FOCUS 72: Cybersecurity, A Matter Of Agile Mindset

Ang Cheng Kiat, Head Group Information Technology, PSA International shares the organisation’s cyber defence strategy relies on vigilance and proactiveness of its employees.


How important is cybersecurity for PSA International (PSA)? 

Digitalisation is an important aspect of PSA’s business.  As a global port operator with over 50 terminals in 19 countries, we play a key nodal role in supply chains and are connected to many communities so as to keep goods moving. Our digital initiatives have grown at a remarkable pace - fuelled by data analytics, AI, automation and our drive to empower the supply chain with greater agility through the Internet of Logistics, alongside our partners and customers. As PSA’s business grows in scale and complexity, our strength in cybersecurity becomes a key enabler to establish PSA as a secure and trusted partner in the Maritime and Port Community. 


What are some of PSA’s major cybersecurity initiatives? 

PSA has made significant strides in coordinating and strengthening our cybersecurity efforts over the past few years. Since 2014, we have developed and propagated the PSA IT Security Standards, which has become the IT security benchmark within the PSA Group. In 2018, PSA introduced a cybersecurity management framework and extended the cybersecurity responsibilities to business leaders, managers and ultimately to every employee.  This framework requires every business leader within PSA to pledge commitment to building cybersecurity competency in our organisation, increase our ability to identify and protect our IT infrastructure, detect any unauthorised intrusion and strengthen our ability to respond and recover from cyberattacks quickly.   

Going forward, PSA will continue to build on the above foundation and framework to strengthen capabilities in 4 strategic thrusts, namely, to build a stronger cybersecurity ecosystem involving our employees, contractors and vendors, applying stringent technical measures to PSA digital assets, elevating competencies of PSA’s cybersecurity staff, and partnering with cybersecurity communities regionally and internationally.   

What in your view, is an underrated factor in an organisation’s cyber defence? 

Our people! All it takes to breach an entire security network is an employee duped by an insidious email in a moment of carelessness.  Therefore, we are focusing a lot of attention to foster a mindset and culture of strong cyber-awareness amongst our employees. We have developed an inhouse Swordfish Cybersecurity Program, building upon PSA’s corporate culture framework called Fish!. Swordfish advocates the importance of vigilance, proactiveness and individual responsibility, through a set of internally-developed online learning courses. We have also conducted numerous internal phishing campaigns to educate our staff on the dangers of clicking on unknown or suspicious emails and attachments. 


In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in an automated shipping environment? 

For me, my biggest concern is not whether, but when, PSA will come under attack from hackers.  While we have been fortunate to have strong management support in our cyber initiatives, I am realistic that there is no such thing as a failproof cybersecurity defence.  We still need to continuously build the internal capability and competency to handle cyber incidents quickly, sensitively and professionally. 

As we strive to serve our customers end-to-end, PSA’s digitalisation initiatives would have to support an increasingly complex and challenging business environment.  Our readiness on cybersecurity and resiliency would need to be re-calibrated constantly, and we must continually upskill our people. It is like an arms race – pitting the competency of our people against the ever-evolving threats posed by the hackers out there.  



Interview with Ang Cheng Kiat, Head Group Information Technology, PSA International, for FOCUS #72. To read more articles from this issue, download your digital copy here


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