Amanda Bluett: the cyber defence expert keeping risks analysed and managed

As the Head of Cyber Defence and Assurance at CBRE Singapore, Amanda Bluett is the gatekeeper; an expert in cyber security who’s quick on their feet to protect the organisation against potential attacks.

Technology moves quickly, but cyber security threats keep pace. Hence, the role of risk and security professionals is becoming increasingly important.

Amanda shared with Advance how AI and automation are the new frontiers in cyber security, more about her role and lessons for better digital security.

Interview by Tammy Lee, Marketing & Communications & Digital Manager, Advance.

How long have you been in Singapore? How did you wind up there?

I have been living and working in Singapore for 5 and a 1/2 years now and I relocated here to work for an MNC.

You’ve worked in cyber security for some time at different organisations, what are the most common challenges facing an organisation when it comes to establishing a robust IT security system?

The problem remains gaining the business leaders understanding that cyber and information security are crucial to business success. The now numerous data privacy regulations have increased awareness of privacy issues, and business leaders are listening to the need for increased Data Privacy requirements, but Cyber/Info security is unfortunately often still viewed as a cost centre.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is in some ways a wake-up call, what lessons can organisations learn from it? What more needs to be done?

This fortunately highlighted a number of serious problems with the big global tech platforms and their harvesting of people’s personal information. They have built massive fortunes on this activity. The famous saying attributed to Balzac “behind every great fortune is an equally great crime” seems to be very relevant in the privacy and personal data space.

Regarding what more needs to be done: response regulations to be enforced; people need to be more careful of their personal information and what they make public; it reinforces that we all need to be very serious about our digital identity.

What are your biggest accomplishments in your career?

I joined the workplace when I was more mature and took and entry position. I was able to catch up and advance my career in a technical space and have reached a leadership position.

How important is cyber security training for employees?

This is extremely important – the human firewall is our greatest defence. This means the commitment of employees to follow best practices to help prevent as well as report any data breaches or suspicious activity. This of course is the responsibility of a comprehensive awareness and training program.

How can AI and automation help organisations to improve cyber security?

AI can be used to help identify threats and thwart attacks. AI and machine learning can help cover the people shortage.  AI also lowers the cost to detect and respond to breaches and reduces the overall time taken to detect threats and breaches.

With increased speed in transactions it makes sense that security will ultimately be machine v machine, but we will still need to focus on people, process and technology. 

What’s your favourite thing about Singapore?

I love the beautiful parks and gardens, abundance of vegetation, closeness to other fascinating locations. Singapore is a comfortably different living experience for me.

Has your Singapore experience met your expectations?

It has been a wonderful experience for me being able to live and work here. It has exceeded my expectations.  

Your recommendation for an adventurous dining experience in Singapore?

I haven’t had the chance to dine here yet but it is high on my list of places to go and enjoy a meal under totally different circumstances.