The Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore has unveiled a new framework aimed at attracting and developing talent for the country’s expanding operational technology (OT) cyber security sector.
The CSA and Mercer Singapore (Human Resource Consulting) have collaborated on the ‘Operational Technology Cybersecurity Competency Framework’ (OTCCF). SkillsFuture Singapore and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) are also supporting the project.
What are OT systems?
Operational technology includes management systems that change / monitor the physical state of a system. For example, controlling traffic lights. Usually, organizations do not connect OT systems with the internet. However, that is changing in view of new digital solutions automating multiple functions and facilitating data collection and analysis.
Connecting to the internet poses new cybersecurity risks to these critical systems. As such, the need for trained cyber security professionals to guard these systems is also increasing.
Mapping out careers in OT cyber security
The framework maps out various OT cyber security job roles and the technical skills and core competencies for them. It also captures various career paths to demonstrate the possibilities for vertical and lateral progression. It aims to guide OT and IT system owners, training providers, and OT professionals or job seekers.
For OT and IT system owners, it assists in attracting qualified people, training them, and mapping their career paths. For training professionals, it helps providers in identifying technical competencies required for various profiles and develop courses and certificates. Occupational therapists and job seekers can also select skillsets for cross-training and upskilling to pursue a career in the sector.
Singapore’s wider OT Cybersecurity Masterplan
OT cybersecurity talent development is a key thrust under Singapore’s OT Cybersecurity Masterplan that the country announced in 2019.
Explaining the need for a new framework, CSA noted, “More granular breakdown of the OT cybersecurity capabilities and technical competencies is required to cater to the training needs of the OT engineers in terms of coverage and applicability, as training providers in the market find it difficult to roll out best-in-class certifications and courses that encompass different OT industry sectors without a reference to the common skill sets.”
The CSA Academy is also planning an OT Train-The-Trainer (OT TTT) program for the end of 2021 to produce a pool of OT trainers who will be able to deliver OTCCF-aligned fundamental OT cyber security courses.