Human-Centric Cybersecurity: Why People are Vital for Cyber Resilience

On 22 February 2024, the Tech For Good Institute (TFGI) moderated a panel discussion at the 20th Edition of the Cyber Security Summit in Singapore. This dialogue revolved around the topic of adapting to a shifting threat landscape. Together with ISACA Singapore, Centre for Cybersecurity, and ISC2 Singapore, TFGI is a supporting partner of the Cyber Security Summit.

From left to right: Keith Detros, Programme Manager, Tech For Good Institute; Ethan Seow, Chief Executive Officer, Centre For Cybersecurity; Manjunath Pasupuleti, Global Head of IT-Security, ENNOVI; Sourabh Chitrachar, Regional VP, Technology Strategy & Ops, Liberty Mutual Insurance.


In the age of rapid digitalisation, organisations globally confront an ever-evolving array of risks in the digital space. Generative AI, large language models, and deep fakes, coupled with the increasing shift towards automation, has heightened the complexities of the cyber threat landscape. For example, phishing and ransomware tactics have also increased in sophistication by leveraging emerging technologies.

To safeguard against an evolving threat landscape, there is a need for companies to focus on solutions beyond mere technological means. Organised by Exito and supported by the Tech for Good Institute, ISACA Singapore, Centre for Cybersecurity, and ISC2 Singapore, the 20th edition of the Cybersecurity Summit in Singapore dedicated a panel to discuss how human-centric approaches are just as critical as tools, frameworks, and processes in fortifying cyber security defences.

Distinguished cyber experts provided invaluable insights into dynamic threat assessment, resilient security strategies, and highlighted the importance of fostering a culture of cybersecurity within organisations.


Moderator and panellists:

Key takeaways:

1. Leveraging Frameworks and Technology to Bolster Cyber Defences

Before delving into the importance of people, the experts first noted the importance of adopting globally recognised frameworks and emerging technologies to improve cybersecurity. This includes trusted frameworks such as the recently updated National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework 2.0 and creating a zero-trust environment. For smaller organisations, due diligence in cyber practices are needed including regular patching of systems and software updates.  The panel also noted the importance of leveraging emerging technologies to ensure that systems and networks are safe and secure. This includes the utilisation of AI-powered tools to streamline threat intelligence and incident response, which in turn enables effective detection of potential vulnerabilities and mitigation of cyber risks.

2. Integrating Cybersecurity into Organisational Culture

The experts, however, stressed that processes and technologies will not magically protect a company’s data.  Integrating cybersecurity principles and practices into the organisation’s culture is key. One best practice is to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing across departments to ensure a holistic approach to cybersecurity. This includes various teams from finance, legal, public affairs, operations, etc. Furthermore, motivating users within the organisation to enhance their cybersecurity awareness is crucial, with an emphasis on the importance of the individual in the cyber defence link. In addition, strengthening the third-party or vendor assessment mechanisms also protects the organisations from supply chain attacks. This means that cybersecurity as a culture should not only be developed with internal teams, but also teams that will be onboarded or connected to the same network. 

3. Prioritise People-Centric Approaches

Recognizing that cybersecurity is not solely the responsibility of leaders or the IT department, the panel emphasised the importance of empowering everyone in the company to take cybersecurity as a responsibility. Organisations should invest in tailored cybersecurity awareness and training programs designed for different roles within the organisation. Continuous upskilling and adaptation were highlighted as essential, with experts advocating for continuous learning to stay abreast of evolving threats. The discussion delved deeper into implementing a combination of classroom, simulation-based, and experiential learning methods to enhance employees’ cybersecurity knowledge and skills. Furthermore, organisations should encourage open dialogue and collaboration between leaders, the cybersecurity team and users as means to collectively strengthen cybersecurity defences.

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Mouna Aouri

Programme Fellow

Mouna Aouri is an Institute Fellow at the Tech For Good Institute. As a social entrepreneur, impact investor, and engineer, her experience spans over two decades in the MENA region, South East Asia, and Japan. She is founder of Woomentum, a Singapore-based platform dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs in APAC through skill development and access to growth capital through strategic collaborations with corporate entities, investors and government partners.

Dr Ming Tan

Founding Executive Director

Dr Ming Tan is founding Executive Director for the Tech for Good Institute, a non-profit founded to catalyse research and collaboration on social, economic and policy trends accelerated by the digital economy in Southeast Asia. She is concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at the National University of Singapore and Advisor to the Founder of the COMO Group, a Singaporean portfolio of lifestyle companies operating in 15 countries worldwide.  Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology, business and society, including sustainability and innovation.


Ming was previously Managing Director of IPOS International, part of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, which supports Singapore’s future growth as a global innovation hub for intellectual property creation, commercialisation and management. Prior to joining the public sector, she was Head of Stewardship of the COMO Group and the founding Executive Director of COMO Foundation, a grantmaker focused on gender equity that has served over 47 million women and girls since 2003.


As a company director, she lends brand and strategic guidance to several companies within the COMO Group. Ming also serves as a Council Member of the Council for Board Diversity, on the boards of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC), and on the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.


In the non-profit, educational and government spheres, Ming is a director of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) and chairs the Asia Advisory board for Swiss hospitality business and management school EHL. She also serves on  the Council for Board Diversity and the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.


Ming was educated in Singapore, the United States, and England. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and her doctorate from Oxford.