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The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) has announced the launch of its licensing framework for cybersecurity service providers under its Cybersecurity Act (CS Act).

The intent of the framework is to better safeguard consumers’ interests and address the information asymmetry between consumers and cybersecurity service providers. At the same time, the regulatory regime is also envisaged to improve service providers’ standards and standing over time. For a start, CSA will license two types of cybersecurity service providers, namely those providing penetration testing and managed security operations centre monitoring services. These two services are prioritised because service providers performing such services can have significant access into their clients’ computer systems and sensitive information. In the event that the access is abused, the client’s operations could be disrupted. In addition, these services are already widely available and adopted in the market, and hence have the potential to cause significant impact on the overall cybersecurity landscape.

CSA sought industry feedback on the proposed licence conditions and draft subsidiary legislation through a 4-week consultation process from 20 September to 18 October 2021. A total of 29 responses were received from a mix of local and foreign industry players, industry associations, as well as members of the public. The feedback was considered and taken into account when finalising the licensing framework.

Under the new framework, existing cybersecurity service providers who are already engaged in the businesses of providing either or both licensable cybersecurity services will be given six months to apply for a licence. Cybersecurity service providers who do not apply for a licence in time will have to cease the provision of licensable cybersecurity service until a licence is obtained. Any person who engages in the business of providing any licensable cybersecurity services to another person without a licence after 11 October 2022 shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both. However, a cybersecurity service provider who applies for a licence by 11 October 2022 may continue to provide its service until a decision on their licence application has been made.

The licence is valid for a period of two years and the licence fees for individuals and businesses are $500 and $1,000 respectively. A one-time 50% waiver of the licence fees will be granted for all licence applications that are lodged within the first 12 months.

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