic is a great time for SMEs to investigate these options further to build a sustainable, flexible digital strategy. Training staff, building a robust business plan, and identifying the right digital tools for your business will be invaluable.

 Cyber risk

Improving digital capabilities is not only about business expansion but also enhancing risk management. 

It is a positive sign that 97% of SMEs in Singapore surveyed are already aware of possible cyber risks. However, this also means that the threat is increasing in part because cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated.

 The need to plan for the worst and invest in security is highlighted by the survey’s findings that 38% of SMEs were impacted by cyber events in the last six months, a significant increase from 26% in 2021.

 More worrying is the fact that 9% of SMEs still do not have any risk management processes or insurance protection against cyber risk in place. This is something that must be addressed as soon as possible.

 Insurance cover is available, but 39% of SMEs either would not consider or are on the fence about purchasing such insurance against cyber risk. We urge them to think again about the benefits such policies can bring.

 As digitalisation continues to be one of the main growth strategies for Singapore SMEs, QBE implores SMEs to consider their cyber risk exposures as they continue on their digital journeys.

 As my last blog showed, the business environment is poised to bring SMEs growth in the short-to-mid term. Therefore, we all need to encourage more awareness and education around adequate risk management and mitigation which is needed to ensure growth is not just accelerated, but sustainable as well. This applies to all sides of business strategy, including digital.

 Thank you for reading. We at QBE wish your business every success on your digital journeys in 2023. Feel free to reach out to me or our team if you would like to seek counsel about any of these issues.

 You can read more about the survey results here.

 Best wishes,

Ronak Shah, Chief Executive Officer, QBE Insurance Singapore

 *The survey was conducted in Q4 2022 and surveyed 416 SME decision-makers in Singapore. 


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